Who Is Colin Stough And How He Became Popular?

Colin Stough is an American singer and guitarist who rose to fame after his audition on Season 21 of American Idol. His soulful country voice and skilled guitar playing made him an instant fan favorite and one of the standout contestants of the season. At just 18 years old, Colin has already made a name for himself in the country music scene. So how did this talented teenager from Mississippi go from small town obscurity to budding superstar seemingly overnight?

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Early Life and Background

Colin Stough was born in 2005 in Gattman, Mississippi, a small rural town with a population of just over 500 people. Music was a part of Colin’s life from a very early age. He was surrounded by the sounds of classic country, blues and southern rock music. Colin taught himself to play guitar as a child and spent hours practicing and developing his craft.

At age 14, Colin began performing at local bars, restaurants and events around northern Mississippi. He quickly gained a reputation as an adept guitarist and vocalist. Colin cites country legends like Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard as major influences on his music.

Despite his musical talents, Colin has remained rooted in his small town upbringing. He attended Hately High School where he was an honor roll student and member of the track team. To this day, Colin continues to live in Gattman and work as an HVAC technician. Far from the glitz and glam of Hollywood, Colin is a humble, hardworking southern teenager.

The American Idol Audition

Colin’s path to stardom began when his mother secretly submitted an online audition to American Idol without telling him. When he got the call back asking him to come audition in front of the judges, Colin was shocked. He had never envisioned himself on a show like American Idol.

Nevertheless, Colin went to the audition with his trusty acoustic guitar in hand. He decided to perform a stripped down cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic “Simple Man.” The judges were blown away by Colin’s unique gravelly voice and skilled guitar work. Luke Bryan called his voice “super different” andKaty Perry said he had “real, raw talent.” Lionel Ritchie summed it up perfectly: “You are an American Idol.”

Colin received three enthusiastic yes votes from the judges and was sent to Hollywood. His audition segment aired during the season premiere on ABC in February 2023 and quickly went viral. To date, his audition video has over 2 million views on YouTube.

Gaining Popularity on Social Media

After his successful American Idol audition, Colin amassed a huge online fanbase seemingly overnight. His TikTok account garnered over 300,000 followers in just a few weeks as he continued to post videos of himself casually performing. Fans loved the juxtaposition of his laidback personality and incredible musical abilities.

On TikTok and Instagram, Colin showcases his versatility – covering classic country songs by Hank Williams and Elvis Presley as well as contemporary hits by Chris Stapleton and Morgan Wallen. His smooth, subtle acoustic renditions showcase his artistry and connection to the lyrics.

Colin also used social media to keep fans updated on his journey through the American Idol contest. He posted behind-the-scenes looks at rehearsals, vocal lessons and work with celebrity mentors. Fans felt invested in Colin’s Idol experience through his transparent and engaging social media presence.

American Idol Performances

As Colin advanced through the American Idol rounds, he continued to impress judges and viewers with a string of solid performances. In the top 24 round, he delivered a tender, heartfelt version of “Cover Me Up” by Jason Isbell that Lionel Ritchie praised as “so real.”

During the top 16 round, Colin had his breakthrough moment with a powerful performance of “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers Band that showcased his gritty vocals and electric guitar skills. Luke Bryan called it Colin’s “best performance so far” and Katy Perry said he really “owned the song.”

Though Colin ended up being eliminated in the top 11 round, he left a lasting mark on Idol judges and fans. Lionel summarized Colin’s appeal: “That voice, your feeling, your songwriting ability touched everyone across this country.”

Post-Idol Success

Even after his Idol journey ended, Colin continued riding a huge wave of momentum thanks to his new widespread popularity. His debut original single “I Still Talk to Jesus” was released in April 2023 shortly after his Idol elimination. The candid, heartfelt country ballad shot up to #6 on the iTunes country chart on release day.

Colin also announced he would be embarking on a summer tour around the southern U.S. performing at fairs, festivals and small venues. The tour sold out quickly, proving the demand to see Colin perform live.

It’s clear that Colin’s star is still rising. At just 18 years old, he displays incredible maturity as a vocalist, musician and songwriter. His authentic, unfiltered style of country music has resonated with audiences young and old.

Colin Stough is poised to become one of the biggest breakout country stars of recent years. With his laidback likeability, relatable small town personality and undeniable raw talent, Colin has all the makings of a modern country legend in the making.

FAQ about Colin Stough

Where is Colin Stough from?

Colin Stough is from the small town of Gattman, Mississippi with a population of around 500 people. He was born and raised in Gattman and still lives there today.

How old is Colin Stough?

Colin Stough was born in 2005 and is currently 18 years old as of 2023.

What does Colin Stough do for a living besides music?

Colin works as an HVAC technician in Gattman when he’s not performing music.

What instruments does Colin play?

Colin is an accomplished guitarist and plays both acoustic and electric guitar. Guitar was his first instrument that he taught himself to play as a child.

How did Colin get on American Idol?

Colin’s mother secretly submitted an online audition video of Colin to American Idol without telling him. He was shocked when he got a callback to audition in front of the judges.

What were some of Colin’s standout American Idol performances?

Some of Colin’s best Idol performances included “Cover Me Up” by Jason Isbell, “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers and “I Still Talk to Jesus” his debut original single.

Is Colin touring soon?

Yes, Colin announced a summer tour of small southern venues and festivals after he was eliminated from American Idol. The tour dates sold out very quickly.

What makes Colin stand out as an artist?

Colin stands out for his incredibly soulful, gritty country voice along with his adept guitar skills. He has an authentic, raw talent that resonates with audiences.

Who are some of Colin’s biggest musical influences?

Colin cites Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley and other classic country legends as his biggest influences.


At just 18 years old, Colin Stough has already made quite an impact on the country music scene. His success story of going from obscurity in small town Mississippi to overnight sensation after his American Idol audition is truly remarkable. Colin’s natural talent and connection to heartfelt country music has allowed him to amass an incredibly loyal fanbase. His future certainly looks bright as he seems poised to become country music’s next big star. Colin Stough is definitely a name you’ll be hearing for years to come.

Table: Colin Stough’s Musical Journey

YearKey Event
2005Born in Gattman, Mississippi
2019Began performing locally in northern Mississippi
Early 2022Mother submits American Idol audition without Colin’s knowledge
February 2023Wows judges in audition, gains national attention
Spring 2023Quickly amasses big following on TikTok and social media
March-April 2023Advances through early rounds of American Idol with standout performances
April 2023Releases debut single “I Still Talk to Jesus” after Idol elimination
Summer 2023Embarks on sold-out tour of small southern venues

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/colinstough/

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/colinstough/

IMDb: https://www.imdb.com/news/ni64087068/

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