Georgia, Idaho and now, Hollywood: Local woman discusses her American Idol experience


Julia Fechter

Photo courtesy of ABC

She auditioned for American Idol. She received a golden ticket to advance to the singing competition’s Hollywood Week, and she is also a Statesboro native.

Twenty-five-year-old Gazzie White will be one of the singers featured on the Monday, March 25 episode of “American Idol,” which airs from 8 to 10 p.m. on ABC.

Statesboro High School, White’s alma mater, will be hosting a watch party for the episode from 7:30 to 10 p.m. in the high school’s auditorium Monday night.

White took a break from taking classes at Georgia Southern University in order to focus on music, including her “American Idol” aspirations.

She described how her passions to pursue music go back to her childhood.

Desire and musical background

“For the longest, as a little child, I always dreamed of going on American Idol,” White said.

She described how at the church her family used to attend, her mother, who was the choir director, would often encourage her to join the church’s youth-adult choir. She noted that she was the only child in the choir because she had a high soprano voice.

“So, my family, we’re very music-oriented,” White said. “Every time we get together, we’re singing. We’re dancing, just doing everything.”

She also mentioned that she and her family moved to Statesboro from the adjacent Screven County when she was in third grade.  

From that time, White became involved in chorus while attending school, and she stayed involved through her senior year at Statesboro High School.

“For one show with the [high school] band, we did an Aretha Franklin-kind of tribute,” White said. “With the band, I would be their prop, and I would sing as they went out during halftime, and that was always fun.”

Once in college, White continued singing by participating in singing competitions and local ministries like Chi Alpha.

And, as she took time off from university classes, White started performing more with her husband, Deven White, as part of their duo, called Unique Worship. White described their duo as playing mostly soul and gospel music, with an openness and reach toward more genres.

From Atlanta to Idaho

White participated in the pre-auditions for “American Idol” in Atlanta during September of 2018.

“They [the judges there] said, ‘Hey, we want to send you to Idaho, the audition where you can possibly get a golden ticket,’” White said.

The Idaho auditions were that December, so when the time came, off White went to Idaho.  When she arrived, White said she did not necessarily feel a competitive spirit among the participants.

“It’s ‘Oh wow, you are really desiring the same thing I desire,’” White said. “‘I wish you the best of luck. If it’s not me, I hope it’s you.’ It turned into a friendly, encouraging place.”

During the golden ticket audition

White further elaborated on her time at the Idaho audition by calling it both fun and surreal.

“You see all of these judges on T.V. all of the time, so you finally have the chance to meet them in person,” she said.

White described how, though Lionel Richie, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan were all celebrity judges, none of them gave off presumptuous or condescending vibes.

“Of course they kept their standard,” White said, “but they did make you feel welcome, like ‘Hey, right now, this is not a celebrity [thing]. It’s just me and you. Sing for me. What do you have?’”

The overall impression White took away from the audition was one of satisfaction.

“I don’t regret anything, because I definitely told myself, ‘When you go in here, you’re going to give everything you have,’” she said. “And I did give everything I had, and I pretty much laid it at their [the judges’] feet.”

White recalled how Katy Perry suggested that White develop who she is as an artist more. White agreed with that sentiment.

“I just sing, and I put all of my feeling into my singing and not necessarily my body movements, or eye contact,” White said. “Now, every time I sing, after hearing her say that, I try to incorporate all of those [things] into one performance.”


Though White has made it to Hollywood Week for “American Idol,” she is continuing to make music with her husband through Unique Worship.

“We have a lot of songs we want to put out, my husband and I,” White said. “We are travelling, having events like outside of Statesboro and also within Statesboro.”

They are also planning to make an EP project. In the midst of these several efforts, White is still working her full-time job.

“I absolutely love my nine-to-five, but I want to be able to smoothly transition into doing music full-time,” White said, “because that’s my heart’s desire, and that’s his [her husband’s] heart’s desire.”

No matter the reason for the music, White just wants to be herself while singing, which for her means loving God, giving him everything she has, and encouraging and uplifting people through her music.

“That’s what I do,” she said. “I don’t sing just because I sound good, but I really want to send a message out. Music helps me out so much, so if it helps me out, I’m sure it does the same for others, and I want to be able to be a venue and a path and a light to others through music.”