Pataskala teenager to release single after ‘American Idol’ experience

After an “American Idol” audition and years of singing lessons, Cali Morris is set to release her first single in hopes of breaking into the music industry.

Morris, a 16-year-old resident of Pataskala, Ohio, will perform her debut single “Pieces” at The Barn on York, 5103 York Road, on August 12.

Morris started singing in her childhood home when she was just three years old, she said. However, unlike most young girls who enjoy singing in their bedrooms, Morris was determined to make singing a career.

When Morris was in fifth grade, she performed a song for her mother in her bedroom – a moment that made singing less of a hobby and more of a career. Soon after, Morris was enrolled in voice lessons, piano lessons, and hooked up with a Los Angeles-based producer.

To focus more on his career, Morris decided to enroll in an online school through Watkins Memorial’s Southwest Licking Digital Academy online program.

“Over the years, I continued to sing. I was literally walking around and thinking, ‘I’ll be a singer one day,'” she said.

At age 15, Morris auditioned for the 20th season of “American Idol,” which aired on ABC in February.

Morris impressed all three judges – Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie – enough to receive a unanimous vote to be on the show. However, Morris tested positive for COVID-19 and was unable to complete any further rounds of the competition, ending her journey on the show.

“I feel like if I were to go back I would feel a lot more comfortable,” Morris said. “Since ‘American Idol’, I’ve been performing more in public. I’ve sung in restaurants or bars, so I feel a lot more comfortable and I feel like I’m coming out of my shell.

Morris was asked to appear on the next season of “American Idol” by her casting team, she said. However, she turned down the opportunity to work on her performing skills further, although she plans to audition in a few years.

Now 16, Morris is preparing to release her first single, which she spent about a month writing alongside her producer Colin Boyd. To record the song, Morris and his mother took Boyd to Pataskala for a five-day recording process.

“During the time I was going through a breakup and it’s really best to write a song sometimes when you’re going through things,” Morris said. “That’s the best part, when you can write a really good song and play if you’re going through something.”

His song “Pieces” will be available on all major streaming platforms on August 12.