LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A Lufkin native who describes his music as "Texas Soul" is making waves on a national stage after making it as a finalist on the NBC show "America's Got Talent."
A panel including Howie Mandel, Howard Stern, Heidi Klum and Mel B gave Dave Fenley, 34, the thumbs up during the Las Vegas round Wednesday night, meaning Fenley will be joining 60 other acts at Radio City Music Hall in New York next week.
According to his website, Fenley is compared to Joe Cocker and Otis Redding. He began singing at the age of 2 and began performing and writing his own songs with a band he formed in high school.
"America's Got Talent" airs Tuesday and Wednesdays at 8 p.m.
In a phone interview Thursday, Fenley said he moved to Canada after junior high and came back to East Texas when he attended college at SFA. He toured all over Texas for the past 15 years before he moved to Nashville five months ago.
"When they told me I was going to Radio City, it was pretty amazing," Fenley said. "As an entertainer of any kind, going to that stage is a dream."
While there are some amateur acts on "Talent," Fenley said he's a professional musician looking to take his act to a bigger stage.
"I've been doing this close to 12 or 13 years," Fenley said. "I haven't had a real job since playing at the country show at Fiesta Texas in San Antonio. That was my actual last paying gig other than straight-up music."
He said he has a little bit of experience in the reality show genre.
"I tried out for 'The Voice' a couple years ago but it was kind of a sham," Fenley said. "When I showed up, they wanted nothing but cover songs. So I kind of muddled around and it didn't go really well."
Fenley is a songwriter and has been able to showcase his ability in live shows. But for "Talent," Fenley has had to stick to cover songs.
"The difficult part is having to sell songs in 90 seconds," Fenley said. "You take a good three-minute song and turn it into 90 seconds and it's better if people already know it. So for the folks out there who don't know my music, it's hard to get them emotionally involved with it."