Tifton Gazette


June 28, 2014

Local musician to appear on 'Rising Star' Sunday night


First impressions really are lasting – just ask Tifton's Austin French, who will appear on ABC's new show, "Rising Star" Sunday night at 9 p.m.

French said in a telephone interview Friday that he had appeared on "The Voice" during season two, and one of the producers for "Rising" called him and asked him to audition in Atlanta for the new show. 

"It was completely random," he said. "I'm excited but a little nervous."

The 20-year-old is a worship pastor at Journey Church in Tifton, and an online student at Liberty University, studying Evangelism Ministry. A singer/songwriter, he plays guitar, drums, piano and bass. He's engaged, and comes from a musical family. His mom taught voice and piano, and French says he's been training his voice since he was just two years old. 

The premise of the show is that the audience has the final say in real time. During the performances, viewers can vote via an app, which can be downloaded at http://abc.go.com/shows/rising-star, in real time, to determine if the singer will advance in the competition. If the voting reaches a predetermined threshold, the performer moves on. The performer will be able to see how the voting is going during the performance, so the feedback is immediate.

The show is hosted by Josh Groban, and vocal experts on hand to give feedback include Brad Paisley, Kesha and Ludacris.

Whether he wins or loses, French has plans to continue to lead worship at Journey, as well as pursue a full-time music career.

"I want to maybe travel during the week and do shows, and spread the hope of Jesus," he said. 

He encourages Tifton residents to watch the show Sunday night and vote.

"And keep praying," he said. 

To contact editor Angye Morrison, call 382-4321.

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John Gamble (right) is joined by John Reid at the Tiftarea YMCA Saturday.

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