Photo Credit: Bonnie Whicher Photography
David Oliver Willis
After being eliminated just shy of the American Idol semifinals in Season 12, David Oliver Willis and his wife opened a coffee shop in their home in Mount Dora, Fla. But that didn’t mean David put aside his dreams of making it as a musician.
David Oliver Willis was one of the contestants to earn a golden ticket at American Idol's Season 13 auditions in Detroit. He was back before the Idol judges in Detroit, wowing them with a guitar-accompanied version of Alex Clare’s “Too Close.” Keith Urban, who remembered David in a heartbeat, called his voice “beautiful.” Jennifer Lopez said his performance just “felt right.” And so David breezed into Idol’s Hollywood round for the second straight year, hoping to go further in Season 13.
The 23-year-old certainly has experience on his side. He told The Orlando Sentinel that he was just 12 when he started touring and performing with his mother, Hattie Willis, a motivational evangelical singer.
David also said he performed in six different choirs growing up and spent two years singing with an opera company in Orlando.
He points to Ray Charles as a major musical influence “because of the way he’s able to cross different genres and still bring who he is to each of those genres.
David says he hopes his ability to connect with cover songs as though he wrote them himself and his knack for taking older songs and making them current will serve him well on the show.
A year ago, he described his style as “a little bit folk, a little bit blue” and “an eclectic melting pot of new music and old-school music.”
Remarks for the American Idol Judges:
"David, you are a true singer! It’s like breathing to you and it’s like butter for everyone else."
— Keith Urban
"You are one of my favorites because you don’t have to embellish your gift. It shines all by itself. One day when we are all moved by your voice on the radio I can say I told you so!"
— Mariah Carey
"David Oliver Willis is unstoppable. Unstoppable talent, unstoppable determination, and an unstoppable heart. He works tirelessly towards his goals musically while maintaining a conscious…unusual and welcome in this day and age."
— Atlas Jams
Watch David Oliver Willis perform "Fever" in his American Idol Season 13 Audition
Listen to David Oliver Willis sing "Bring It On Home To Me"(Sam Cooke) - YouTube