[INTERVIEW] Former American Idol Contestant Jorgie Talks Growing Up, Coming Out, + New Single "Heaven"

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Most of the world first met Jorgie during his American Idol Season 2 audition, when he stunned judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie with a stunning original composition and touched hearts across the country when he formally came out to his family and the rest of the world on national television.

Born into a musical family, Jorgie was raised in a small community in Israel and knew from the time he was three years old that he wanted to build a career in music. His father, a touring violinist, exposed him to a wide range of genres, instilling in him an appreciation for everything from classical to Middle Eastern to rock, to the catalogs of Prince and Michael Jackson. “I grew up singing around the house all the time and my dad would teach me new songs every day,” he told Musical Notes Global.

The 22-year-old singer and songwriter first came to the U.S. on an academic scholarship, living with a host family while attending high school in Montana. After graduating he returned to Israel for a year before landing in Los Angeles, where his creativity has now blossomed and he is savoring the freedom to become the person he’s always wanted to be. “When I was back home, I was different. I wasn’t out,” Jorgie explained. “I was doing music but I wasn’t true to myself, and then when I moved here to L.A. I met a lot of musicians, a lot of cool people and friends. I made my own circle of friends and I was more comfortable to express myself and to make music, and that’s how I met my band.”

America met Jorgie’s provacatively named band The Orgies during his Idol audition. The group helped their front man deliver a deeply personal and poetic original song, “Heaven,” to an audience that turned out to be ravenous for the emotion so eloquently conveyed through it.

Unfortunately Jorgie did not make it through the infamous Hollywood rounds, but as a result he was able to swiftly deliver his beloved song on digital platforms shortly after, much to the delight of his quickly growing fan base. As he mentioned during his audition, “Heaven” found its roots in unrequited love, and it quickly generated buzz online, with the audition clip uploaded to American Idol’s YouTube channel generating more than 1 million views to date.

Talking a little about the story behind the song and his journey, he told Musical Notes Global:

“My family is very loving, they’re very accepting, but I grew up in a very conservative place. We’d go to church every Sunday, my uncle is a Catholic priest. It’s a big city, but we lived in a small Christian community, and everyone knows everyone there. People gossip. Especially when I went on American Idol, it was a big deal. It’s a small community. People were talking: you wore a crop top, you did this, he’s transitioning, he’s a drag queen…And it’s really hard for my family. It’s hard to be yourself in a small town. You get targeted, you’re the talk of the day. But when I came to L.A., I was like man, I can do so many different things and no one cares. No one really cares what you’re doing. As long as you’re creative, as long as you’re a nice person, all that doesn’t matter. You can do whatever you want as long as you’re not hurting other people…I was like a flower that no one watered back home and when I came here it was just raining all the time and I got to bloom.”

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“Heaven” has inspired countless people around the globe to share their own struggles with their identity with Jorgie via social networks. “I got a lot of comments from people that found the song on the YouTube channel and on my Instagram sharing their coming out stories,” Jorgie said. “This one transgender—it was a really touching message—she wrote publicly that she grew up in a conservative community too and she was struggling as well, and that song helped her to know that other people are going through the same thing and are using music as an outlet. This song means so much to me because a lot of people can relate to it. It’s not just a love song.”

It’s true, “Heaven” is not just a love song. It’s more than that. It’s a powerful anthem to living your truth, owning your feelings, and having the courage to be yourself—and love yourself—in a world that tries to tell you otherwise.

Heartwarmingly, it appears that the love and recognition Jorgie is receiving from his fans has touched him just as deeply—or even moreso—as he has touched them with his story and song. “I’m just doing my thing. I struggle just like anyone else in their early 20s living in a big city,” he said. “It’s really hard, but I’ve used my music to help me and it makes me really happy to see my fans react to my music and appreciating what I do because at the end of the day if I don’t have that it just makes it even harder…What I really like about my fans is that they were quoting the song, they were interested in the story behind the song, not just ‘oh his voice is really nice’ or ‘I like his style.’ They were more deep. I feel like fans were looking deeply, more connected to their emotions, and that was what I was hoping to get…I was very vulnerable. I exposed myself on national TV, I came out. But the fans, it’s really rewarding to hear their stories, and to hear that we’re allies.”

Jorgie is currently working on recording new music and is continuing to perform around Los Angeles. Watch the official music video for “Heaven” below or stream it now on Spotify.

For all of Jorgie’s latest news and updates, follow him on social media:

Instagram: @jorgie_music

Twitter: @jorgie_music

YouTube: Jorgie