Idol' tour to stop at Hanover Theatre July 28
By Richard Duckett
Telegram & Gazette Staff
Posted Jul. 23, 2015 at 6:00
Rayvon Owen's singing career
After graduating from Belmont University in Nashville (where he studied
commercial music), the Richmond, Virginia, native moved to Los Angeles
and started to get his name out there in the entertainment world. He
performed at dozens of colleges and had other engagements such as a
summer gig at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana. In November 2014,
Owen released an EP titled "Cycles."
"I was making a living out of music, which I think in this day
is a big deal," Owen recalled. But things were about to spin on
a brand new cycle. Owen auditioned in San Francisco for the 14th season
of "American Idol," which ran on the Fox television network
this year from Jan. 7 to May 13. Owen made it to Hollywood Week, and
went all the way to a fourth-place finalist.
Owen, 24, will be one of
the Top Five Idols from season 14 (with winner Nick Fradiani, along
with Jax, Tyanna Jones and Clark Beckham) coming to The Hanover Theatre
for the Performing Arts in Worcester on July 28 for the " 'American
Idol' Live! Tour 2015" show.
Owen's expressive pop/soul vocal tones impressed right from the start.
His singing of Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" at his audition was
clearly an eye-opener for the judges, who immediately handed out a ticket
However, this wasn't the first occasion he had auditioned for "American
Idol." Actually, it was the sixth time he had tried out for the
show - or something like that. "Not consecutively. I lost count,"
Owen said during a telephone interview from Clearwater, Florida, where
" 'American Idol' Live! Tour 2015" was about to open its tour.
Owen was 16 years old at his first audition. He wasn't planning to do
a sixth, but "I talked to my mom, and she said 'Why don't you give
it one more chance?' I had nothing to lose. I'm very happy I did."
Watching "American Idol" each week "was definitely appointment
TV for my family," as Owen was growing up in Richmond. Owen, his
sister and mother "really became hooked. I wanted to audition,
but I was too young. I would literally say to my mom, 'I'm gonna be
on the stage.' That was it."
Owen had already experienced his "this is it" moment regarding
singing. From about the age of 5 or 6, he sang with the children's Sunbeam
Choir at Antioch Baptist Church in Richmond. "I just remember having
my first solo in church and not really knowing much about music. I was
so shy, but I got there and just let it out. I remember seeing the reaction
of everyone in that congregation. Everybody was just so thrilled and
shocked, the spirit was just moving in the sanctuary and from that moment
I thought 'I've got something here.' From that moment on you couldn't
really shut me up."
Owen was going to be a singer (and a song-writer), "American Idol"
or no "American Idol." But the show "was the way to break
in and it still is."
After getting his ticket out of the San Francisco audition, Owen sang
"Ordinary People" by John Legend during Hollywood week. He
performed during the "Showcase" week in the House of Blues
with Sam Smith's "Lay Me Down," earning his spot in the semi-finals.
"It definitely was in a lot of ways different from what I anticipated,"
he said of the experience. "I didn't expect so much friendship
and camaraderie among the contestants. I didn't think about that - we
really encouraged and helped each other out."
Owen in conversation sounds
totally unpretentious and easy to talk to, so one suspects that he was
one of those friendly and encouraging contestants.
"American Idol" may still be a way to break in to the entertainment
scene, but it won't be for much longer. The announcement has been made
that season 15 next year will be the last.
"It's bittersweet," Owen said. "They have this thing
'all good things must come to an end,' which is true. But it's unfortunate.
I wish people would have the same experience I've had. But it's leaving
on a positive note. It's changed the game of music and created so many
opportunities. I'm glad I got in there before it left."
Owen, however, is far from done with "American Idol" right
now. The 2015 touring production runs all the way to Aug. 28 in Riverside,
Previous tours have had the Top Ten Idols and played at large arenas
rather than the theaters that are generally lined up for 2015. Still,
Owen sees everything in a positive light. "It's gonna be a show
with some good energy," he said. "We'll get more up close
and personal. We get to talk to them (the audience) and tell them our
Musically, "It's a variety of pop and rock and soul," Owen
said. "There are a couple of arrangements I put together of pop
He noted that, "Opening night is tonight (July 7) - only a few
Was he nervous?
"Yeah. This is the first tour of this caliber that I've ever done.
But right now I'm pretty calm. In a couple of hours, it might be a different
Owen knows this is not the time in his career to get idle.
"Between the ('American Idol') finale and rehearsals, I've been
doing a ton of writing and getting back in the studio, honing my craft
and sound and really striking while the iron is hot," Owen said.
"Build a team and take
advantage of everything that's happening. Release some music because
now people want to hear it."
He hopes to have an album out early next year. Since he's now living
in Los Angeles he might explore acting as well.
"I'm putting together a new brand, a new sound. It's gonna be great."