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Cameron man defies odds, uses his voice to wow judges on American Idol

Posted at 9:56 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 22:56:14-05

CAMERON, TEXAS — We've all at least heard of the show and maybe you're even a huge fan. Regardless, it's safe to say the talent auditioning for American Idol gets better and better with each new season.

For one Cameron native, earning a ticket to Hollywood meant more to him than just a trip to the West Coast.

Cecil Ray Baker had never heard people use the words perfection, distinctive and interesting when describing his voice.

"Never... when Luke Bryan said that to me... It really opened my eyes to reality," he said.

Hearing high praises from American Idol's three dominant judges and forces in the music industry themselves, Baker says the experience was more than just life-changing.

"We always want this male country-kid slot. You may be the best we've seen this year potentially in this slot," Luke Bryan said, referring to Baker.

Baker, who sang Morgan Wallen's 'Talkin' Tennessee,' wowed the judges so much that he received a 'yes' from all three judges- Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie.

Growing up in government housing, Baker says he wants to give his daughter a life he never had, and he's using his voice and determination to get her there.

"With American Idol, I feel like it was meant to be. Everything in life I feel like was leading up to this moment. I feel like American Idol was what I need to put my daughter in a better living situation, despite what I grew up in," he added.

His daughter, Amelia, is an even bigger reason to chase his dream. Baker says he remembers himself in diapers watching American Idol, and now his daughter gets to do the same, seeing her dad on the big stage.

"Man... I used to be the little kid standing in front of the TV screen watching American Idol, watching Ryan Seacrest give golden tickets out. I knew ever since then... I was going to be there one day," Baker said.

The Milam County man says he has a message for anyone who thinks their dreams are out of reach.

"In such a small town, you gotta have big dreams usually. I used to hear those words, "Nothing is impossible," and I used to not think much of it. Being on American Idol, coming from government housing and going to Hollywood has really opened my eyes. I want everyone to realize nothing is impossible," he said.

Baker has also been dealt an enormous amount of loss, losing very important people to him by suicide and music helped him cope.

"At 11 years old... I lost a childhood friend that I grew up going to school with in 2011, and then the very next year in 2012, I lost my brother, my mom's oldest son, to suicide in June. The very next year in 2013, I lost my uncle to suicide," he said.

Music means more than simply picking a guitar, it helps Baker heal.

He says to see how far he goes with the competition, we will just have to stay tuned.