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James Durbin (singer)

James William Durbin[1] (born January 6, 1989) is an American singer and guitarist from Santa Cruz, California,[2] who finished in fourth place on the tenth season of American Idol. Durbin is currently the lead singer for the heavy metal band Quiet Riot.

James Durbin
140322-F-VU439-149 James Durbin at Transit Center at Manas 2014.jpg
James Durbin performs at Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, March 2014
Background information
Birth nameJames William Durbin
Born (1989-01-06) January 6, 1989 (age 29)
OriginSanta Cruz, California, U.S.
GenresRock, hard rock, glam metal, pop rock
Occupation(s)Singer, Guitarist, Songwriter
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Years active2006–present
LabelsWild Vine Records (Independent)


Early lifeEdit

Durbin was born in 1989 to Judy Settle-Durbin & Willy Durbin. He was diagnosed with Tourette syndrome and Asperger syndrome. He attended Musicschool, a music school run by Dale Ockerman in Santa Cruz, CA.

In 2006, he performed in a Santa Cruz children's theater group called Kids on Broadway and played the lead role in Grease and Beauty and the Beast. In 2007, he played the leading roles of Tony in West Side Story and Oscar in Sweet Charity—both productions produced by All About Theatre, a Santa Cruz community theatre company.[3] In 2008, Durbin appeared in Alan Parsons' "Art & Science of Sound Recording" educational video series, recording a version of Parsons' "We Play The Game" at Ex'pression College for Digital Arts.[4]

He was the lead singer in a band called Hollywood Scars,[5] where he went by the stage name of Jimmy Levox. Influenced by bands such as Quiet Riot, Skid Row, Judas Priest, Queen, Guns N' Roses, Iron Maiden and Mötley Crüe,[6] Hollywood Scars drew their inspiration from the glitz, glam, and decadence of Hollywood's Sunset Strip in the 1980s. The band released a single entitled "Under The Cherry Tree". He was also in a band called Whatever Fits that released 2 EPs.


American IdolEdit


Durbin had previously auditioned for American Idol in Season 8, but was not chosen.[2]

Durbin was eliminated in the Top 4 on season 10, but despite his elimination, he received a homecoming previously reserved for Top 3 contestants,[7] the first time such an exception on the homecoming policy was made by the show.[8] Footage of his homecoming, dubbed the "Durbin Day",[9] was shown briefly on the Top 3 performance show. "Durbin Day" set the record for "Largest Gathering For A Public Event In The History Of Santa Cruz, CA".

He appeared on the American Idol Season 10 finale, singing "Livin' After Midnight" and "Breaking the Law" alongside British heavy metal band Judas Priest.[10]

Performances and resultsEdit

Episode Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Audition Auditioner's Choice "You Shook Me" Muddy Waters N/A Advanced
"Dream On" Aerosmith
Hollywood Round, Part 1 First Solo "Oh! Darling" The Beatles N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 2 Group Performance "Somebody to Love" Queen N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 3 Second Solo "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" Aerosmith N/A Advanced
Las Vegas Round Songs of The Beatles
Group Performance
"Get Back" The Beatles N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round Final Final Solo "A Change Is Gonna Come" Sam Cooke N/A Advanced
Top 24 (12 Men) Personal Choice "You've Got Another Thing Comin'" Judas Priest 6 Advanced
Top 13 Your Personal Idol "Maybe I'm Amazed" Paul McCartney 6 Safe
Top 12 Year You Were Born "I'll Be There for You" Bon Jovi 4 Safe
Top 11 Motown "Living for the City" Stevie Wonder 11 Safe
Top 111 Elton John "Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting" Elton John 7 Safe
Top 9 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" The Beatles 5 Safe
Top 8 Songs from the Movies "Heavy Metal" – Heavy Metal Sammy Hagar 8 Safe
Top 7 Songs from the 21st Century "Uprising" Muse 2 Safe
Top 6 Carole King Solo "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" The Shirelles 5 Safe
Duet "I'm into Something Good" with Jacob Lusk Earl-Jean 9
Top 5 Songs from Now and Then "Closer to the Edge" Thirty Seconds to Mars 1 Safe
"Without You" Badfinger 6
Top 4 Songs That Inspire "Don't Stop Believin'" Journey 1 Eliminated
Leiber & Stoller Songbook "Love Potion No. 9" The Clovers 8
  • ^Note 1 Due to the judges using their one save to save Casey Abrams, the Top 11 remained intact for another week, when two contestants were eliminated.


After his elimination Durbin appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,[11]Live with Regis and Kelly,[12] Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,[13] and The Ellen DeGeneres Show.[14] Along with the rest of the Top 11 finalists, he participated in the American Idol Tour that season.

He appeared in a documentary, Different Is The New Normal, that focused on a teen's effort to overcome Tourette syndrome.[15]

Durbin was managed by 19 Entertainment, alongside fellow contestants Casey Abrams and Haley Reinhart.[16] It was announced that he was signed to Wind-up Records on September 5, 2011.[17]

On May 28, 2011, Durbin and the other American Idol top 4 performed at the opening of the new Microsoft Store at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, Georgia.

Durbin, along with fellow contestants Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, and Haley Reinhart, released a Walmart Exclusive EP with his highlights from American Idol. The tracks feature "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow", "Uprising" and a previously unreleased recording of "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)".

Memories of a Beautiful Disaster (2011-2012)Edit

Durbin started working on his debut album after appearing on American Idol, and wrote with a number of people, such as James Michael and Marti Frederiksen,[18] as well as his favorite band Hardcore Superstar.[19] The album was produced by Howard Benson.[20] He recorded a track entitled "Stand Up" for the album Official Gameday Music of the NFL, Volume 2 which was released for sale on September 27, 2011.[21] The song was also included in his album.

On November 21, 2011, Durbin released the album, titled Memories of a Beautiful Disaster. The album debuted at number 36 on the Billboard 200, at number eight on the Billboard Rock Chart, number 25 on the Digital Album Chart,[22] and sold 28,000 the first week.[23] Two singles were released to radio simultaneously—"Love Me Bad" was released to Top 40 radio stations, while "Stand Up" was released to rock radio.[24]

Durbin released a Christmas single, "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" on November 27, 2012, which was an exclusive prime at Yahoo! Music.[25]

Durbin performed "Love Me Bad" on Conan and "Higher Than Heaven" on American Idol in support of his album.

Celebrate (2013–2014)Edit

Durbin's second album, Celebrate was released April 8, 2014. Produced by Scott "The Ninja" Stevens, Durbin co wrote songs with Scott Stevens, Ted Bruner, Griffin Boyce & Stevie Aiello (among others). The first single from the album titled "Parachute" and was released on November 22, 2013.[26]

Durbin performed "Parachute" on Conan in support of his album.

Riot on Sunset (2015–present)Edit

In 2015, Durbin raised funds for his third album via PledgeMusic.[27] November of that same year Durbin released a Christmas EP, A Thrill of Hope. He released the video for his first single "Smackdown" through and YouTube in April of the following year.[28]

On April 7, 2016, Durbin returned to Idol for the final episode of the fifteenth season.

On Durbin's 28th birthday, he released a stop motion animated music video he made with his son Hunter (7) through and YouTube.

Maps To The Hollywood ScarsEdit

In 2016 James Durbin and Alex Grossi of Quiet Riot began work on the album project "Maps to the Hollywood Scars". "Volume 1" was released as a 5-song EP in February 2017. "Volume 2" is expected to follow in the summer of 2017.

Quiet RiotEdit

March 2017, Durbin announced via his Facebook page that he had joined Quiet Riot, as their new lead singer, stating: "Well...The rumors are TRUE TRUE TRUE!! I am the official singer of Quiet Riot!!!!! Words I never imagined I would utter. I want to thank my brothers Alex Grossi, Frankie Banali & Chuck Wright for having me. We're not wasting any time in coming to make you Feel The Noize, Bang Your Heads & Party All Night! Stay up to date by following Quiet Riot & I can't wait to entertain you!! Are you ready?? -JD".

The band later reported that their upcoming album, Road Rage would be re-recorded prior to its release to feature Durbin on lead vocals. Seann "Tarsha" Nichols, the band's former lead singer and a former member of hard rock bands Adler's Appetite and Icon, had toured with the band as vocalist for some time and had originally recorded vocals for the album.

Personal lifeEdit

Durbin is married to Heidi Air Lowe.[29] They have a son named Hunter,[2] and a daughter named Kinzee Cruz.[30] The couple were married on December 31, 2011.[31] Durbin is an avid fan of professional wrestling.[32]


Studio albumsEdit

Title Details Peak chart
Memories of a Beautiful Disaster
  • Release date: November 21, 2011
  • Label: Wind-up
  • Format: CD, digital download
36 25 8
  • Release date: April 8, 2014[34]
  • Label: Wind-up
  • Format: CD, digital download
83 14
Riot on Sunset
  • Release date: July 15, 2016
  • Independent Release
  • Format: CD, Vinyl, download
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended playsEdit

Title Details Peak chart

American Idol Season 10
Highlights: James Durbin
  • Release date: June 28, 2011
  • Label: 19, Interscope
  • Format: Digital download
31 7 52


Year Single Peak chart positions Sales Album
2011 "Stand Up" 39 Memories of a Beautiful Disaster
"Love Me Bad" 32
2012 "Higher Than Heaven"
"Santa Claus Is Back in Town" Non-album single
2013 "Parachute" Celebrate
2016 "Smackdown" Riot on Sunset
"—" denotes releases that did not chart


