Caleb Kennedy officially released his debut single “Raised On Dirt.”
The American Idol alum and South Carolina native released the new track on Saturday (Sept. 11). The track was originally slated for his Top 5 performance on Idol. However, Kennedy never got to perform or release the song, as he abruptly departed Idol due to a controversial video that surfaced online.
“It’s where I took my first breath / And it’s where I’ll take my last / Raised On Dirt / Baptized in the rain / For what it’s worth,” Kennedy sings in the teaser clip.
Written by Kennedy and Mason Douglas Horn, the singer recorded the track with Brad Phillips at Studio101 and released it independently. The song truly allows Kennedy’s compelling songwriting skills to be put on full display while also showcasing his impeccable vocals.
“This song is about home,” Kennedy previously shared. “And I needed that when I was in California.”
Listen to the new single below.
The rising country singer was a Top 5 finalist on the most recent Season of American Idol. However, he abruptly left the show after a controversial video surfaced online, which was reportedly misinterpreted as an act of racism, however, that was not at all his intention. In fact, according to his mother Anita Guy, Kennedy, who was only 12-years-old at the time of filming the video, was actually imitating a character from a movie called The Strangers: Prey at Night, that he and his friend watched the evening that the video was filmed.
“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” Guy explained to the Herald-Journal. “This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night and they were imitating those characters. It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks.”
Guy later clarified, “Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”
While it was a very difficult decision for Kennedy, he knew leaving the show is what he needed to do. The issue however didn’t stop him from pursuing a career in country music. He previously admitted that he “wasn’t ready” for Idol, although he is very appreciative of the experience.
“There’s no way to emotionally prepare for Idol, because no one is ready for it, no matter how you prepare,” Kennedy previously admitted to the Spartanburg Herald Journal. “You think it’s all going to be fun, and a lot of it is, but it will slap you in the face really quickly. I wasn’t ready for it.”
Since exiting the show, Kennedy shared that he is continuing to work on new music, including songs about his experiences on Idol and more.
We recently sat down with the rising star to discuss life since Idol and all that he’s been up to since departing from the popular singing competition show, which you can read HERE.