Kimberley Locke

Kimberley Locke

Infobox musical artist 2
Name = Kimberley Locke

Img_capt =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Kimberley Dawn Locke
Alias = Kim Locke
Born = birth date and age|1978|1|3
Hartsville, Tennessee
Died =
Origin = Nashville, Tennessee
Genre = AC, R&B, Pop
Occupation = Singer, Model, Songwriter, TV Personality, Entrepreneur
Years_active = 2003–present (singing)
2005–present (model)
Label = Curb
Associated_acts = American Idol
URL = [ Official Website]

Kimberley Dawn Locke (born January 3 1978 in Hartsville, Tennessee) is an American adult contemporary pop/R&B singer and plus-size fashion model. In recent years, Locke has had eight Top 20 Adult Contemporary hits, three # 1 Dance hits, and eight # 1's across various Billboard charts.

She gained fame with her participation in the 2003 "American Idol" television series, and in 2007 garnered media attention for her participation in "Celebrity Fit Club".

Locke is the first to be the only female in the top 3 on "American Idol" and get voted off to allow two male contestants compete in a finale. She was joined by Syesha Mercado in the 2008 "American Idol" series exactly five years later.


Early life

Locke was born to Donald and Christine Locke, respectively a truck driver and a clothing warehouse worker for the Gap/Old Navy distribution center in Gallatin, Tennessee. She is the second of two children, with an older brother named Ashley (both of whom are biracial; their father is Black and their mother is White). She and her brother spent most of their life in Gallatin. At age five, Locke began singing in church. Her parents divorced when she was eight years old.

Locke grew up admiring such singers as Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle and Diana Ross. In 1987, she and childhood friends Chandra Boone, Selina Robb, and NaCole Rice formed a quartet named Shadz of U, which performed at many local churches. The group later appeared on Locke's 2007 "Based On A True Story" album, singing backup on Everyday Angels.

Locke went to Gallatin High School, where she was one of sixteen members to participate in its performing group. She remained in the group throughout her high-school years. She was also selected twice as a member of the All-Middle State Chorus. After graduating, she began to work for a company in Nashville as an administrative assistant.

Like 2007 American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle, Locke is an alumna of Belmont University in Nashville.

"American Idol" and singing career

On October 30, 2002, the reality-TV singing competition "American Idol" held auditions in Nashville, Tennessee for the show's second season. Locke successfully passed through to the next round, and in December was chosen to perform on the show. She finished third, behind runner up Clay Aiken and eventual champion Ruben Studdard. Simon Cowell at first criticized Locke as lacking in personality; by the final three however, he declared her, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard to be as worthy winners as any. She has since been invited back to the show to perform twice (seasons 3 and 7).

Locke went on to sign a record deal with Curb Records on September 6, 2003. Her debut album, "One Love", was released May 4, 2004. Debut single "8th World Wonder" reached the top half of the Billboard Hot 100 and was successful on other charts, and even entered the UK chart with little promotion. "Wrong" and "I Could" followed as singles and were hits on the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts respectively. "Coulda Been" was the album's only single not to chart.

Locke released her version of "Up On The Housetop" in Fall 2005 and by the end of year it had reached the top spot of the Adult Contemporary (AC) charts and broke many records, due to its quick rise to the top. The following year, Kimberley's version of "Jingle Bells" was released and topped the same charts. A full Christmas album entitled "Christmas" — only available digitally — was released on November 6, 2007.

Locke's second album, "Based On A True Story", was released on May 1, 2007. The album's original lead single, "Supawoman," co-written with her producers Damon Sharpe and Mark J. Feist, was released to radio on August 7, 2006, however after underwhelming radio support, Curb Records decided to refocus. "Change," was released to radio on January 15, 2007 to positive support and climbed the charts well into the summer of 2007. The album's next single was a cover of Freda Payne's "Band of Gold," which was released to radio on August 13, 2007 and became Locke's 6th solo AC Top 10 hit. The album's third single,"Fall," co-writtin by Clay Mills was also recorded by country music artist Clay Walker, was released to radio in February 2008.

ongs performed on "American Idol"

Original Audition: "Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland.

