Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Singer might be another 'Idol' star



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Well dang, it looks like Cincinnati has an American Idol lurking around out there.

Specifically, he's Kenny Mathis, a 25-year-old Forest Park resident who works for Cingular Wireless and studies real estate when he gets a free minute.

Mathis - Cincinnati got its first peek at him last week singing "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" and "My Girl" on Channel 19's morning news - is the oldest of three and a Winton Woods High grad who has been singing "since I was 11 or 12. It's just something I grew up with. I haven't done much in public, but a few of us did have a group a few years ago. We did a couple talent shows, but never really went anywhere."

Wellsir, he's going places now, but no one's sure where because his contract with the producers prohibits him from saying. This much we know: His Nashville audition airs at 8 p.m. today on Channel 19. If he does well there, he'll be on again at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday - Idol is bumped from its usual 8 p.m. slot for UC basketball - as one of the 32 finalists facing the dreaded Simon Cowell and fellow judges.

And then???? "Aw man, people keep asking me, and I'd tell if I could, but I just can't."

Fine. Let's try a few questions about, oh, most everything

else ...

My long-term goal is:

To get into a situation where I can help everyone else out. When my friends or family, especially my mom and brother and sister, need something, I can be there to help out. It's sounds funny, but I really am serious about that.

If someone had told me five years ago that American Idol would happen for me, I would have said:

Ain't no way.

One thing I'm learning from this experience:

Is how many really good singers there are out there without a recording contract. It amazes me when I hear someone on the radio and I think of all the people I've heard who are that good but don't have a record deal. I've also learned what it's like to have a camera in your face all the time.

Facing Caustic Simon for the first time will be like:

It's going to be a piece of cake

My friends are all saying:

That I'm going all the way and that they're all behind me. I'm not seeing any jealousy at all.

The best thing about this experience:

Is seeing how supportive everyone is - like my friends who went with me to Nashville that first time because they believed. They kept saying, "You can do it."

One thing I'd really like to tell Cincinnati:

Is that there is a lot of talent here and thanks for the support. I'm going to do my best to make this city proud.

Homeless squirrels: On a sad note - there's a whole flock of homeless squirrels running around UC's campus this week. That's because "Home Work," the huge sculpture right off Clifton Avenue near the main gate, has been partially dismantled.

Right, says Marianne Kunnen-Jones of UC's public information office. Turns out two of the sub-structures within the overall piece became unstable and were taken down. Public safety, you know, and never mind the resident squirrels.

The work, made largely of twigs, was designed by artist Patrick Dougherty and installed last April. Always intended as temporary, it was to be dismantled this spring.

Leaving the squirrels homeless.

E-mail jknippenberg@enquirer.com




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