BRISTOL - American Idol contestant Ethan Payne is teaming up with local singer Joe Archambeault of “Celebrating Queen” for a show Aug. 25 at Cadillac Ranch, and to speak about the health benefits of singing at local schools this year.
“I just thought that this was something that would be local - now it is turning into something bigger,” Payne said.
Payne, 16, of Macon, Georgia, was 13 years old when he appeared on American Idol as a country singer. Viewers learned that he had cystic fibrosis, a progressive disease that causes persistent lung infections. When asked by Idol judge and Pop Star Katy Perry how cystic fibrosis affects his day to day life, Payne answered, “It really affects my lungs and my breathing, there is no cure for it, but singing is definitely my cure for it.”
Payne has honed his vocal talents and, when he met country music star Luke Bryan at a concert through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Bryan asked him to play with him. He played “Do I” before a crowd of 50,000 people and was given a signed Gibson guitar by Bryan after his performance.
Today, Archambeault says that Payne has approximately 7 million views across social media platforms. This past May, he was seen by Gary Everett, a lifelong friend of Archambeault, who shared a video of Payne’s American Idol performance with him. Hearing Payne proclaim that singing was his cure, Archambeault decided to reach out to him through his nonprofit 501(c)3 organization “Everybody Sings.”
“I thought – this kid is awesome and brave; he would be perfect for our program,” said Archambeault. “‘Everybody Sings’ received its approval as a nonprofit in 2014. We go into schools and students take a period off to attend a multimedia presentation where they learn about the health benefits of singing – like how it helps with depression and anxiety. After Gabby Giffords was shot in 2011 she used singing to learn how to speak again. I want to make this nonprofit my legacy.”
Archambeault reached out to Payne’s mother, Lisa, and, after he was vetted, he spoke with Payne about his idea. Payne agreed to visit area schools, which Archambeault said would likely begin in December, and also to perform with him.
“He told me that he has learned and will record his own version of Crazy Little Thing Called Love and that he will make it his own,” said Archambeault. “I’m in the process of booking local high schools and I’m looking forward to our first performance together at Cadillac Ranch. I hope to do 100 by the year’s end.”
Payne said that he wants to tell students that he visits to “never doubt yourself.”
“I live with a disease and I could live my life sad with my head down, but I use music to bring myself up,” he said. “I’m going to tell them that if there is something they want to do they need to live that dream.”
For Archambeault, this will also be a special show because it is the first show that he is doing after recovering and undergoing surgery following an accident in Florida last October.
“I was T-boned by an SUV in the middle of an intersection – I have to visit doctors three times a week,” he said.
Archambeault said that he is eager to take the stage again. Payne said that he is also looking forward to the show. He said that he will be playing a mix of covers and original music.
For more information on Payne’s music, visit ethanpayneentertainment.com or visit instagram.com/ethanpaynemusic.
The show will be held on Aug. 25 at 8 p.m. at Cadillac Ranch at 45 Jude Lane, Southington. Admission will be $20.