1 Current single

Other recordings

*2003: "Ammon" - New Blues Sessions (backing vocals)
*2003: "Over the Rainbow" (American Idol Season 2: All Time Classic American Love Songs)
*2003: "God Bless the USA" (along with the other Idols of AI2) (American Idol Season 2: All Time Classic American Love Songs)
*2003: "What the World Needs Now" (along with the other Idols of AI2) (American Idol Season 2: All Time Classic American Love Songs)
*2003: "The Christmas Song" (American Idol: The Great Holiday Classics)
*2003: "O Come, All Ye Faithful" (Group performance) (American Idol: The Great Holiday Classics)
*2003: "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (Group performance) (American Idol: The Great Holiday Classics)
*2005: "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" (DisneyMania 3)
*2005: "Wishes" (duet with Peabo Bryson) (Wishes)
*2005: "Better Than This" (The Perfect Man)
*2005: "Come Together Now" (Multi-artist charity single) (Come Together Now Collaborative)
*2007: "Please Come Home for Christmas" (with Dave Koz on his album Memories of a Winter's Night)

Musical achievements

*Locke was the first "Idol" finalist to debut at #1 on the singles sales charts with a non-"Idol" single ("8th World Wonder").
*Locke was the second Idol finalist (with Kelly Clarkson) to have two consecutive top-40 hits ("8th World Wonder" & "Wrong")
*"Up On The Housetop" made the largest leap into the top 5 on "Billboard"'s Adult Contemporary chart in the chart's history, jumping from #32 to #5 in just one week.
*"Up On The Housetop" became the fifth song in the history of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart to reach the top spot in only three weeks. It was the second-longest running holiday-themed chart-topper in the history of the chart [4 weeks] , behind Josh Groban's "Believe" [5 weeks] .Bronson, Fred. [ "Housetop of the Pops"] , Billboard Magazine, December 29, 2005.]
*Locke's version of "Jingle Bells" had the highest charting debut week on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in 2006,Bronson, Fred. [ "He Also Walks the Line"] , Billboard Magazine, November 30, 2006.] debuting at #17. Even though hundreds of artists have recorded the song, Locke's recording was the first to ever top the Billboard AC chart.Bronson, Fred. [ "Jingle All the Way"] , Billboard Magazine, December 14, 2006.]
*In an Entertainment Weekly magazine, "8th World Wonder" was listed as one of the top 5 songs to come out of American Idol.
*Locke's first seven solo single releases in the Adult Contemporary genre reached Billboard's top 10 chart.Bronson, Fred. [ "Locked"] , Billboard Magazine, May 11, 2007.]
*To date, Locke is the only American Idol finalist to both top Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart with an original song ("Change") and to top the chart on three separate occasions ("Band of Gold", "Fall" ). The only other alumni from the show to top this chart was Jennifer Hudson with her cover of And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going from the Dreamgirls musical.

Television career

Whilst pursuing her music career, Locke was also interested in becoming a television star. Since 2005, Locke has featured on many television shows.

In August 2004, Locke was invited to be a guest host on "Good Day Live", and was invited back to co-host twice more. In 2005, she was a contestant on the game show, Family Feud, and she hosted "Word Slam!", a GSN live game show; an accompanying documentary with Locke aired on that cable channel that September. Throughout the summer of 2005, a proposed reality TV series, "Aren't You That Girl?", taped Locke's progress on her second album and preparations for her upcoming wedding. The engagement was later called off and the project was cancelled.Stiletto Entertainment [ "Kimberley Locke Models For Lane Bryant"] , June 29, 2005.] During MTV's early fall 2006 lineup, Locke was a judge and co-host on the short lived reality-show competition "The Little Talent Show".

Locke sat in as a guest co-host of "The View" in March 2007. In April 2008, she also appeared on "Don't Forget the Lyrics!" with her winnings to benefit Camp Heartland. She was the first contestant in the history of the show to attempt the million dollar song. Although unsuccessful, she was awarded $100,000 for ranking so well. Locke vowed she would raise the $400,000 she lost when she unsuccessfully attempted to win the million dollars.

"Celebrity Fit Club: Men vs. Women"

In November 2006, VH1 issued a press release confirming that Locke would be a participant on the fifth season of "Celebrity Fit Club", which had just begun filming and would continue through March 2007. The show began airing on April 22, 2007.Edwards, Martha [ "Celebrity Fit Club 5 Cast Announced"] , "That's Fit", November 20, 2006.] She has been the focused target of derision from fellow cast member Dustin Diamond, who has repeatedly called her "a loser on another show ["American Idol"] ." Later, he says, "She is a nobody...If there were eight of her here, nobody would watch the show." She responded on-camera at a weigh-in ceremony, "Two-faced, backstabbing people who will smile in your face one day and eat you up the next. That's why I don't have anything to do with you...If you even fucking look at me, Dustin. [Because] you talk about losers? Let's talk about 'I'm a fucking child star. Now I've got a porn tape on TV and selling T-shirts to pay for my house note.'" He later walked off the stage. He later offered her a sex toy in the shape of his penis, saying that she "needed one." The ensuing argument caused all other contestants to leave the stage. Ho, Rodney [ "Kelly, charts, Fit Club"] , "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution" "Idol Blog", May 9, 2007.] On June 17, 2007, the season finale of "Celebrity Fit Club" aired, drawing in 2.7 million viewers, the show's highest yet.

