Kris Allen is an American singer best known for being the winner of the eighth season of American Idol. In fact, he was the first married contestant to have taken home the winner’s title! Known for his smooth vocals and boy-next-door image, Allen triumphed over fellow finalist Adam Lambert in the season’s finale with the song “Ain’t No Sunshine”. After winning the competition, Allen performed his Idol coronation song, “No Boundaries” for the first time on May 19thーthe single was later released on May 20, 2009 and has since sold over 312,000 copies. Having won a recording contract with 19 Entertainment/Jive Records, Allen released multiple albums throughout his subsequent years as a professional singer including “Horizon” in 2014 and more recently, “Letting You In” in 2016.
As of 2016, the artist has released a total of 5 albums, including the pre-Idol “Brand New Shoes” which Allen had self-released back in 2007. The singer has since gone onto perform at various events and have also appeared in various television talk shows, including the Late Show with David Letterman in late 2009 and Live! with Kelly in 2012. Besides appearing on the small screen as a guest, the American Idol winner had also landed a small acting roll in the comedy drama series, Gigantic in 2011.
But that seems to have been a while ago, what has Allen been busying himself with recently? What happened to the artist of American Idol fame? Where is he now in 2018?
Kris Allen and His Early Passion For Music
Born on June 21, 1985 in Jacksonville, Arkanas, Kris Allen was the oldest child of Kimberlee and Neil Allen. The singer has a younger brother named Daniel, who works as a college cheerleading coach. Even as a young boy, Allen had a love for music; he started to play the viola while he was in elementary school and had eventually taught himself to play the guitar and piano when he was 13 years old. As a teen, Allen played the viola in the Mills University Studies High School orchestra’ his talents and hard work eventually paid off when he was offered a spot in the Arkansas All-State Orchestra. He has stated that his greatest musical influences growing up were the Beatles, Jamie Cullum, Jason Mraz, Pat Monohan, Michael Jackson and John Mayer.
After graduating from high school, the then 18 year old moved to Conway, Arkanas and enrolled in the University of Central Arkansas. He majored in business and was a member of Chi Alpha campus ministries at the time. It was also during his time at University that Allen started to get involved with Christian missionary work around the world, including countries such as Thailand, Spain and South Africa. The singer later also served as a worship leader for a local Church and for the Chi Alpha campus ministry. Despite his ongoing business studies, Allen ultimately decided to drop out of college during his second year in order to pursue a career in music.
Having realized where his passion was, Allen started to play and perform his music professionally. His first gig was at a local bar in downtown Conway. He would perform during the day at Little Rock and Fayetteville and work as a shoe salesman at night in order to make ends meet. At the age of 22, Allen self-released his first album “Brand New Shoes” with the help of his friends and bandmates; the title of the album had been a reference back to the singer’s shoe selling days.
With things becoming more difficult that he had imagined, Allen eventually made the decision to return to college in order to finish his business degree and to “get a real job”. However despite the initial plans to enrol back into college, Allen was instead persuaded by his brother Daniel and his good friend Cale Millis to audition for American Idolーand the rest was history.
Kris Allen and his Time on American Idol
In 2008, Allen travelled to Louisville, Kentucky with his brother Daniel to take part in the American Idol auditions. After successfully advancing into the show, the singer found himself participating in various sing-offs against other fellow contestants. Allen was also one of the few eventual finalists, that received the least amount of on-screen time during the early episodes of the season.
Throughout American Idol, Allen was continuously praised for his folk-inspired rendition of modern pop songs. He was also noted for his ability to play and perform multiple instruments including the electric guitar, the acoustic guitar, the keyboard as well as the piano. his interpretation of “To Make You Feel My Love” during the Top 11 round also garnered praise from the judge panel including Simon Cowell himself. During the season finale, Allen found himself against fellow contestant, Adam Lambert. For the sing-off, he performed his own rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” on keyboardーwhich was greatly applauded by the judges.
On May 20, 2009, Allen was officially crowned winner of the eighth season of American Idol, having defeated fellow finalist Adam Lambert in the finale; he was also the first married contestant in the show to have won. The finale of the eighth season also broke the world record for greatest number of votes casted during a televised singing competition; according to sources, nearly 100 million votes were casted during the episode.
