Macarthur residents recently got a treat when former American Idol contestant Deandre Brackensick dropped by for a visit.
The singer, currently based in Hawaii where he is studying at university, came to Campbelltown at the request of the South West Multicultural and Community Centre in Minto.
‘‘We [at the centre] met Deandre in Hawaii last year and organised a partnership to bring him across,’’ said Mal Fruean, coordinator at the centre.
Mr Brackensick, 20, competed in the eleventh season of American Idol in 2012 which was won by Phillip Phillips, and released his first single Her Crazy in 2013.
The American musician visited a number of local places on his week-long trip, including James Meehan High School and the Reiby Juvenile Justice Centre, to speak to the locals about his experiences.
He also presented workshops at the Campbelltown Arts Centre and performed a concert.
‘‘Deandre spoke of his journey going into American Idol, how his struggled at school and found himself in detention but loved music and the arts,’’ Ms Fruean said.
‘‘Without focusing on music through Idol, he doesn’t think he would have completed high school — music inspired him to keep going.’’
Ms Fruean explained that Mr Brackensick works three jobs to pay for his tuition in Hawaii, where he is learning to become a music teacher.
‘‘All the young people [he spoke to] were in awe of his story,’’ Ms Fruean said.
‘‘Everyone was saying ‘wow’ — we all had no idea about everything he did and does.’’
Ms Fruean said Mr Brackensick ‘‘absolutely loved’’ his time in the area and was ‘‘grateful’’ for the warm reception he received, and that he put Campbelltown on the map for his thousands of followers on social media.
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