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It’s been a doozy of a year for James Durbin

By JUSTIN HOOKS - Special to the Sun Herald

Thursday, May. 17, 2012

It’s been a doozy of a year for James Durbin, the 23-year-old rocker who won the hearts of millions on last season’s “American Idol.”

Although Durbin ultimately lost the competition, he certainly went out with a bang by performing with heavy metal legends Judas Priest on the season’s final episode.

Since then, he’s signed a recording contract with Wind-Up Records, released his debut album, “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster,” and embarked on a nationwide tour that will bring him through Biloxi at 8 p.m. Thursday inside Hard Rock Live.

Durbin’s performance Thursday is as the opening act for rockers Buckcherry, who are no strangers to this market and always put on a powerful show. Durbin is doing pretty well for himself to open for such a well-known act on his first post-Idol tour.

“The dream has certainly become reality now,” Durbin said of life after Idol. “But it’s all about keeping a good, positive outlook and not everyone gets to do this for a living. There’s millions of people with the dream to play music, but you know, you choose a path and a time for it. That’s the craziness of it all. I feel I was hand-picked in life for this. It’s like, OK, here’s your role. Live it. Be it. Sing it.”

“Memories of a Beautiful Disaster” has already achieved gold status and Durbin has a full calendar of shows and studio time booked for the remainder of the year. While on “American Idol,” Durbin was a constant champion for heavy metal, a genre rarely if ever seen on the program. That support did not go unnoticed by the heavy metal community and garnered him a nomination for Best Vocalist in the Golden God awards from Revolver magazine.

“Oh man, the support has been great,” he said. “Support is more about a commitment with metalheads. They’re really committed to these bands. We’re certainly not full blown metal and we’re far from it. But there’s still that respect there. Rock ‘n’ roll is about getting respect from fans. It doesn’t matter if it’s metal or classic rock or whatever. It’s just about being a good guy. What you see on stage, that’s who I am. I certainly try to be as humble as I am in person and I just feel grateful to be able to do what I love and support my family. I’ve got to thank the fans for that, always.”