Lifelong Lebanon resident and local singer Kason Lester will make an appearance on ABC’s ‘American Idol’ in March.
Lester says he received a text message one night from a cousin in Chattanooga telling him that ‘American Idol’ would be holding auditions there the next day.
Auditioning for an iconic television show wasn’t even on his radar at the time.
“It was literally on a whim,” Lester said with a laugh. “So, the next morning me and mom are up at 4 a.m. and heading to Chattanooga to stand in line for the entire day.”
“I don’t know how many were there … maybe two, three thousand?” Lester said.
Out of that mass of talent, Lester was chosen to advance to another round of auditions in Louisville, Ky. This time parents Kevin and Teresa, grandmother Fran Martin and brother Mitchel made the trip with him where he got to perform in front of the show’s celebrity judges — Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.
“I was a little starstruck. I mean here’s people that I have on my playlists and I’m performing in front of them,” he said.
Lester co-owns Lester Farms with his brother. He had a surprise for Perry from the popular strawberry farm and produce stand that sits on the corner of Coles Ferry and South Hartmann.
“I’m a big Katy fan so we had gift baskets for her and the judges, and she’s sitting there the whole time with a Lester Farms cap on,” Lester said. “That’s pretty awesome.”
Lester will appear on the March 6 episode of the ABC show. The Lester family is hosting a public viewing of the show at the Capitol Theater in Lebanon that night starting at 6:30 p.m. There will be food and drinks served, but seating is limited.
Lester said that he’s always been a music lover, but singing and songwriting was something he did privately for a long time.
“It’s something that nobody really knew that I did,” he said.
Lester graduated from Belmont with a music business degree in May of 2017, but an office just doesn’t appeal to him.
“I’ve tried to do other things, to take other routes, but it always came back to this, my love for singing and songwriting,” Lester said.
Although Lester hasn’t been a lifelong performer like other ‘American Idol’ contestants, he grew up watching the show.
“We used to have ‘American Idol ‘night when I was growing up and we’d get together as a family and watch every episode,” he said.
Lester wanted to thank all the people in his hometown that have supported him but especially his parents, brother and both grandmothers.
“They’ve been great during this process,” he said.