The next ‘American Idol’? |

The next ‘American Idol’?

Amanda Holt Miller
Western Garfield County Staff
Post Independent/Kara K. PearsonAngela Lewis of Rifle is set to

RIFLE ” When Angela Lewis sings, she sings what she feels.

“People can tell the difference between someone who’s singing just to sing, and someone who’s singing because they can feel it,” Lewis said.

When she sang at a concert opening for the country duo Montgomery Gentry at the Antelope Valley County Fair in California last weekend, Lewis told the man who was setting up her music to play it loud.

“I told him, ‘if I can feel the beat, you’re going to get a much better show from me,'” Lewis said.

The 24-year-old Lewis puts her heart into her music and tries to connect the songs she sings to memories and people in her life. She thinks that’s what has helped her to have such success.

She appeared on “Star Search” in February and was invited to return to the show next year. The Antelope Valley County Fair also invited her back for a repeat performance next fall.

This Sunday, Lewis is hoping to be asked back for a second audition after she sings a cappella in front of three intimidating judges at the “American Idol” auditions.

Lewis is auditioning for the fifth season of the popular reality television show that seeks to make stars or fools of would-be pop singers. The show features three celebrity judges, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson and Simon Cowell, who is notoriously harsh on the hopeful young singers.

Lewis can sing anything she wants for the audition, but she’s not sure yet what she will choose.

“I’m really good at winging it,” Lewis said. “So I figure, I’ll wait until the last minute to decide and go for it.”

Lewis lives in Rifle with her husband, Leonard, and their 3-year-old daughter Alyssa. Alyssa takes after her mother. Lewis said she sets the coffee table in the center of the room and Alyssa makes her stage, standing on top of it. When Lewis starts the music, Alyssa ” a bubbly little blond girl with a big smile ” starts bobbing her head to the beat.

“I ask her, ‘are you ready?’ and she says, ‘I’m ready,'” Lewis explained. “She’s really into music.”

Lewis developed her own passion for music when she was a little girl. As a child, she sang into a hair brush in front of the bathroom mirror. When she was 6 years old, her mother signed a permission slip saying she could play a band instrument as long as she didn’t lose it.

“I came home, me ” this little 6-year-old ” dragging a cello,” Lewis said. “My mom made me take it back and said I should get a flute, something smaller.”

Lewis has played the flute for 15 years, the keyboard for two years and has dabbled in a number of other instruments. She’s never taken a voice lesson.

Lewis sings karaoke in bars and restaurants up and down the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys, winning competitions along the way.

“I don’t really get nervous anymore. Except for this. This makes me nervous,” Lewis said of the “American Idol” auditions. “But if I do make it, that’s a big success. This is what I want to do; I have to jump at this chance.”

Lewis has endured some hardships and she draws from those times to enhance her music. Her first-born child, Ryan, died about two years ago. Since then, she’s dedicated a lot of her music to him and has written songs in his memory. Lewis has also been separated from her biological father since her parents divorced when she was a young girl. Recent circumstances have brought her a little closer to him.

“I talked to him on the phone and I told him about American Idol,” Lewis said. “He said he only had two words for me ” ‘win it.'”

Lewis has reserved a room at the Executive Towers in Denver because it’s where all the celebrities stay when they go to Denver, she said. She can’t get in line for the audition before 6 a.m. or after 8 a.m. Tryouts go from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

“I’m really excited. I’m nervous, too,” Lewis said. “But I’m pretty good as far as handling criticism. I’ll just go in there and do my best. I’ll go in with confidence and be myself and not try to pretend to be something I’m not. If I make it, great; if I don’t make it, that’s OK.”

Contact Amanda Holt Miller at 625-3245 ext. 103

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