He's known as one the most soulful acts to ever appear on "American Idol," and Bo Bice continues to showcase his talents to the masses. In Nashville recently for the "Autism Speaks" benefit at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Café, Bice told Billboard the cause was one very close to his heart.
"We're all here to support Autism Speaks, which helps not only to reinforce to people what autism is," he said. "Personally, I have a family member who has Asperger's, which is a mild form of Autism. So, in the past decade, seeing how the transformation of someone with Asperger's can be really draws on my heartstrings."
Also close to his heart is one of the places he calls home -- Nashville. He has long been a fan of the creative community here. "They call it Music City for a reason," he says. 'Nashville is known for more than country music. Throughout the years, I think that shines through so much more with bands like Kings Of Leon, as well as the different hip-hop artists that have come here to start making music. So, to be in the middle of that growth on a yearly basis helps you keep your chops up, and ahead of the curve. It's an important part of my music, but also my life. My wife and kids have been here. Lately, we've been splitting our time between here and Atlanta. My family is from there, and we found a little spot on the lake near them, so I do my music here, and my business. Then I go live on the lake and fish in Georgia. I get the best of both worlds."
When asked about his current musical projects, Bice told Billboard "I'm still busy with music. I've been painting, and selling my art work. I think one of the coolest things is that I've been working on my ministry more, working on a Christian EP that I'm about to put out on my record label."
Bice admitted that he had to get his priorities in line. "I've been sober since October of last year. I took a retreat and got my head together. I quit drinking so much because it kind of got the best of me. Since then, I've really been focused on family, my ministry, and what the Lord has for me next."
He says some have been surprised about the his musical direction. He says it's nothing new. "People will say 'So, you're going to do some Christian work, huh?" and I say, 'I've been doing Christian work since 'Idol.' If you look at the stuff I was doing right after, on 'Real Thing,' one of the songs I did was called 'Valley Of Angels.' - a very Spiritual based song. On my follow-up CD 'See The Light,' the single was 'Witness,' which was very Spiritual based music. This is just another dimension into that. I'm really trying to bring that Black Crowes / Lenny Kravitz feel to Contemporary Christian, and I'm not trying to thump people with the Bible. I'm just to spread the word about what has helped me through life," he says.
Of course, we couldn't let Bo get away without asking him about the current season of 'Idol.' He said "I think it's like several years before. It's always entertaining at this juncture. Once it gets to that top 24, that's when it gets to the meat of the matter. I don't start making any calls until you get to the top ten. That's when you know who's going on tour anyway," he confessed, smiling.
Though it has been seven years since his run on the show, he admits that those nervous feelings come back to the surface when he watches the show now. 'I think I relive it every season. People know me from 'American Idol,' so I don't mind them asking about it. I'm proud of where I came from. I'm also very proud to know how these people feel. Carrie Underwood and I stood there, and we are in a very minute portion of people on earth who knows how it feels to be standing there looking at each other, waiting for somebody to call your name. I remember that intense butterfly kind of feeling. I'm grateful for what 'Idol' gave me when I was on the show, and I'm also continually grateful for each year -- them letting me grow my fan base the way I have. I couldn't have done it without them."