SU Idol runner-up steals the show

With spiked hair and a hint of Mississippi mellow in his voice, grad student Brian Brister snagged second place and the crowd’s affection in the SU Idol competition.

Brian Brister hails from Mississippi where he attended William Carey University for mass communication and music. When he’s done at Newhouse, Brister says on his website he will pursue a career in fashion photography. The NewsHouse caught up with Brian to get an insider’s look at where he got those pipes.

So, how did you feel up there, on stage? Sweaty? Jubilant?

Brian: I was a bit nervous at first, but once I started singing, it all went away. I've been singing for years, and I love doing it. Singing takes me to this place that nothing else does. It's almost like nirvana. I can say or do or be whoever I want to be.

What were you thinking the second you finished your song?

I knew I had messed up twice, but I also knew they were minor things that others may not even notice. It was such an incredible experience to hit the last note, and everyone start clapping and cheering. At that moment, I questioned why I hadn't tried a career in performance. It was so much fun!

What was the best thing you took away from the competition?

Honestly, just the feeling of success and the love of my friends. I had so many people come support me that night and it meant the world to me at the end just to have all of them standing there experiencing that moment with me.

Describe the first time you ever sang in front of someone else.

I was 7. My dad and I were driving somewhere one day and he asked me if I wanted him to teach me a song that he used to sing when he was younger. I said yes. After he taught me, he asked me if I wanted to sing it in church with him, so I did the following Sunday. I honestly don't remember how I felt or even what I sounded like, but I remember that I loved the feeling. I haven't sang with my dad since then, and he always jokes that he taught me everything I know, yet for some reason I won't let him sing with me anymore. (It's because he isn't good).

Have you ever competed before?

I competed once my freshmen year of high school at the county fair. I didn't even place, and that made me super sad. At the age of 14, I didn't really know how to handle disappointment that well, so I just told everyone that I got fourth place and that's why it wasn't announced.

What advice would you give aspiring singers who are non-music majors?

Sing whenever you can as much as you can.

Do you have any trademarks?

Probably my hair. It's spiked pretty high most days. People always seem to notice my hair before anything else, and they always notice when it isn't fixed as well. I adore my hair.

What singers – pro or not – have influenced you the most?

Gary LeVox, the lead singer of Rascal Flatts, used to be my favorite male vocalist. I would listen to every song he performed over and over, perfecting his little tricks and moves so I could sound as much like him as possible . . . The second is actually one of my best friends, Jared Freeman. We've been friends since we were kids, and he has one of the most incredible voices I've ever heard.

What do you want to do with your voice in the future?

I pretty much only sing, aside from just playing around during the day, at church now. I love it. God gave me this talent for a reason, so I want to continue to use it to glorify him.

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