Caleb Kennedy Reveals How Laine Hardy Inadvertently Helped Him Through His ‘American Idol’ Journey

Before leaving season 19 of American Idol, contestant Caleb Kennedy found comfort in Idol alum, Laine Hardy’s song “Ground I…


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

August 5, 2021


10:03 am

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Caleb Kennedy, Laine Hardy; Photos Courtesy ABC

Before leaving season 19 of American Idol, contestant Caleb Kennedy found comfort in Idol alum, Laine Hardy’s song “Ground I Grew Up On.”

Two years prior, on season 17 of Idol, Hardy was crowned winner of the singing competition show. Since then, he has made quite an impact on the country music community, and during Kennedy’s season, the Louisiana singer/songwriter returned to the Idol to make a special appearance during the finale. 

At the time of his second, unprecedented audition for Idol, which ultimately led to his win, Hardy had just turned 18. He understood what it was like to go though the competition at a young age and because of this, he could probably relate to how 16-year-old Kennedy was feeling during his time away from home. 

Caleb Kennedy; Photo by ABC/Christopher Willard
Caleb Kennedy; Photo by ABC/Christopher Willard

Hailing from South Carolina, Kennedy admitted that hearing Hardy’s song helped him feel a little less homesick while he was on the show. 

“This song (“Ground I Grew Up On”) reminded me of home when I was in California,” Kennedy shared in an interview with GoUpstate. “That song helped me so much. I would just listen to it over and over.” 

The rising country singer previously admitted that he wasn’t quite ready for the pressure of Idol

“You think it’s all going to be fun, and a lot of it is, but it will slap you in the face really quickly. I wasn’t ready for it,” Kennedy recently shared with the Spartanburg Herald Journal , reflecting on the pressure he felt during his time on the show. 

“There’s no way to emotionally prepare for Idol,” he added. “Because no one is ready for it, no matter how you prepare. But I don’t regret it, and I did love it.”

Since Kennedy’s American Idol exit, he has continued to write music. “Ground I Grew Up On” not only brought him comfort in a difficult time, but also the chance to work with an experienced songwriter. 

“Turns out Brandon Kinney was one of the lead writers on that song. I was able to meet him and write a song with him when I went to Nashville,” he added. 

The four-hour writing session in Nashville between Kennedy and Kinney resulted in them writing the song, “That’s the One.”


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A post shared by Caleb Kennedy (@calebkennedyofficial)

Next month, Kennedy will get the chance to meet the artist that has had such an impact on his career so far as he and Laine Hardy are both among the talented artists that will take the stage at the Greenville Country Music Fest in Simpsonville, SC on September 11. The lineup also includes Sam Hunt, Riley Green and Jon Langston.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.