March 19, 2012 4:31 PM
By Lauren Moraski
(CBS News) James Durbin is showing off his rock star power in more ways than one this year.
The former "American Idol" contestant is nominated for best lead vocalist at the April 11 Golden God Awards, honoring some of the biggest stars of rock and heavy metal music. The 23-year-old singer is also the new celebrity spokesperson for the Be a STAR Alliance, an anti-bullying initiative, cofounded by The Creative Coalition and WWE.
The latter is something very close to Durbin's heart. The rocker, who has battled Asperger's and Tourette's Syndrome, didn't have the easiest childhood. Now he wants to help others.
"I was bullied a lot growing up," Durbin, sporting a new 'do, said during a recent visit to CBSNews.com. "I didn't have anyone to look up to. I didn't have anyone in my position, where I could say, 'You know that person is just like me ... and everything is going to be OK.'"
When Durbin visits middle schools to talk to young people, he opens up about his own experiences.
"If you're being bullied the best thing you can do is to tell someone," Durbin said. "It's also, and I know from experience, it's the hardest thing to do."
Durbin overcame many challenges last year when he sang night after night before millions of "American Idol" viewers. And still, he doesn't forget what's most important.
"I live in a 2-bedroom apartment in Santa Cruz [Calif.] with my wife and my son and I get to play music for a living," said Durbin, who recently wed his longtime girlfriend, Heidi. "I get to do what I love and support my family. That's the dream. If I can play music, it doesn't matter if it's Wembley [Arena in London], or on a 2x4 supported by a couple of cinder blocks. As long as there's someone there to hear me. I'm going to give them hell."
He returns to the "Idol" stage on April 12 to perform one of his new songs and is also slated to hit the road this spring and summer. Tour details are expected to be announced soon. Durbin will be out behind his debut album, "Memories of a Beautiful Disaster," featuring the singles "Stand Up" and "Love Me Bad."
"There are so many
good things happening, so much stuff to be grateful for -- to be thankful
for," he said, noting that it all comes back to family and music.
"It really keeps you humble. It keeps your head in the game.
It just keeps you going forward. It's reminded me of why I wanted
to do this in the first place. It was not to be some rich, rock star
and have this fancy life."