‘Idol’ Finalist Colin Stough Leans On His Faith Through A Breakup In Debut Single, ‘I Still Talk To Jesus’

Stough says the overarching message of the song is simply, “don’t give up.”

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

May 19, 2023

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Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

Colin Stough grapples with a breakup in his debut single, “I Still Talk To Jesus,” released on Friday (May 19). 

Co-written by Francisco Martin and Hank Compton, “I Still Talk To Jesus” finds the American Idol finalist leaning on his faith in the midst of a breakup. As he faces the intense loneliness in the aftermath of a love gone wrong, Stough turns to his relationship with Jesus to help him navigate this difficult time in his life. 

A Powerful Song

Colin Stough; ABC/Eric McCandless
Colin Stough; ABC/Eric McCandless

“I still believe in the things that I make in my head / I still believe every word that you said / I know I’m better off without you / But I hate knowin’ it’s the same for you / I tell myself that I still need it / I just want something to believe in / I still talk to Jesus,” Stough sings on the tune’s chorus.

Listen

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The tune, which released on Friday (May 19), was produced by DeStefano at The Sound Factory. 

“Being able to record my own song. Man, it makes me feel really grateful. It’s definitely a phase in life I never thought I’d be able to see or be able to get to and now we’re here,” Stough shared.

Stough, who was previously dubbed “the Brad Pitt of country music” by Katy Perry, opened up about the song in a video on social media. 

Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

“Don’t Give Up”

“It really means to me about just finding that ear that’ll listen. Sometimes, whether it’s a ear you can see or is one you can not can always talk to Jesus, and it really hits me deep down in the heart,” he explained. 

Stough says the overarching message of the song is simply, “don’t give up.” 

“Especially in this generation, in this world, it’s really, really hard to keep going and still be able to find people that you can’t talk to. And it’s just a reminder that you always have that one source that’s always easy,” he acknowledged. “I want my listeners, whenever they listen to this song, I want ’em to feel that they’re not alone. That there are more people in the world out there that feel the same way you do, if not in the exact same way you do, or even worse than you do.” 

The single comes just days after Colin Stough earned a spot in the Top 3 on American Idol alongside Iam Tongi and Megan Danielle.

“WOW. Tonight was truly a magical experience on #DisneyNight. I made it to the #TOP3 of @AmericanIdol and I’m headed to the finale! Thank you so much for your support and votes!” Stough shared after earning a spot in the Idol finale.

Colin Stough, a aspiring musician and horseback rider from Mississippi, has been a standout contestant on American Idol since he auditioned on for the show with Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” 

At the time of his audition, Stough admitted, “this competition man, it could change my life.”

Re-Live His Audition

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The Idol judges and America immediately fell in love with Stough’s impressive country vocals after hearing him sing “Simple Man.” 

“Colin, you’ve got the magic in you… 100% and you got the stardust,” Katy Perry gushed, while Luke Bryan admitted, “that’s what American Idol is about, right there! I love it!” 

Bryan later added, “[Colin is] exactly what we hope and dream for at American Idol.”

Colin Stough; Photo by ABC, American Idol
Colin Stough; Photo by ABC, American Idol

After his audition, Colin Stough went on to sing songs such as “Cold” by Chris Stapleton, “Midnight Train To Memphis” by The SteelDrivers, “Pretty Heart” by Parker McCollum, “Dancing On My Own” by Robyn, “Midnight Rider” by The Allman Brothers, “It’s Been While” by Staind, “Hand In My Pocket” by Alanis Morissette and more.

Most recently, Colin Stough took to the American Idol stage during Disney night to cover Sheryl Crow’s “Real Gone” from the Cars’ soundtrack, a performance that served as a tribute to his mom, Nara, in honor of Mother’s Day. 

Stand-Out Performances

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“So for this round I’m actually singing ‘Real Gone’ by Sheryl Crow and it’s actually in my favorite movie, Cars. Growing up I just always watched Cars and I mean, I still do. I probably watched the movie twice a month,” he revealed at the time. “I connect to the lyrics of the song. There’s one line ‘mama taught me wrong from right’ that’s a standout line to me.”

“My relationship with my mom means everything. It means even more that she got to come out to Disneyland with me and enjoy this,” he added.

He also performed “Nobody Knows” from the Disney film, Pete’s Dragon.

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Both of his performances earned praise from the Idol judges, who also offered the singer a standing ovation.

“We’ve been wanting you to get real comfortable all year and I didn’t realize that a Cars’ song was going to get you that pumped. That’s the most you really let loose, had fun… great song choice,” Luke Bryan said. 

Confidence

Lionel Richie complimented his newfound confidence, “I mean it when I say this, the comfort zone was perfect, your attitude and more importantly I think your confidence… your confidence was sitting right out here so we could all see it.”

Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Colin Stough; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

Katy Perry told Colin Stough she thought he “sounded great” and gushed over his showmanship.

“Colin, you came out looking like an electric guitar and you started behind the microphone stand and I was like ‘please God, just let him get out of that’ and you did. You did, you took that risk. You finally did exactly what we’ve been wanting and it looked so good on you.”

Colin Stough, Megan Danielle, Iam Tongi; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Colin Stough, Megan Danielle, Iam Tongi; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

Finale

Iam Tongi, Megan Danielle and Colin Stough will face off for the title of American Idol champion during the three-hour season finale of American Idol on Sunday, May 21 at 8 pm ET.

Live from Hollywood, the finale will feature performances by the judges, Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie, as well as guest performers Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, Ellie Goulding, James Blunt, Jazmine Sullivan, Jelly Roll, Keith Urban (who is also mentoring Top 3), Kevin Cronin from REO Speedwagon, Kylie Minogue, Lainey Wilson, Lauren Daigle, Pitbull, and TLC.

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.