Kris Allen’s Post American Idol Career
Allen’s coronation single entitled “No Boundaries” was a major hit, having debuted at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. Four of his other singles were also listed, including “Heartless”, “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Apologize” and “Falling Slowly”. Following his win, his coronation song topped the iTunes singles chart and had sold 312,000 copies. The singer later announced the release of his debut album after having signed a recording contract with Jive Records.
Allen released his self-titled debut album, “Kris Allen” on November 17, 2009. For the album, the singer collaborated with various musicians including Joe King of The Fray and David Hodges amongst others. The album debuted on the Billboard 200 chart at number 11 and sold over 80,000 copies during its first week. The album later saw approximately 329,000 sold copies in December 2011.
The singer later announced the release of his second studio album titled, “Thank You Camellia” in late March 2012; the album would be released on May 22, 2012. In an eventual interview, Allen revealed that the title of the album was in fact, a reference to a home which he had shared in the past with his friends from Arkansas while living in LA. Upon its release, “Thank You Camellia” was met with generative positive reviews, having garnered 3 out of 4 stars from People.
After the release of his second album, the artist involved himself in various events, including an online concert and a US tour from January to May 2013. It wouldn’t be until 2014, that the artist would be releasing a third studio album. Titled “Horizons”, Allen’s third studio album was said to have been recorded at award winning music producer Charlie Peacock’s studio in Nashville. The album was produced by Allen’s independent recording label, DogBear Records (he was dropped by RCA in 2012) and was released on August 12, 2014. It debuted at the number 80 spot on the Billboard 200 Chart and sold 4000 copies throughout the US during its first week.
Kris Allen’s Personal Life
Allen is known for being a strong advocate of music education; since winning American Idol, he has involved himself with various music education promoting non-profit charitable organizations, such as Music Empowers Foundation and Little Kids Rock. In the fall of 2011, the artist also grew a moustache for a period of four weeks in support of DonorsChoose and Music Empowersーthe campaign eventually helped to raised over $80,000.
The singer also travelled to Haiti in February 2010 with the United Nations Federations to help raise relief funds for the victims of the Haiti Earthquake. After returning from the trip, Allen performed The Beatle’s “Let It Be” as part of the Idol Gives Back Campaign, which helped to raise over $250,000 for the UN Foundation.
In terms of relationships, Allen married his high school sweetheart, Katy O’Connell prior to his time on American Idol on September 26, 2008. The couple have a son, Oliver Neil Allen born July 30, 2013 and a daughter, Rose Elizabeth Allen who was born on June 18, 2016.
What’s Kris Allen Doing Now in 2018- Recent Updates
With a three year old son and a one month old daughter, it’s probably expected for the singer to be a little tied back with fatherhood! The American Idol winner had proudly announced the birth of his daughter by uploading a photo of baby Rose Allen onto his Instagram account earlier in June. In a recent interview, Allen was seen reflecting on his experiences and time as a father citing that “you do see yourself a little bit differently when you become a dad.” Congratulations for your new addition to the family!
Besides family affairs, Allen has also been busy with the release of his 2016 album this year. First announced in January 2016, “Letting You In” will be the fourth major studio album release for Allen; it was later released on March 18, 2016. The reflective and emotive album gives off a vibe of advice giving through its tracks; presumably pages out of the singer’s diary itself.
In support of his new album, the songwriter has also been busy for a good few months this year with his “Letting You In Tour 2016” this past spring. Alongside folk singer, Marie Miller, the two traveled and performed for fans across the United States; the tour began in Birmingham, AL in late March 2016 and ended on June 11th in Charlotte, NC.
But the tour didn’t mark the last of public appearances for Allenーhe was later seen performing at a private event, for meeting planners who were attending an educational congress in Atlantic City on June 14, 2016. However having said all this, Allen’s most notable guest performance of the year must have been that of the American Idol finale.
After 14 years, the singing competition was finally coming to an end; in order the commemorate the finale, previous Idol alumni winners including Allen himself, were invited to American Idol for one last opportunity to perform on the stage. When previously asked whether or not he would be returning for the April finale, Allen had stated that he had always had the full intention of participatingーthere would be no question about it!
Now with the major events and performances behind him, perhaps Allen will finally be able to enjoy a little bit of family time with his new daughter. Even hard working musicians deserve a break, right? If you’d like to stay updated with the artist, you can find him on Twitter (@KrisAllen) and Instagram (@Kris_allen), as well as his Facebook page. Don’t forget about his official website as well, if you’re looking for news on the star!