Idol contestant branches out beyond music

Texan planting roots in British Columbia after years in the United States.



When former American Idol contestant Kimberly Caldwell was a little girl she dreamed of appearing on Ed McMahon’s Star Search television show.

“Every episode I would sit right in front of the TV with my nose touching the screen,” Caldwell recalled. “I would tell my mom, ‘One day I am going to be there. One day I am going to do that.’ I was just a kid with a dream.”

The native of Katy, Texas, didn’t have to wait long for her dream to come true because at the age of 11 she appeared on the very show she grew up watching.

“You know how American Idol is to kids these days? Where they’re like ‘Oh my god I want to be on American Idol one day.’ Well, that was me with Star Search,” Caldwell said.

A decade later, her career would take off thanks to her performances on Idol in 2003.

“That was definitely my stepping stone into Hollywood and into the industry,” Caldwell recalled.

Caldwell will be performing tonight (July 8) the Port Theatre alongside her fiancé Jordan Harvey, who is also a left fullback for the Vancouver Whitecaps, as part of the third annual Vancouver Island Coast Salish Hope and Health event.

“It’s going to be an honour to be a part of Hope and Help again and I hope that everybody comes out and joins us,” Caldwell told the News Bulletin.

The event is dedicated to inspiring First Nations youths throughout the province and will feature a number of guest speakers including former NHLer Theo Fleury and Vancouver Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson.

Caldwell began singing when she was five years old. While on the Ed McMahon show, which featured a number of other talented young artists such as Beyoncé, Usher, Christina Aguilera, Justin Timberlake, Alanis Morissette and Britney Spears, Caldwell set a record for the most wins by a junior vocalist.

“It is a fun piece of trivia about myself that I will always be proud of,” she said. “It was my Idol when I was little. It was something that I was so excited to do.”

After her time on Ed McMahon, Caldwell moved to Missouri, where she landed a role as a feature performer in a production called Country Tonite.

“We took a couple of months off in the winter time and in the slow months, but other than that I did two shows a day, six times a week, sometimes seven and I just loved it,” Caldwell said. “Me, my mom and my sister moved to Branson, Mo. and lived there and the people in Branson that were in the show for all those years are still some of my closest family and friends.”

After a four year stint in the production, Caldwell returned home to Texas, where she completed high school and worked odd jobs. She explained that early in her career, she didn’t challenge herself as much as she could have, particularly during her time in Country Tonite and that it wasn’t until after high school that she really began to push herself.

“I really had to start challenging myself and really stepping out of my box and really find my voice,” Caldwell said. “I am glad I did because I realized that I had a lot more to offer than I really thought I did.”

At the time of Caldwell’s appearance on American Idol, the show was only in its second season and had yet to peak in popularity.

“I didn’t take it probably near as serious as I should have taken it,” Caldwell said. “We didn’t know what it was becoming until we stepped off the stage and out of the show and then realized ‘oh my god all these people know who we are,’ and that was really cool.”

Although Caldwell didn’t win the competition, she would eventually go on a nationwide tour with her follow Idol contestants and venture far outside of her comfort zone by becoming a television host for a variety of channels, including Fox Sports Network.

Caldwell, whose first album came out in 2011, recently released three new singles, Doin’ me Right, Tied Together and On the Weekend, which are all part of an upcoming record.

Today, she finds herself living in Vancouver, where she spends her time acting, singing and watching her future husband play at B.C. Place.

“I don’t know anything about soccer,” she said, laughing. “I just watch and clap whenever they score.”

Caldwell, who also acts, said she spends more of her time in Vancouver working on her acting.

“When I am in Vancouver, I don’t work on music that much. I’ve really focused on acting,” she said.

In addition to her three new singles and acting, Caldwell has released her own leather handbag line called Stage Presents and is about to open up her own makeover studio on Beach Avenue in Vancouver.

“I just buy leather and I learned how to sew leather and how to do all the hardware. I actually hand-make all the leather handbags,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell also has a number of tattoos, including a large one on her back that contains lyrics from a song she wrote but never recorded.

“It is called With You I Can. I have five sisters and a lot of women in my life that have inspired me and have been there for me through all the ups and downs,” Caldwell said. “With You I Can is kind of a song about just being there for your people and if they weren’t there for you then you couldn’t do without them.”

Caldwell performs at the Port Theatre tonight at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids. For tickets and more information, please visit or call the box office at 250-754-8550.For more information about Caldwell’s handbag line visit

arts@nanaimobulletin.comTwitter: @npescod