Life continues to take dramatic turns for 2010 Norristown High School grad and 2018 “American Idol” standout Dennis Lorenzo.
Days after being eliminated at “Idol”’s top-10 round, Lorenzo, 27, got the news that his brother had died after being shot 13 times while in Philadelphia visiting their grandmother. The tragedy occurred as Lorenzo had been working on this first full-length album, on the heels of gaining hundreds of fans around the globe from his performances on the singing TV show with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan.
He released a heartfelt and soulful five-song EP, “Dennis Lorenzo Unplugged,” back in November.
In a phone interview from Los Angeles, where Lorenzo has called home the last two years, he said that the death of this brother had him “looking at life a little differently.”
“It’s not like we were close ... At the same time, that’s another part of me that’s gone,” he said.
Viewers of the ABC reboot of “American Idol” learned from the singer and guitarist’s audition that he was 5 years old when his father was murdered. They also learned about his 19-month-old daughter, Aliyah, and 7-year-old daughter, Taten. They also found out that he was homeless when he first moved to Los Angeles. It was only when he got a job at a restaurant in North Hollywood that his life finally began turning around.
After high school Lorenzo got a job with Apple, but when an opportunity came his way to pursue his dreams of making music, he joined a few of his friends in moving to Atlanta. Unfortunately Atlanta didn’t pan out because of “a lot of broken promises ... That’s what this industry is about,” he said.
On the other hand, “American Idol” put him in touch with “beautiful people and real stand up people.” One highlight was dueting with Allen Stone on his song “Unaware.”
“Everyone (the contestants) sings together. It’s like one big singing family,” he said, adding that as the second-oldest contestant this season, he felt like a big brother to most of the contestants. “That experience ... it gave me more fuel. It’s not the peak of my success. It really shows me that ... if you work hard at something ... you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to.”
To cope with the all-consuming schedule of “Idol,” Lorenzo said that he read a lot. His favorite reads are “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and books by Gary Zukav. “If we can learn to put our minds at rest and enjoy the moment, it would be a lot easier to deal with,” he commented.
Describing the songs from his forthcoming album, Lorenzo said: “You can expect me to touch base on where I came from, and some inspiration. There’s gonna be some pain, there’s gonna be some triumph.”