KIMBERLEY LOCKE Biography - Other artists & entretainers


Biography » other artists entretainers » kimberley locke


When Kimberley Locke finally said goodbye to American audiences on American Idol in summer 2003, being one of the last remaining three finalists with Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, her first thought was that she would be leaving her two close friends; her second was, “Oh no, I didn’t win"; and her third was, “If this was the Olympics, I’d still get a medal. It was a great race". That determination and mindset is what Kimberley Locke is all about. America has not heard the last from Kimberley, as Kimberley Locke will soon be coming back with her debut album on Curb Records, which will feature a mixture of pop, R&B, and ballads, sung with the power and intensity of this hot newcomer that America has already enthusiastically embraced. Kimberley Locke was born on January 3, 1978 to Christine and Donald Locke in Hartsville, Tennessee, a small town just outside of Nashville. When Kimberley Locke was 7, her parents split up and she moved with her mother to Gallatin, Tennessee, where she finished her primary years of schooling. Kimberley Locke’s love for music was innate, and her first memories of singing began when her mother bought her her first radio with a dual cassette recorder. “My mother bought me these books that were singalongs–the Getalong Gang, Rainbow Bright, the Care Bears…I used to listen to them over and over and memorize the songs. I always loved to sing. “In fact, I remember one time that my dad was driving me to my babysitter’s house, and I didn’t let him turn on the radio in the car, because I wanted to sing the whole way,” recalls Kimberley. ” I had seen The Wizard Of Oz the night before, and I was singing all of the songs from the movie…it’s pretty ironic that I ended up singing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ on Idol.” Growing up on Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Diana Ross, Kimberley Locke relied on her grandmother’s extensive vinyl collection to listen to her favorite singers. Music was a family affair, and Kimberly often sang vocals in her “first band"–with her cousins as backup musicians. But it wasn’t until the seventh grade that Kimberley formed an all-girl group with friends who called themselves Shadz Of U–a group that she still performs with to this day. “We used to sing a lot of a cappella materials–it was all about the harmonies,” says Kimberley Locke. “We didn’t have a leader of the group, and we did a lot of gospel. We performed at many churches in the area, and on some Sundays,” she adds, “we would perform at five different churches in one day.”


When Kimberley Locke joined the choir in high school, she was advanced enough to make it into the premier high school group as a young sophomore called the Performers, which featured a top 20 select group of male and female singers. “Once I got into the Performers, and developed my craft, I became a lot better singer. It was really my life outside of school.” Natural progression would lead one to believe that Kimberley would continue to pursue music at college when she began attending Belmont University in Nashville. “When I went to college, I didn’t sing at all. They had a school of music, but it was very competitive, and I didn’t want to compete in college.” Kimberley continues, “but it was really difficult for me, because I was majoring in business education, and I wasn’t singing–I felt like I had a void that needed to be filled.” That wasn’t until a good friend of Kimberley Locke’s turned her on to a local band, which led to her singing with various bands in Nashville. Soon Kimberley was performing with Black Widow, a group that sang top 40, and the Imperials, a group of retired professors–in which the drummer had once played with James Brown. “I learned the most from working with the Imperials. They pushed me that extra mile to where most of my jazziness comes from.” Kimberley Locke continued playing with local bands in Nashville for six years while going to school, but she began to feel like “this was work.” She decided that she did not want to be 40 and still singing in clubs. She stopped performing at age 22.


“I stopped cold turkey, finished school, and then enrolled in law school,” says Kimberley Locke. “I had my books and was slated to begin attending the Nashville School of Law last October, when I was urged by my sister-in-law and several friends to audition for American Idol. “I remember thinking yeah, yeah…I can do this.” But Kimberley was reluctant. At the advice of a friend telling her, “You’ll never know if you don’t try,” Kimberley decided to take the plunge. American Idol was holding auditions in Nashville, and soon Kimberley Locke found herself waiting for at least five hours a day over the course of five days in the waiting line. “I put in a total of 18 hours auditioning for the show. With more than 1,500 people in line, I was 1,580,” laughs Kimberley. “I was really wondering what I was doing there. I had a job, and here I am standing outside waiting to be heard. In my mind there was no rational answer to this, but I thought, ‘If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.’”


Kimberley Locke did it, all right. She kept making it through round after round of auditions, and finally came to Los Angeles to audition in Glendale’s Alex Theatre for the final round. Kimberley Locke now had to make a serious decision: begin law school or pursue American Idol further. The American Idol auditions were the week after she was to begin law school, and Kimberley decided to withdraw from law and take the risk. “It was a tough decision because in my mind, I had this road that I could see down. It was clear, there was no fog. And now I was going down this road that was very foggy, and I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face". Regardless, Kimberley Locke felt that she had to take the chance.