Talent Recap

How ‘American Idol’ Helped Chayce Beckham Turn His Life Around

Instagram/ Eric McCandless ABC

Reading Time: 2 minutes

American Idol winner Chayce Beckham has been open about the struggles he was facing before he auditioned for the show. Those experiences inspired his original song “23,” which he recorded for the show.

That song has now become a hit on the iTunes charts. Beckham has shared how a car crash last year pushed him to turn his life around. Now he says his time on the show helped him through it.

‘American Idol’ Winner Chayce Beckham Struggled with Alcohol

In his song “23,” Beckham sings, “Well, I went to California and I had me a band / And we played in all the bars in all the southern lands / We played all night, and we drank for free / All of my boys and me.” After this he starts the chorus by singing, “Now I’m 23, and there ain’t nobody who can drink likе me.”

The band Beckham sings about is the Sinking Sailors. They played reggae music and released two EPs in 2017 and 2018. Beckham reveals in a new interview with American Songwriter that his time in the band sent him down “that rock star hole.” 

@thesinkingsailors / Instagram Chayce Beckham performing with the Sinking Sailors. (@thesinkingsailors / Instagram)

Last year, Beckham drove his truck while intoxicated and was involved in a car crash. Two weeks later, he auditioned for American Idol. Beckham told American Songwriter that it was “humbling” to be judged by the show’s panel. He added, “I’m surprised I made it through in the shape that I was in.”

“On the show, I learned how to be myself without all those substances,” the 24-year-old explained. “I learned how to address my nerves without those things, and found the same person I was without those crutches or vices by confronting all of those things head-on.”



Beckham Wrote ’23’ When He Was Still Struggling

When the Top 4 performers on American Idol were tasked with recording an original song, Beckham chose his own song “23.” He wrote the song a year before Idol, inspired by Cody Jinks’ song “I’m Not the Devil.”

“I wrote that song before the car crash; before alcohol really did almost destroy my life,” Beckham told American Songwriter, adding, “I was hurting so badly, and I wanted to do anything I could to help others who were hurting like me.”

Beckham said he’s “grateful for everything that happened.” He explained that he “can’t hide any of this stuff from anybody who’s wanting to follow me and support me.”

His choice to be open about his experiences turned out to be a good one. Not only did he win Season 19, but “23” surpassed Idol judge Luke Bryan on the iTunes Top 100 Songs chart.

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