Cuthbert boy sings with American Idol star

August 6, 2006

Cuthbert -- A young Cuthbert boy takes his singing to the next level, performing on stage with American Idol star Ruben Studdard. Thirteen-year-old Rod Fillingame recently returned home from a week-long music camp sponsored by the Idol star.

The small-town boy has a lot of drive to make it as a singer one day.

He's young, driven, and full of passion. Thirteen-year-old Rod Fillingame says he was born to be a singer.

"I really do love it because it gives me the opportunity to be free and be myself," said Rod Fillingame.

He perfects his craft by spending hours with music teacher Lavern Chaffin. All the hard work recently paid off.

"I did something for the judges to be able to like me, and to like my voice and to see how good my voice is," said Fillingame.

He was just one of a hundred young people to attend the very first American Idol Ruben Studdard Music Camp. For a week he learned from professionals what it takes to make it in the music world.

Now back home, the aspiring singer says it was great performing on stage with a star like Ruben, and he can't wait to have a star of his own one day.

"Coming like a small town like Cuthbert and being big like that, that's my ultimate goal," said Fillingame.

Fillingame says he'll have a career singing one day with lots of hard work and his family's support.

 "I just thank God for the gift of my son, and I wish him the very best of luck throughout his life," said mother Toyota Johnson.

Fillingame was the only young person from Georgia to audition and be selected for the summer camp.

Studdard works to advance music education for young people in Alabama. There are plans for the music career camp to take place again in Dothan next year.