|Updated: 2/27/2012 10:49 am
||Published: 2/26/2012 5:35 pm
HARDY, AR - Hardy's Lauren Gray got eliminated from American Idol this week. Now, you get to meet the man who taught her everything she knows about singing- her father, Mike Gray.
"They call her the voice of Spring River around here. She sings like Aretha Franklin. She's got a very raspy voice," says Lauren's mother, Debbie.
Lauren Gray quickly became a Sharp County sensation gracing magazine covers as the "Voice of Spring River" and singing at her parents' dinner theater. Lauren's talent is home-grown. She's never taken a singing lesson and never joined choir in school. Lauren learned everything she knows about music from her dad.
"When she was born, first six, seven months of her life, she would lay her head right on my chest because I was afraid she's fall off her bed or get crib death or something. It scared me. She's a special person to me for more than one reason. Singing in the band has just made us really close," says Mike Gray.
The bond goes back to Lauren's childhood when Mike thought he'd lose his daughter forever.
"She's always running around playing, and I noticed I didn't hear her, and I turned and looked behind my chair and she was laying on the floor unconscious. She had swallowed this little game piece," he recalls.
Knowing he didn't have enough time to make it to the hospital, Mike had to act fast. He grabbed a knife, preparing to have a paramedic walk him through a tracheotomy over the phone, when he reached in with his hand and pulled the game piece out.
"With the help of God, I'm sure, I saved her life and every time I look at her, I see this, you know, it reminds me of it," says Mike.
Mike realizes Lauren could've lost her singing voice that day. It's a voice she first recorded in 2001 when she sang backup for her dad.
"I invited her to sing in the band. And, I'm glad I did. A lot of people come to see her play, you know, and sing," says Mike.
Lauren and Mike often sing at Creekside Loft. Lauren's parents started the weekly blues show at their dinner theater since their daughter was too young to sing in clubs when they moved to Hardy in 2007.
Lauren bought her first guitar after moving to Hardy. She paid seven-hundred dollars for it, but you can't put a price on the advice she still gets from her dad.
"She will call me on the phone 2, 3 o'clock in the morning, dad, I don't know if I sang this right. Can you help me? We'll sit there and I'll sing and show her her part," says Mike.
"My family has been incredibly supportive and loving, and they're amazing and they're a big part of why I'm doing what I'm doing," says Lauren.
"I don't think I could be a prouder father than I am, honestly. So proud of her," says Mike.
Lauren's parents tell FOX16 that she plans on recording a new album with her dad in the basement of their Hardy home, but they'll have to wait until Lauren is no longer under contract with American Idol.