Luling native is contestant on ‘American Idol’

A Luling native will be a contestant on the new season of “American Idol” on Fox.

Though Chad Robin, 25, can’t divulge too much about his experience on the popular show, he said the process began back in June when he auditioned for star judges Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban.

His is tentatively scheduled to appear on the show on Thursday, Jan. 22. Click here to view his “American Idol” audition.

“I did get to sing for the judges and everyone will have to watch out for the New Orleans auditions to see how I did,” Robin said. “I can’t wait to share with everyone what I’ve been working so hard on, and I appreciate everyone’s support so far.”

Robin grew up in Luling before his music career blossomed at Florida State University.

“FSU has one of the most renowned programs in the country for music education, and because of that it’s a hotbed for extremely talented musicians,” Robin said. “I was really lucky to be immersed in the a cappella scene…it gave me lifelong friends and hours of experience rehearsing and performing.”

Robin’s earliest musical memory is of his dad, who is a huge reggae fan, playing the guitar. As a child, Robin was encouraged to explore musical instruments and sing. He fondly sung along with performers on the radio and says his love of music continued to grow from there.

“I just remember music always feeling right and being drawn toward anything that was musical,” Robin said. “It didn’t have to be music on the radio or in movies…I was just as equally moved by classical music and older swamp pop tunes.“I think the thing that really got me was the emotion that music carries with it.”

Robin has several videos on YouTube where he shows off his expertise with the piano. He has been playing the instrument since he was 8 years old.

“An older cousin of mine was playing ‘Fur Elise’ on the piano and after that I knew I was hooked,” Robin said. “I sat there for hours and practiced the notes that she showed me and wouldn’t stop until I had memorized it. After that I remember pulling weeds for weeks trying to save up for my first 64-key piano.”

Robin continued to take piano lessons until he graduated from high school. After going to Florida State, he began performing on stage as part of co-ed a cappella group All-Night Yahtzee.

“I stayed with the group for four years. The experience I got was incredible,” Robin said. “We sang around campus, put on shows, competed around the country and got to sing for big names like Ben Folds. It taught me how to sing in a group and blend with voices around me, but also how to get in front and lead a song.”

Robin, who calls Queen, Billy Joel, Amos Lee and Brandi Carlile musical influences, now lives in New Orleans and is a singer with Louisiana Spice Band. The group performs about two shows a weekend and plays weddings, corporate events and festivals – both large and small.

Robin has sung in front of crowds at the Roosevelt Hotel’s Blue Room, the Audobon Tea Room and Gretna Fest.

“Because of the events we play we have a variety of music that we run through – and I mean it,” Robin said with a laugh. “For example, I can be singing ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ by Frank Sinatra in the first 30 minutes of a show, but then be rapping ‘Back That Thang Up’ by Juvenile a couple of hours later.”

Though he has performed in front of large crowds throughout the years, Robin said he still gets nervous every time he steps on the stage.

“The nerves don’t really go away, you just learn how to cope with them,” Robin said. “I still get the same feeling when I get on stage now as I did years ago, but with more experience you learn how to relax yourself and really be happy.”

Click here to view Robin’s videos on YouTube.

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