With the look of a rebel sporting dreadlocks and a large tattoo, Crystal Bowersox is proof that looks can be deceiving. The Season 9 American Idol contestant is known among peers as the mothering type with a kind heart. Called “Mamasox” by her fans, the small town girl is the single mother of a soon-to-be one-year-old son. As a finalist on the show, Crystal is bound for life changing events.
A native of Elliston, Ohio Crystal has often said that her family means everything to her. Throughout her experience on the show, she has referred to her dad as her supporter. The first time her father watched as a live audience member, she broke down on stage in tears during the last words of her inspirational song, “People Get Ready”. The emotional display was unusual for the typically cool and collected contestant. The feeling must be mutual as another stage appearance made her dad cry. She took the stage in first grade and sang Suzy Snowflake in a Christmas program. He was so proud he shed a few tears. Her talent was recognized by winning the Blade Battle of the Bands competition. That's when her family and friends started talking about American Idol. She eventually audtioned for American Idol in Chicago where Lee Dewyze, the other finalist for Season 9, also auditioned.
Crystal Sarah Bowersox was born with a fraternal twin, Carl, on August 4, 1985. Her life before American Idol contrasts sharply with her American Idol experience. After her parents divorce when she was only two years old, family life detiorated as she watched physical fights between her mom and stepfather. Eventually, a disagreement with a Crystal's 15-year-old step brother landed her dad in jail on domestic abuse charges.
She started playing paid gigs when she was only 10 years old to help with finances. She left her hometown high school to attend the Toledo School for the Arts in Toledo, Ohio where she wrote her own songs. She even wrote a tribute to her father. Home life got tough enough to make her think about dropping out when she was 17, but she stuck with it long enough to graduate from high school. Then she went to Chicago to perform with different bands in local clubs. She also played outside subway stations to earn money. She said that music “has been my therapy, writing, performing—ventilation for my soul”. The most unique job she has had was playing at the funeral of a skydiver. Her payment was half cash and half in skydiving time.
Crystal knows what it’s like to go without. During her childhood money was always tight. If she becomes the next American Idol, one of Crystal's goals is to set up free clinics to screen for Type I diabetes and provide funds to donate medicine and supplies for those in need. She said that there were times in her life when “I’ve begged for insulin outside of pharmacies and no one should ever have to do that.”
Crystal was diagnosed with Type I diabetes when she was 6. Her fight with the disease landed her in the hospital causing a TV schedule change for Season 9 in March. In an interview with host Ryan Seacrest, Crystal expressed gratitude to American Idol producers for the excellent medical treatment she’s received during her time as a contestant. It's the best she's ever felt in her life, she added.
Crystal has interests outside of music. She enjoys knitting, drawing, painting and sculpting. According to her, other talents include flaring her nostrils and mommy multi-tasking.
Her ability to stay true to her style seems to add to her appeal. Influenced by the likes of Tracy Chapman, Janis Joplin, Jewel and Melissa Etheridge, Crystal projects independence with the ease of a pro. Her lack of stage fright makes her a natural performer. Even judge Simon Cowell praised her Top 24 performance of CCR’s “Long as I Can See the Light”. Cowell said, “This will be the moment we realized you’re a star.”
What has this talented small town girl learned in her 24 years? She still believes in her own favorite quote, “Success ain’t about the money; it’s about doing what you love.” She also learned that she is stronger than she ever imagined.
More Crystal Bowersox material can be found at the official American Idol website, the source for the information provided in this article.
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