EXCLUSIVE: 'American Idol's' James Durbin on Struggles Towards Stardom

by Hilary Rothing, posted May 18th 2011 6:00AM
James Durbin may have finished in 4th place, but he won't soon be forgotten -- the rocker put on some of the most memorable 'American Idol' performances of the season.

And the 22-year-old father has not been shy about sharing some of the personal obstacles he faced in his journey towards capturing America's heart with his in-your-face pro-metal approach to 'Idol.'

Life & Style sat down with the Santa Cruz native for an exclusive interview -- which they kindly shared exclusively with us -- featuring James speaking candidly about his road to music stardom.

"I've overcome so much to become a star. Life puts obstacles in your way, and you have to tackle them," said Durbin, who was diagnosed with Tourette's and Asperger's syndromes just after losing his father, at the tender age of nine. "I got bullied so much. It was awful, and it really could've destroyed me had I not found music as an outlet."

But finding music was just one step in the right direction. There was still an uncertain road ahead of the young man who overcame so much at such a young age. "I was living at my mom's house: no job, no car, no money, no license even or a diploma. I was about as low as you could get," Durbin explained.

The inspiration would follow when he met his girlfriend, Heidi, and the two welcomed a son, Hunter. With a family of his own, not only rooting for but depending on him, James became focused on succeeding.

Now it seems the once bullied and teased James Durbin has more people on his side than ever, with fans distraught over his elimination crashing Twitter. America clearly accepts and understands James, for who he is and it warms the metal head's heart. "It feels so good to know that I'm an inspiration," said Durbin.

For more on James Durbin's personal journey, pick up the new issue of Life & Style

'American Idol' airs Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8PM ET on FOX.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum


Filter by:

James was by far the most entertaining contestant this year. I caught a glimpse of one of his performances early in the season and was hooked from that point on, and tuned in just to see him each week. That guy brings so much enthusiasm to the stage - you can tell he absolutely loves every single second he's up there. The others were okay, but nothing unique about any of them that I can see and I definitely would have lost interest without James there. I read that the finale show where Scotty and Lauren competed by themselves lost 3 million viewers - that doesn't surprise me at all. To those who say he did nothing but scream, did you even see him do Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? That, in my opinion, was the single best performance of the entire season.

Also, to people who say he played too much on his disabilities, I don't think he did that as much as Idol (and reporters) did. And I think the reason people are so fascinated by that is, let's face it, we all know people with a lot less obstacles than James has had that never do anything with their lives. James has accomplished more than most people already, at only age 22, even with have something physical that caused people to stare at him and make fun of him all his life.

June 02 2011 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Scotty is great and I was rooting for him the whole time. Good Luck to Lauren too she will do great

May 30 2011 at 8:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Wow, cindythomas- again James is being bullied. I guess you're perfect. Calling anyone fat is not cool. You shouldn't have kids since you would be horrible.

May 23 2011 at 12:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We ALL overcome obstacles in our life to get to where we are now. This kid tried to play on that every week and it caught up with him. We got tired of hearing about his struggles. He is the best entertainer on the number 1 show on TV!!! He is about to be a millionair. Yeah, you got it real tough kid. The title of this was OUT CAST!! lol yeah 4 th place. That aint OUTCAST. The 10 million that tried out and SUCKED were outcast. lol. Your 22 so listen close, HIT THE GYM AND LOOK LIKE A ROCK STAR. How many FAT ones do you see?

May 19 2011 at 2:07 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cindythomas1960's comment

It was not James that asked the questions about Tourette's and Asperger's. It was the interviewers. As for his weight...stop it! I hope that you are a perfect size and that you never have to deal with the heartbreak of autism or other disabilities. I also hope that your children are perfect like you are.

May 20 2011 at 3:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

I think he is fantastic. I just don't get why "being a star" is so important to so many people. Become a star. Lose your family life. Lose your privacy. Either drag your family around with you or never see them. It is a high price to pay.

May 19 2011 at 10:31 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hey Tyler

So I love this guy and quite frankly way too good for American Idol which is a pop show. The good thing about Idol is it gives real talent a chance to be discovered and it turns winners into ...ahhh errrrr hmmmmm
Let's look at chris daughtry thank god he did not win becaue he would have not won a grammy so yeah for James he will be a star and rock.....Idol wont own him and make him do stupid poppy stuff and he can be his own man and thank god not an Idol man!

May 19 2011 at 9:42 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

America never gets it right, its like in high school and who ever they like the most wins never mind there talent. High school and college kids can text so fast and have computer software that can vote 100 times that of a normal person and who is there favorite wins not ours. Pia and Durbin sould have never gone home.
Not that the Judges help in any way they love them all and without simon there, no bad reviews or picks till the botttom three is a opinion given and thats only because Ryan ask. Should be like dancing with the stars and the judges get a vote that counts for 50%. Randy is the only one who well say when you stink you stink and even then no one trust him any more we all know he is a rock head. Simon but have been a jerk but he knew talent.....

May 19 2011 at 9:38 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

He should have won AI. To those of you saying he screamed but could not sing, just what show were you watching? I am no fan of heavy metal, but that kid can sing! He will certainly do more with what he has than the ignorant posters on here who just want to disparage anyone's success.

May 19 2011 at 9:21 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply

When one door closes.......another one wil open.....Durban is an inspiration!
Many Blessings*

May 19 2011 at 9:14 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

He could scream loud and I bet hes on drugs and out of control within a year or leaves his wife for Adam Lambert

May 19 2011 at 7:57 AM Report abuse -9 rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners