LISTEN: ‘American Idol’ Alum Caleb Kennedy Shares Sneak Peek of New Song, ‘Raised On Dirt’

Caleb Kennedy is gearing up to release his debut single, “Raised On Dirt,” and he recently gave fans a sneak…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

September 5, 2021


10:30 am

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Caleb Kennedy; Photo via Instagram

Caleb Kennedy is gearing up to release his debut single, “Raised On Dirt,” and he recently gave fans a sneak peek of the song on social media. 

The American Idol alum shared a snippet of the song with fans on Friday (Sept. 5), captioning the audio clip, “Y’all have been asking for a while now…so here ya go.” 

“It’s where I took my first breath / And it’s where I’ll take my last / Raised On Dirt / Baptized in the rain / For what it’s worth,” Kennedy sings in the teaser clip.


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A post shared by Caleb Kennedy (@calebkennedyofficial)

The track, produced by Brad Phillips at Studio 101 in South Carolina, was originally set to be released for Kennedy’s Top 5 performance on American Idol, however, the singer left the competition abruptly when a controversial video appeared online

The video showed him with someone who appeared to be wearing a hood similar to that of the Ku Klux Klan. After the video hit the internet, Kennedy shared an apology with fans. 

“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” he wrote. “There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way. I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse.”

The South Carolina native was reportedly 12 years old at the time the video was filmed. His mother, Anita Guy, spoke out about the video in an interview with a local newspaper. 

“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” she told the Herald-Journal.

According to Guy, the hood was inspired by the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night. 

“[The hood] had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks,” she added. “Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. He loves everyone and has friends of all races.”


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A post shared by Caleb Kennedy (@calebkennedyofficial)

Kennedy stepped away from the spotlight for quite some time and later admitted he wasn’t fully prepared for the Idol experience. 

“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 then, Kennedy has been playing shows in around his native South Carolina. 

“Raised On Dirt” is set to be released on September 11 at Noon EST. The song is available for pre-save / pre-order HERE. 

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Lauren Jo Black

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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 and her work being featured on 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.