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Home » C.J. Harris Passes Away at Age 31

C.J. Harris Passes Away at Age 31

17 January 2023, Tuesday
CJ Harris, a beloved former contestant on American Idol, sadly passed away Sunday of an apparent heart attack. He was 31.
Harris experienced cardiac arrest before being taken to the hospital in his hometown of Jasper, Alabama. He was pronounced deceased there at 8:53 p.m., according to Deputy Walker County Coroner Danielle Calloway.

The post on the official Instagram page of "American Idol" expressed sadness at the news of C.J. Harris' passing and stated that he was an incredible talent who will be missed. In a 2014 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Harris had credited his mother as his first musical influence.

At the age of six, Harris had to cope with the fact that his mother was in prison. He remembers her singing to him over the phone and the tears that came with it. To keep his spirits up, Harris taught himself to play a guitar he had gotten from his granddad, which had seen better days.

Harris revealed in an interview that he used an unconventional approach to learning the guitar - he had a three-string guitar in his shed and tuned it in a way that when he strummed it, it sounded like it was in a particular key. After trying and failing to land a spot on multiple singing competitions, including "American Idol", "The X-Factor", and "The Voice", he eventually placed sixth in the 13th season of "American Idol" in 2014.

At his audition in Salt Lake City, Harris sang the Allman Brothers Band’s song "Soulshine" for the judges Jennifer Lopez, Keith Urban and Harry Connick Jr. Dedicating the performance to his dad who had recently passed away, Urban told Harris, “You sing because you have to sing, not because you want to sing. I mean that in the deepest way. That's why it's so believable and real."

After performing "Can't You See" by the Marshall Tucker Band and "If It Hadn't Been for Love" by the SteelDrivers, Harris became a contender for the top prize on "American Idol". Following his time on the show, he went on the tour and even got to share the stage with musician Darius Rucker of Hootie & the Blowfish at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 2014. 

In 2019, Harris released his debut single, "In Love," and he recently announced on his official Facebook page that there will be new music coming soon.
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