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You’re going to Hollywood …
Musical State Line native earns ‘Golden Ticket’ on popular TV talent search
By Annette Harvison
Diamond Walley may not be a name in which a lot of Greene County residents are familiar.
However, if the State Line native has his way, it could be a household name well outside the boundaries of his home community very soon.
Walley recently auditioned for the hit television show American Idol. That audition, in front of music legends Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, went so well Walley earned himself a coveted Golden Ticket to Los Angeles and the show’s infamous Hollywood Week.
Walley spoke to the Herald about his experience with the show and the journey to this point. Though it’s been a whirlwind journey, he said it has been an unforgettable and great time.
Walley changed his life by singing “You Are Always on My Mind” by Willie Nelson. He met new people, made new friends and saw new things. He got to meet Katy Perry! And of course, Luke Bryan, Lionel Richie and Ryan Seacrest, too. Walley saw the Hollywood sign and got to experience one of the largest cities in the country, along with the traffic congestion.
“We had to go about as far as the Herald office is from Ward’s,” Walley said. “That was how far the hotel was from the studio. It took us an hour to get there.”
Walley said he had just gotten over laryngitis when he got to Los Angeles. He said he is still anxious and nervous as he waits, but he has had a great support system. His mother has been his biggest fan and supporter, praying with him each step of the way.
“The best moment of it all,” Walley said, “was the look on my mama’s face when I came out with the Golden Ticket.”
Walley began this journey two years ago when the show had auditions in the region. His aunt helped him prepare for the opportunity and she was a big motivating factor in his quest to succeed. Walley said she passed away before the auditions and he had to put his dream on the backburner. When he received an email from the show’s producers saying they would be in the area again, he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try again.
Even with his busy schedule pursuing a music major at Alcorn State University, Walley accepted the challenge and began preparing for his time to shine in front of the judges. He has some encouraging professors that helped him with his song selection and rehearsing for his big moment. Walley said he plans on finishing his degree even if his plans for a music career takes off.
This audition was no less trying as Walley said a friend’s funeral was held on the same day. Having faced so many trials to reach this point, missing a second audition was not an option. He had the support of his family and friends, the support of his community and the support of his school, so he stood up and took a chance. The end result showed that no matter how small your beginnings may be, your future can be big.
“Don’t hold back. Just step out,” Walley said when asked what he would say to others about following their dreams. “One of my favorite quotes is ‘you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”