Modeling career & weight loss

From 2005 through September 2006, Locke was signed with Ford Models' 14+ Division. She has appeared on the covers of the July 2005 issue of "Figure" magazine and the summer 2007 issue of UneQ magazine. She has also been a former spokesperson for Lane Bryant and Seven7 Jeans.

While filming for Celebrity Fit Club, Kimberley chose to follow the Jenny Craig diet plan and had great success. In December 2006, Locke was offered a deal as spokeswoman with Jenny Craig.Extra [ "Kimberley Locke's New Years Resolution"] December 22, 2006] At the completion of filming for the show, Kimberley weighed in at a final weight of 149 lbs; down a total of 27 lbs. from her original start weight of 176 lbs. A feature in the September 10th issue of People Magazine shows Kimberley at 141 lbs., only 3 pounds away from her goal. Locke announced through her official MySpace blog on October 8, 2007 that she had finally achieved her 40 pound weight loss goal.

In January 2008, Kimberley was featured as the centerfold of Us Weekly's "Diets That Work" issue. The feature counted down the top five celebrity diets of 2007, with Kimberley being named the winner.O'Neill, Jennifer "The Us Diet Winners!", Us Weekly, January 14, 2008 p.54] Ellen DeGeneres was so personally blown away by the feature that she asked Kimberley to be a special guest on an upcoming episode of her popular daytime talk show. The episode taped on January 10, 2008 and aired the following day.

Business career

In 1999, Locke enrolled at Belmont University and graduated in August 2001 with a Bachelor's degree of Business Administration in Marketing. In December 2006, Locke, with partners Eric Kupferberg, Liam Harvey and Jim Stake, opened the Croton Creek Steakhouse & Wine Bar, located in Croton Falls, New York.

Charitable Work

Locke has been active in many charities, particularly in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and Breast cancer. Locke's first exposure to working with children living with HIV/AIDS was through her work with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which sent her on an 11 day trip through Africa. She then went on to work with other organizations such as YouthAIDS, the Davy Foundation and Camp Heartland In recognition of her extensive charitable efforts as an HIV/AIDS activist, Locke was presented with the Red Ribbon award on November 9, 2007. "The Red Ribbon Award is done for someone in the community that advocates AIDS awareness, and especially HIV awareness," said press liaison Chris Prouty. "They want to pinpoint one specific person and get the community involved in the accolades and a congratulatory celebration." At a news conference prior to her performance that night, Locke gave an acceptance speech. "All the kids [at Camp Heartland] have a great story, and that's what I've chosen to be a part of. It's the old cliché: kids are our future."Larson, Kris. [ "Locke 'Sparkles' at Benefit"] , Bay Area Reporter, November 15, 2007.] She appeared on a Celebrity episode of Don't Forget The Lyrics to raise money for Camp Heartland and vowed to raise another $400,000 for the charity by the end of 2008.

In October 2007, Locke teamed up with General Mills to introduce the 'Pink For A Cure' campaign to promote awareness of breast cancer in the African American community. "My aunt is a breast cancer survivor. So, as someone whose family has been directly touched by this disease, I'm very passionate about getting people talking more about their health," said [ "Kimberley Locke Joins the Pink Together Cause"] , October 4, 2007.]


*"8th World Wonder" (2004) directed by Sam Erickson.
*"Wrong" (2004) directed by Urban Strom.
*"Coulda Been" (2004) directed by Urban Strom.
*"Change" (2007) directed by Roman White.

Awards and nominations

New Music Awards

*2005: Nominated - Female Adult Contemporary Artist Of The Year

Teen Choice Awards

*2003: Nominated - Choice TV Reality/Variety Star - Female
*2004: Nominated - Favorite Love Song - "8th World Wonder"

References in pop culture

*An essay written by Kimberley about her experiences with American Idol was included in the book Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul.
*"American Idol" judge Simon Cowell, in his book, "I Don't Mean to be Rude, but...", referred to Locke as looking like "an overweight librarian."
*A reference to Kimberley straightening her naturally curly hair on an episode of American Idol, and as a result getting a comment from Simon Cowell that he was glad she got rid of her "weird hair," is included in the book "Wanting To Be Her: Body Image Secrets Victoria Won't Tell You" by Michelle Graham.
*In her televised special, "Kathy Griffin is... NOT Nicole Kidman", comedienne Kathy Griffin tells the story of being snubbed by Kimberley and other finalists from American Idol shortly after having included gay jokes in reference to Clay Aiken in her comedy act. The special was included in the bonus material on the DVD release of the first season of her reality show, "".
*Kimberley's version of "Band of Gold" is heard in the official movie trailers for the Tyler Perry film, "Why Did I Get Married?" [ YouTube - Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?] , August 17, 2007]

See also

* List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Adult Contemporary chart
* List of artists who reached number one on the U.S. Dance chart


External links

* [ Official Fan Club]
* [ Kimberley Locke featured at the Hawaii Romance Festival, May 2008]


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