LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - East Texans have been cheering on one of our very own who secured a top 7 spot on American Idol. However, it's his journey of hard work that has so many talking, including those that knew him before the show.
Almost four years ago, Cade Foehner's hair was a little shorter when the three bandmates played together, but the band members said Foehner is an inspiration.
"We pretty much played anywhere that would let 13-years-old into a bar," said Dillon Reynolds, former drummer.
Reynolds and Julian Johnson said they called themselves the Johnson's Lost Crows.
"I was like, 'Oh it's pretty easy', he was like 'You got the talent, you can do it,' I was like, 'OK, I guess I'll join,'" Johnson said.
The trio played in the band that was started by American Idol contestant Cade Foehner since the summer of 2010, their 8th-grade year.
Four years later in 2014, Foehner, a self-taught guitarist, won a competition by becoming the best guitarist under 20 in Texas, a sign of his hard work.
"For him to be the kid from East Texas, from Shelbyville, Texas where nobody knows, and for him to win it out of all the competition, it was just wow. It was a pretty good moment. We were pretty happy. We were stoked," Johnson said.
The band separated after the first year of college because they wanted to pursue their individual aspirations, and Foehner focused on expanding his skills.
"He would go in his music room where he practices. He practices six hours a day, sometimes seven, just playing guitar," Johnson said.
Both said they are not surprised to see Foehner performing on the Idol stage because of his dedication.
"He's always been real kept to himself and to see people like wooing over him, I guess it's a little weird, but I'm not surprised that he's on the show," Reynolds said.
Both Johnson and Reynolds said Foehner continued to build on his motivation to pick himself after every closed door, and now is an inspiration to many.
"It's kinda bringing the whole community together in a way that hasn't happened in a long time," Reynolds said.
American Idol airs this Sunday on KTRE. The Rotary Club of Center is hosting a watch party at the Civic Center this Sunday starting at 6:30 p.m.