Trent Harmon, a finalist on “American Idol,” is interviewed in his hometown of Amory on Saturday. Photo by: Isabelle Altman/Dispatch Staff
March 26, 2016 11:09:31 PM
AMORY -- This Monroe County town's own idol, Trent Harmon, returned Saturday to the place where he got his start.
The American Idol finalist made it to the popular reality show's top four round Thursday, along with fellow Mississippian La'Porsha Renae, of McComb. Both spent Saturday in their respective hometowns for parades in their honor. Each also gave a concert Saturday night before flying back to Los Angeles to sing for the final American Idol episodes ever this week.
In Amory, Harmon was greeted by crowds of fans wearing royal blue "Team Trent" shirts, many of them holding handmade signs and requesting selfies with the Idol hopeful.
"Everywhere I look, it's blue," Harmon joked outside Amory High School, where he once had the lead in the school musical.
The R&B singer wore his signature cowboy hat as he chatted with reporters and fans. He said he was happy to be back in Amory.
"I try to love on my fans as much as I can," he said. "You need to come back and shake some hands and hug some babies."
Though many people have suggested to Harmon that coming from a small place like Amory could be a disadvantage for a Hollywood hopeful, Harmon said he thought the small town gave him an advantage because the entire city has rallied around him.
"I mean, look what we've put together with just a few thousand people," he said. "A lot of people showed up. This is how you win stuff right here."
Harmon grew up working on his parents' farm and restaurant, the Long Horn. He said he got to know locals who knew him as "the guy that's always got the headphones in his ear, right?" while he took their orders. They knew he liked music just as he knew what they liked to eat, he said.
"Now I'm not asking them what they want to eat," he said. "I'm asking them what they want to hear...I feel blessed to (be) from here."
It's not just Amory that's rallying to support him, he added. The town in Arkansas where he attended college has also been supporting him.
Harmon is excited at the prospect of the show having a Mississippi-based finale, with both he and Renae being among the finalists. He called Renae a "sweet lady" and said that the two of them have a connection in their Mississippi heritage.
"Both of us, we can really relate on topics and conversations that nobody else (can)," Harmon said. "We're both from Mississippi. Like, we were talking about stuff that we're going to go home and do that nobody else understands."
Mississippi's musical history
Harmon also talked briefly about Mississippi's music legacy.
"We were having the conversation the other day ... what do you think Elvis would do today if he were still alive?" Harmon said. "I said, 'Well, first of all Elvis would still be probably one of the best-looking, best entertainers in music still, I mean 50 years later.' But I feel like he would have done something like this. Whatever was the going circuit, he would have jumped on that."
Whether he wins or not, Harmon seems to have a promising future.
His rendition of "Sharp Dressed Man" is number 50 on the iTunes charts, and he has thousands of fans all over the country in the form of social media followers and American Idol viewers who have voted for him. Harmon said his goal is to give back to the community by doing things for fans such as free concerts. He also said he would like to have a piece of music that he could bring to concerts and hand to people who ask for it.
"You know, I feel like there's so many people that quit one year before something happens," Harmon said. "And they don't necessarily have to be on TV. They don't necessarily have to be making commas in their bank account. I'm not saying that's what's going to happen in a year, I'm just saying so many quit.
"They keep asking me, 'What would you say to kids?' I don't have to think about what I'd tell them," he said. "I'd tell them just do it for one more year. Whatever it is, it doesn't matter what age you are, do it for one more year. And then if you want to quit, then at least you can say you did it."
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