Lee DeWyze: Life Before American Idol

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American Idol finale Lee DeWyze Lee DeWyze life before Idol

Lee DeWyze is one of the finalists in American Idol's season 9 where he is up against Crystal Bowersox.

Lee Dewyze was born on April 2nd 1986 in Mount Prospect, Illinois, USA to parents Kathleen and Lee DeWyze Senior. This American Idol has an older sister, Sarah.

American Idol Finalist Lee DeWyze School Days

Lee DeWyze went to Saint James Catholic School in Arlington Heights, Illinois and then on to Prospect High School and Forest View Alternative School in Arlington Heights. He never graduated from either high school but despite not making it at school he threw himself into his love of music to turn his life around.

Lee DeWyze Music Career Before Idol

When he was about 17 he was playing guitar at a friend's house and by chance Louis Svitek, the co-owner of WuLi Records came around to visit the friend. Svitek saw Lee playing and after getting to know the future American Idol, they ended up working together.

Lee became a WuLi artist and formed the Lee DeWyze Band, with fellow band members, Louis Svitek, Jeff Henderson and Ryan McGuire. Lee DeWyze debut album was So I'm Told released in 2007.

The following year, 2008, as a favor to band member Jeff Henderson, Lee DeWyze and the band recorded a disc for Jeff's wife's Square One Organic Baby Food Company. The CD features songs like "Vitamin C", "Greens" and "Porridge"! These songs can be downloaded at iTunes.

In 2010 before Lee's American Idol 2010 audition the band released their second album – Slumberland – you can see some of the songs on YouTube.

Lee DeWyze kept involved in music in every way he could playing where ever and when ever he could. He even judged a local talent contest called "Ice Cream Idol" a year before he was up in front of the American Idol judges. Lee DeWyze played at every opportunity even including the Naperville Ribfest! This future American Idol used to hang out at the Potato Creek Johnny's Karaoke bar and once performed regularly at a strip-mall sports bar.

American Idol's Family Tragedy

In 2004 this future American Idol's 80 year old grandmother was murdered by her son, John, Lee's uncle, who was mentally disturbed. The producers of American Idol, in good taste, have not highlighted this personal tragedy.

Lee Before Idol

Lee DeWyze worked at Mt. Prospect Paint as a paint salesman for six years before trying out for American Idol.

Lee as a Musician

American Idol Lee DeWyze plays the acoustic guitar and piano.

Lee's Heroes

Lee DeWyze is inspired by musicians including Cat Stevens, Eric Clapton, Ben Harper and Simon and Garfunkel.

The Next American Idol?

This American Idol finalist is known by his friends and family to be shy but also having a great sense of humor and ability to get everyone laughing.


Even before American Idol, Lee DeWyze had committed himself to a career in the music industry and so whether he wins Idol or is the runner up he is sure to go on to have a remarkable career.


Rachel Ellis
Posted on Jun 2, 2010
Sharla Smith
Posted on May 26, 2010