released two independent albums that introduced his mix of husky vocals and acoustic singer/songwriter fare. Working under the tutelage of
made his solo debut with the release of 2007's So I'm Told. Slumberland followed several years later. Meanwhile, he worked in a paint store to make ends meet.
’s career received a big boost in 2010, when he began competing in American Idol
at the age of 23. In a competition filled with guitar-playing vocalists, DeWyze
managed to stand out from the pack with his smart song choices, eventually beating second-place rival Crystal Bowersox
and taking home the Idol
crown on May 26, 2010. His debut single, a cover of U2's "Beautiful Day," was released in conjunction with his win, and a full-length album, Live It Up, arrived later that year.
Live It Up debuted on the Billboard
charts at 19 and failed to gain much traction despite DeWyze
supporting it with a headlining tour. In October, 2011 RCA decided not to exercise their option to DeWyze
's recording contract. As the singer/songwriter worked on new material, a collection of old recordings called What Once Was was released in 2012; it contained outtakes from his first two independent albums, 2007's So I'm Told and 2010's Slumberland.