Iowan impresses on renewed 'American Idol'

posted on Monday, March 12, 2018 in  College News

“American Idol” has only been back for one night and an Iowan is already making waves.

Maddie Poppe, 20, of Clarksville, appeared on the premiere episode of the renewed reality TV show, received a golden ticket to Hollywood and earned heaps of praise from judges Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan.

“You definitely have your own distinctive quality in your voice, that’s pretty dope,” Perry said.

Richie praised her “storytelling voice.”

“Storytelling is the best thing in the world,” he said. “I have a career based on it.”

Poppe was predisposed to love performing because of her dad. A musician himself, Poppe's father made her and her sister record Christmas songs as an annual gift to their grandparents, Maddie said during a telephone interview Friday.

But the idea of performing for people other than her family didn’t hit Poppe until she sang the Dixie Chick’s “Landslide” with her sister at a school talent show. By the time the curtain had fallen, the then-14-year-old had officially caught the performance bug.

Since graduating high school, Poppe has been attending Hawkeye Community College and working on her music, which she describes as a combination of folk and singer-songwriters like Sheryl Crow and Brandi Carlile.

Poppe grew up watching “American Idol” and says she always fell in love with the competitors who “stood out.”

“I am not a pop singer,” she said. “I don’t dress like anyone else and I am kind of quirky, so I thought I would just really be myself and bring that to the competition.”

After previously auditioning for “The Voice,” Poppe was prepared for the grind that is “American Idol” filming.

But for Poppe, “Idol” is less about being on TV and more about exposing her work to the music industry, she said. 

“There’s no rule book to being a musician,” she said. “You know, if you want to be a teacher, you go to school to be a teacher. But to be a musician, there is not a clear path. A musician makes it all kinds of ways, so, for me, I am going to just take any opportunity that comes my way.

“And I hope it works out for me as well as it did for Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson."

By Courtney Crowder, Des Moines Register; Photo by Eric Liebowitz, ABC


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