  1. ^ "Free Family Tree, Genealogy and Family History - MyHeritage".
  2. ^ a b c "'Idol' threat: Santa Cruz's James Durbin talks about music, fame and his life-changing experience at the eye of the "American Idol" hurricane". Santa Cruz Sentinel. March 13, 2011. Archived from the original on July 16, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2011.
  3. ^ "The book of James: The amazing journey of James Durbin to 'American Idol". Santa Cruz Sentinel. February 17, 2011. Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  4. ^ "Go James! ASSR featured singer James Durbin rocks American Idol". February 10, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  5. ^ "American Idol 2011: James Durbin likes to sing about 'sex with women'". February 20, 2011. Retrieved March 10, 2011.
  6. ^ "Hollywood Scars MySpace Page". MySpace.
  7. ^ MacDonald, Brady (May 17, 2011). "'American Idol' rocker James Durbin returns home for Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk concert". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  8. ^ "'American Idol' will let James Durbin homecoming in Santa Cruz go on". Priyo Internet Life. May 14, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  9. ^ "Durbinomics gives Santa Cruz businesses a boost". Santa Cruz Sentinel. May 18, 2011. Archived from the original on August 31, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  10. ^ "James Durbin's Judas Priest Performance On 'Idol' Causes Steven Tyler To Yell Expletives". Popcrush. March 1, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  11. ^ "Eliminated 'American Idol' Contestant James Durbin Performs Judas Priest Classic On 'Leno'". May 15, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  12. ^ "'Idol' James Durbin: 'Tour is most special part'". Digital spy. May 17, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  13. ^ "Watch James Durbin, Jimmy Fallon & Randy Jackson Jam Out to Journey!". OK Magazine. May 18, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  14. ^ "Ellen Tells James Durbin She Had Him Pegged As The 'Idol' Winner". Idolator. May 19, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  15. ^ "New York City Viewers Tune in Thursday, September 15 for a new documentary about Tourette Syndrome "Different is the New Normal" on WNET Thirteen at 8:00 pm". Tourette Syndrome Association. Retrieved September 21, 2011.
  16. ^ Mansfield, Brian (June 24, 2011). "Four for Friday: Idols get management deals and more". Idol Chatter. USA Today. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  17. ^ Halperin, Shirley (September 6, 2011). "'American Idol' Finalist James Durbin Signs With Wind-Up Records". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 6, 2011.
  18. ^ "James Durbin Rocks It with James Michael and Marti Frederiksen". Wetpaint. May 13, 2011. Retrieved September 2, 2011.
  19. ^ "Exclusive! James Durbin on Tour Life and Having His Fave Band Write for Him". Wetpaint Entertainment. August 26, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  20. ^ "'American Idol' Alum James Durbin Sets Album Release Date, Title". Hollywood Reporter. September 27, 2011. Retrieved September 28, 2011.
  21. ^ "James Durbin, Jordin Sparks place tracks on NFL compilation". USATODAY.COM.
  22. ^ Billboard Charts week ending December 10, 2011
  23. ^ a b Mansfield, Brian (2011-11-30). "Daughtry's 129,000 sales 'Spell' a top-ten debut". Idol Chatter. USA Today. Retrieved November 30, 2011.
  24. ^ "James Durbin Love Me Bad Video Preview (a top story)::James Durbin News".
  25. ^ "James Durbin's "Santa Claus Is Back In Town": Exclusive Audio Premiere!". November 12, 2012.
  26. ^ "James Durbin - New Single Artwork – "Parachute"".
  27. ^ "James Durbin: New album pre-order!".
  28. ^ "James Durbin, 'Smackdown'- Exclusive Video Premiere".
  29. ^ "Idol Rocker James Durbin Getting Married". People. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
  30. ^ "James Durbin Welcomes Daughter Kinzee Cruz – Moms & Babies – Celebrity Babies and Kids - Moms & Babies -".
  31. ^ "James Durbin's Rock 'N Roll Wedding Video". People. January 9, 2012.
  32. ^ "Hulk Hogan Poses with James Durbin, Jericho Puts Over Hulk's "American Idol" Gig". Headline Planet. March 25, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  33. ^ "'American Idol' Finalist JAMES DURBIN's Collaboration With QUIET RIOT Guitarist ALEX GROSSI: 'Roads' Lyric Video". BLABBERMOUTH.NET. February 2, 2017.
  34. ^ "'American Idol': James Durbin Announces New Single". The Hollywood Reporter.
  35. ^ Mansfield, Brian (July 6, 2011). "David Cook, Scotty McCreery get Top 10 debuts". Idol Chatter. USA Today. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  36. ^ "'American Idol' and Billboard: James Durbin, Haley Reinhart Become 55th and 56th Finalists on Charts". Billboard. July 7, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  37. ^ "Nielsen SoundScan Charts". Jam! Showbiz. Archived from the original on October 21, 2011. Retrieved August 31, 2011.
  38. ^ Rutherford, Kevin (2012-01-19). "'American Idol' Season 10: Where Are They Now?". Billboard. Retrieved January 19, 2012.
  39. ^ a b "Kelly Clarkson's track sales get 'Stronger' by the week". USATODAY.COM.
  40. ^ "Clarkson, Underwood dominate 'Idol' track sales". USATODAY.COM.

External linksEdit