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Clark Beckham from "American Idol 2015" is one of the top 24 contestants in Season 14 of the FOX reality singing competition. He sang "It's a Man's, Man's, Man's World" by James Brown for his audition in Nashville, Tennessee.

As a toddler Clark Beckham was immersed in the spirited worship services of his family's Pentecostal church. He was twelve years old when he first picked up his father's 1956 Martin, and at 15 he taught himself to play piano on his great-grandmother's baby grand.

Clark Beckham in "American Idol 2015"
Clark Beckham American Idol 2015
is a college senior at Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, where he is a member of Campus Choir, a touring Pentecostal worship choir under the direction of Pastor Jim Phillips. Beckham says he has experienced more growth as a vocalist and a musician in his time at Lee than any period in his life. In addition to touring churches all over the western hemisphere with Campus Choir, he has played many school events, local venues and coffee shops. He also has won a few talent shows, most recently the "Battle of the Bands."

Here is an interview with Clark:

When did you first start singing?

I first started singing when I was eight years old with my mom and dad in a gospel trio. 
What role does music play in your life?

I'm constantly playing or singing either on the street, my room, coffee shops, bars, church or college events. Whether I'm practicing scales, learning songs or listening to songs, music is the most major part of my life. I think it, I speak it, I live in and around it, I make it and I do it. I feel like music is as much a part of me as my own heart.
What makes you unique?

I believe there are a couple of things that make me unique. I consider myself as much of an instrumentalist as I am a vocalist. I'm in love with music and part of my pursuit of her is being able to play every instrument I can; to be able to experience music through every avenue possible. That being said, I am very much at home playing with and working with a band. I appreciate them and am able to communicate with them on what I am feeling. I can also sing and play a lot of different styles. I've grown up on music from the 60s and 70s and have been influenced by many different genres and other time periods (Motown, Classical, Jazz, Classic Rock, Blues, Gospel, Rat Pack, and others) and have developed my own unique sound and musical style from those.
Do you have a wish list of writers you'd like to write with? If so, who? 

Yes! Ryan Tedder, John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, Keith Urban, Jon Bellion, Allen Stone, Jonny Lang, John Legend, Dave Barnes, Johnny Swim. 
What are your top three all-time favorite songs and why?

"Let's Get It On" by Marvin Gaye. The feel, the emotion, the production, everything is SO perfect and groovy and passionate. Also shows that you can sing about sex without being crude in lyrical content. The MUSIC is sexy.

"Gravity" by John Mayer. The depth of the lyrics are incredible. It speaks of a tortured heart that keeps getting more and more but in his pursuit of his natural desires he finds that twice as much ain't twice as good and can't sustain like one half could. I love the message and its delivery is genius. It also has a great groove and pocket. It's also an example of great complex music theory without being distracting to the listener. And then the "Keep me where the light is" tag is killer. One of the closest to perfect songs I've ever heard.

"Lately" by Stevie Wonder. This is a heartbreaking ballad with my all time favorite key change in it. Typical to Stevie Wonder, the musicality (chords, melody) are perfectly parallel to the lyrics and emotion of the song. Another genius, complex song as far as music theory goes but it doesn't distract from the message and emotion of the song. I feel like I see the inner most part of Stevie's broken heart when I hear him sing this song. 

Honorable mentions: 

"Mona Lisa" — Nat King Cole
"Yesterday" - Beatles
"Maybe Tomorrow" — Jackson 5
What is your strongest musical strength?

My understanding of music (theory and instrumental ability).
What is your greatest musical weakness?

Sometimes I'll be too ambitious and vocally try to do too much… But I'm getting better! 
Who are your top three favorite and most influential artists? What is it about your favorite artists that you are drawn to?

1. My dad, Virgil Beckham - His grit and intense passion behind every song. He has the ability to sing runs and belt high power house notes but knows when to do them and when not to. Sings with conviction. His writing has always been spectacular and he is a smokin' guitar player.

2. Stevie Wonder - Where do I begin? His groove, his GENIUS chord structures, movements and theory. His phenomenal piano/harmonica playing, his amazing vocal range and control, his love of music and people, and I think he's arguably the greatest songwriter of the 20th century. In my opinion, Stevie Wonder is the greatest musical artist of all time. 

3. Allen Stone - He is also a singer/instrumentalist. His medium range tone and style is BUTTER. Vocally, his vowel articulation and use of vibrato in soft, soulful, intimate musical lines is something that I've admired and have taken on myself. His production, song writing and band are SUPER groovy and as a Soul and R&B artist, he pays homage to the roots of Soul and R&B in a way that would make Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Sam Cooke and Otis Redding (and makes ME) proud.  

If you had to pattern your career after another artist, who would it be and why? 

John Mayer - He is a genius songwriter and a revolutionary guitar player and musician. His sound is unique and he is one of the most talented musical artists on the planet right now. He has brought new, relative, music to popular culture that is steeped in musical brilliance (chord structures, theory, lyrics and emotion). He is it. 
Why do you think you should be the next "American Idol"?

Because I believe America is hungry for the groove. Bruno Mars' Super Bowl halftime show was one of the most popular and well-liked halftime shows in years. It consisted of straight Motown and R&B and people LOVED it. Pharrell Williams' soulful, groovy single "Happy" has become only the fourth track in the last 20 years to go triple platinum. I believe it's where music is going and I believe I can help take us there. 

Through obtaining a college degree graduating with honors and growing up intensely involved in football and other sports, I have learned what hard work and pushing past my limit looks like and I have applied that work ethic joyfully to music. I have worked and will continue to work very hard to get better instrumentally, vocally, physically and mentally in a relentless, passionate, thrilling pursuit of being the best musician I can be. I am a student of music and musicians. I know that I have what it takes to be a major player in this business. I know with all of my heart that this is what I was meant to do. It's never been a decision to make. There's never been a choice. I am a lover of music but music is more than a want, it's a must.

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Where does Clark Beckham live? Find out here.

Hometown: White House, TN
Current Residence: Nashville, TN

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Season 14

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