Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

West Mifflin's Nate Walker Happy with Time on 'Idol'

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

West Mifflin's Nate Walker Happy with Time on 'Idol'

Article excerpt

Nate Walker didn't reach the top 20 on "American Idol," but if he had to go out, he did it his way.

West Mifflin's Mr. Walker, 19, was in Hawaii for the top 40 showcase, which was broadcast Sunday on ABC. Part of the Final Judgment experience was a beachfront concert in front of a live audience.

Mr. Walker paid homage to "American Idol" judge Lionel Richie, singing The Commodores' "Still." He discussed the choice Monday with the Post-Gazette.

"Here's where my head was at: Lionel Richie is such as inspiration for me, a role model I've looked up to. So I said to myself, 'If this were to be my last performance, how would I want to go about it?'

"He's sitting right there, and I wanted to perform for him. I wanted to pay homage to his beautiful song and his skill.

"When I first heard that song, I felt like 'I should have written this song. Why didn't I write this song?'"

Coming from a musical family, he said, he heard The Commodores and "Still" "about a billion times."

Mr. Walker didn't advance in the competition, but said he's satisfied with his performance. Mr. Richie and fellow judges Katy Perry and Luke Bryan said they loved his voice but felt he didn't connect with the audience enough.

"All the feedback that the judges gave about interacting with the crowd more, I totally took that to heart," he said. The judges "have so much experience with performing, so anything they say, my ear is already inclined to hear."

His stage presence wasn't flashy; Mr. Walker said he would rather go big with vocals, like his idols Whitney Houston or Donny Hathaway. Reminded that "American Idol" Top 20 contestant Uche Ndubizu wore a fake fur mantle and took down his dreads in a frenetic take on "Play That Funky Music, White Boy," Mr. Walker laughed and added, "I was amazed with the dance moves and the hair thing, but that's not my style."

Mr. Walker is in the process of assembling a schedule for the next few months that will include performing in the Pittsburgh area. …

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