Blake LewisView in iTunes
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Best known as the beatboxing contestant on season six of American Idol, Blake Lewis hails from Bothell, Washington. Lewis comes from a musical family -- his mother used to be in a rock band and continues to sing and play guitar -- and began singing himself at age five. He impressed Randy Jackson, Simon Cowell, and Paula Abdul at the Seattle auditions with his beatboxing and performance of Seal's "Crazy," and further wowed them at Hollywood week, where he performed with fellow contestants Rudy Cardenas and Chris Sligh. Performances of songs like Keane's "Somewhere Only We Know" and Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity" reflected his hip musical tastes; some of Lewis' other favorite artists include Björk, Imogen Heap, 311, and Gnarls Barkley. His distinctive style won him early fan support, including a voting bloc calling themselves "the Blaker Girls," and Lewis ultimately emerged as the season's runner-up. While completing the subsequent American Idol tour that summer, he spent most of his evenings focusing on his full-length studio debut, co-writing 12 of the album's 13 tracks and collaborating with such producers as OneRepublic's Ryan Tedder. Audio Day Dream dropped in December 2007, buoyed by the leadoff single "Break Anotha." Audio Day Dream failed to gain much of an audience and Lewis parted ways with Arista in the summer of 2008. Just over a year later, he reappeared on Tommy Boy Records with Heartbreak on Vinyl. The album peaked at 135 on the Billboard 200 and Lewis was left without a record contract for a couple years. He resurfaced in 2013 on Republic Records with Portrait of a Chameleon, a spring release preceded by the single "Your Touch," which was featured in commercials for Microsoft Internet Explorer 10. ~ Heather Phares