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Q&A: “American Idol” Finalist Louis Knight

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Photo Courtesy of James Foley.

The Lower Merion High School graduate discusses his experience on the show.

When COVID-19 concerns moved American Idol from Los Angeles to contestants’ homes, 19-year-old Louis Knight returned to Narberth and, with help from producers, transformed his family’s house into a TV recording studio. Although he didn’t win the singing competition, our Best Breakout Act finished in the final seven. Since then, Knight has released “Maybe That” and “Twisted Conversations,” with more new music on the way.

MLT: How did American Idol first contact you?

LK: At the end of September 2019, I got an Instagram DM from a casting producer. I wasn’t sure if it was real, so I forwarded it to my manager. He sussed it out and confirmed that it was actually from American Idol.

MLT: At that point, what was the status of your music career?

LK: I’d recorded my EP Small Victories, performed at MilkBoy, and done open mikes at Dawson Street Pub, the Grape Room and World Café Live. I had a band together, and we were planning to start gigging up and down the East Coast.

MLT: You graduated from Lower Merion High School in 2018. What about college?

LK: I took a gap year which, in my mind, was not so much a year as an open-ended period. Writing songs is my calling. There’s no other option for me—I was going to make this happen. I’m lucky to have the support of my parents.

MLT: Tell us about “Change,” which you wrote for your EP and performed for your Idol audition.

LK: During senior year at Lower Merion, my friend Russell committed suicide. I tried to write about the situation many times, but nothing worked. One morning, I went down to the piano, and the song poured out of me. In 30 minutes, it was complete.

MLT: Was performing at home helpful or harmful?

LK: Definitely helpful. This house is where I’ve written all of my music. It’s great to have my mom and dad peeking their heads in the door and giving me feedback.

MLT: What was the reaction from your Narberth neighbors?

LK: They’ve been incredible. Some people drove by the house before shows. They’d wave and say good luck.

MLT: What does the future hold?

LK: I’d love to get into a recording studio. I do look forward to playing in front of a live audience … and not just my family on our porch.

Knight was our 2020 Best of the Main Line Best Breakout Act winner. See the full list here.