5 things to know about the ‘American Idol’ prom king contestant from West Chester

West Chester native Eric Ellis has always wanted to unite people with his music skills, and now he will have a chance to showcase his ability as a contestant on this year’s edition of “American Idol,” which had its season premier over the weekend.

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Ellis, 23, graduated from Lakota West in 2013 and then attended Miami University. While there, he gained many social media followers and was contacted by interested music producers, so he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the music, according to his mother, Judy.

Ellis went through the audition process for the show when he was 16, and now he is back after producers reached out to him to return for another try.

His mother shared five key things about her son’s career and “Idol” situation.

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Where is he now?

“Eric lives in L.A. for part of the year and in West Chester for part of the year. He’s been actively pursuing a career as a singer/songwriter for a few years and has several friends and studios he works with in L.A. He loves his Midwestern and Cincinnati-area roots, though, so he enjoys coming home to think about and write music.”

For prior ‘Idol’ audition mom thought he was too young

“I’m very happy for Eric because he has known he wanted to have a career in music since he was very young. He auditioned for Idol when he was 16. He talked our family friend, Holly, into taking he and his sister to an audition in Pittsburgh because he needed an adult to accompany him and I thought he was too young to go through the process and get so much exposure.”

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He started singing in the crib and at church, and his musical style is R&B

“Eric has a smooth R&B voice with a folk/pop sound. He plays some acoustic guitar and likes diverse artists such as Ed Sheeran, Drake, Usher, and Jesus Culture. He started singing and vocalizing in the crib before he could say words. His first public singing was at church when he was almost 3 years old.”

Music is a family affair

Our entire family sings, and we have a small recording studio. His older sister, Jillian, is a gospel artist and has released a CD, "The Journey." His brothers, Evan and Ethan, record and sing locally. Eric is the second oldest child, with three siblings, Jillian, Evan, and Ethan, who are University of Cincinnati college students."

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Mom is proud of his “Idol” participation and musical career

“I’m thrilled for Eric because his music really has a message of unity and hope at a time when our world seems so divided. When Eric was at Lakota West High School, he played basketball and football, and was the Prom King. He’s always had diverse friends and has the hugest heart for people.

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