Ex-'Idol' Contender Chris Sligh to Release CD

One of this year's standout Christian "American Idol" contestants will soon be releasing his debut album under the same music label as award-winning artist Aaron Shust.

Chris Sligh, the curly haired vocalist who said he was "bringing chunky back," alongside his band Half Past Forever, will release their CD Take A Chance On Something Beautiful on July 10 under Brash Music. The band is using Sligh's recent popularity from "Idol" to help launch them into the Christian music scene.

"'Idol' presents an avenue for advertising in music that major labels simply cannot buy," expressed bandmate Cole Edmonson, bassist for Half Past Forever, in the Boston Herald. "It springboards you in a media whirlwind."

It is quite clear that the 28-year-old's exposure on the hit show has helped the band since he was booted from the program. Half Past Forever saw instant success after their initially self-released CD, which had been ranked in the 13,000s for the past year on Amazon.com, moved all the way up to No. 25 days after his "Idol" exit.

The band members have also been promoting their CD on a variety of online video sites, such as YouTube and Music Nation, by uploading their unofficial first single "Know," which has been receiving a large amount of hits.

The band - made up of Sligh (vocals), Adam Fisher (guitars), and Edmonson (bass) - will now have the chance to have their talent featured under a professional label. The first single under Brash Records will be "Hero," and has already been featured on several radio playlists across the country.

Take A Chance On Something Beautiful has 17 tracks on it, all written or co-written by Sligh, and features appearances from several other musicians.

The CD itself has been receiving positive reviews as well.

"Even though press coverage and celebrity can drive album sales far higher and longer than would otherwise be possible based on merit alone, if the quality doesn't measure up then eventually the fall from the top can be precipitous and often permanent, especially for a previously unknown band or artist riding that tide for the first time," reviewed music critic Sean Von Tagen.

"Thus, I am quite happy to report that Take A Chance On Something Beautiful delivers surprisingly high on substance, quality and radio-friendliness, and even more importantly it seems to promise a bright future for Chris and the band if they continue to work together."

To promote the CD and provide exposure to fans and the general population, the band will embark on heavy touring in September.

Since being booted off "Idol," Sligh – also a music minister in his hometown of Greenvilee, S.C. – has not regretted his removal. In fact, he told media afterwards that he had considered quitting the show since his vocal style resembled more of the rock genre than the "Idol" pop scene.

Since the South Carolina native made the final ten in the hit show, he will perform on the "America Idol" tour that will run throughout the summer.

"It comes down to this: I made the top 10; that was my goal," the singer explained to media after his exit from the contest. "I wanted to make the tour. I wanted to be able to do making music for my living, so I don't have to work at the marketing company that I was working at."

Sligh also has strong connections to the Gospel Music Association (GMA) and attended the 2003 GMA Music in the Rockies – a showcase event for aspiring, often unsigned, songwriters and artists in the Christian music industry. Sligh took home first place in the Pop-Adult Contemporary/Inspirational Song category during the conference that year for writing "Only You Remain."

Half Past Forever has a great possibility for success under Brash Records. The company already is the home to secular mega-stars Coldplay and Christian soloist Aaron Shust, who took home the second most Dove Awards ("Christian Grammys") in April including New Artist of the Year.