Much of today’s music industry is overrun with foul language and uninspiring messages, but a former “American Idol” contestant is on her way to launching a music career with a positive slant.
Shannon O’Hara, 17, who made it to the top 24 on the past season of “American Idol,” has kept her music career going since her exit from the show. Last week, the native of Mooresville, North Carolina, released her first music video, which features her performance of two Christian songs, “Take Me to the King” and “How Great Thou Art.”
A message on her YouTube page says she made the video in one take and with no edits.
The songs’ lyrics — just like the content of her social media accounts — are deeply religious and share praise for God. The refrain of the first is: “Take me to the King. I don’t have much to bring. My heart is torn in pieces. It’s my offering. Take me to the King.”
In “How Great Thou Art,” O’Hara sings, “Then sings my soul, my Savior God, to Thee. How great Thou art, how great Thou art.”
O’Hara is now working on an upcoming album, WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina, reports.
“It’s lined up,” she told the local television station. “Just getting the songs. Getting everything in place. Getting the money to produce it because it’s really not cheap to make a good record.”
The exposure that “American Idol” gave her certainly could be helpful. Her rendition of Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally” on the show went viral. It currently has over 1.1 million views on YouTube and brought the song’s original singer to tears.
Outside of her music career, O’Hara is involved with her local church and gives back to the community because of it. She leads the worship at her church’s youth group on Thursdays and Sundays, The Charlotte Observer reported; and on Friday nights, she works with Dream Center, a Pentecostal Church mission, to give food and water to the homeless.
O’Hara’s relationship with the Almighty has been especially important in her life recently, as her family has experienced tough times. Last year, her father lost his job and then was diagnosed with vascular disease, according to The Observer. On “American Idol,” O’Hara said her family is in the process of selling her childhood home to pay medical bills. She also said she was performing for a “chance for me to bring some hope to my family in this extremely difficult time.”
Regardless of those challenges, music is O’Hara’s passion, and she’s using it to spread a positive and Christian message.
“Honestly, it’s really non-negotiable if I’m gonna do music or not,” she told The Charlotte Observer in March of this year. “There isn’t another route for me. If it doesn’t work out, I’ll just be poor and still be doing music. I literally am not good at anything else … I mean, if things don’t work out with ‘American Idol,’ I’d really like to go to this ministry school in California. That also involves worship and worship-leading — which is music.”
Tom Joyce is a freelance writer from the South Shore of Massachusetts. He covers sports, pop culture, and politics and has contributed to The Federalist, Newsday, ESPN, and other outlets.