Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

January 25, 2014

Spotlight on Cline after ‘Idol’ appearance

ASHLAND — Jesse Cline had an extra-proud mama, brother and father the day following his first appearance on “American Idol.”

Cline, 19, of Ashland made his debut on the national talent competition show Thursday evening when he sang the first lines of “Washed by the Water” to receive his golden ticket to Hollywood.

An employee of the Racer’s convenience store near the Cannonsburg Interstate 64 interchange, Cline said a Friday-morning customer became the first stranger to ask for his autograph.

His mother, Shea Horton, said she has always known her little boy would someday stand in the spotlight.

“I am a proud mama, for sure,” she said Friday afternoon, adding her son’s journey to Hollywood “has been a really hard secret to keep.”

Horton recalled a time “in third or fourth grade” when a young Jesse sang a solo that brought tears to his teacher’s eyes.

“I’ve known since he was very young that he was going to be something special,” she said, noting he now plays guitar and piano as well as possessing an outstanding singing voice. “He plays from daylight to dark and I never get tired of it. I turn the TV off and listen to him like a concert. I never get tired of it.”

Knowing her son’s passion for music, Horton said she is confident he will do well pursuing a career in the music industry.

“He’s so dedicated. I think he’s going to go places,” she said, later explaining her son is well grounded and familiar with the challenges of life. “I’m a single mom. A lot of times, we’ve had a hard time, but we figure it out.”  

With the laugh of a mother who served as a referee to two sons who often spent their time trying to kill each other, Horton said Jesse’s older brother, Josh, is extremely proud of his sibling. Josh Cline, 21, who is also a musician, said he is both proud and comically frustrated after watching his kid brother on TV.

“I want to smack him upside the head because he got to hug J-Lo,” he said with a laugh, speaking of judge Jennifer Lopez who leaned across the judge’s table and gave Cline a warm embrace after he was approved to move ahead on the show.

Josh said he and his brother each have full time jobs and rarely get to play guitars and sing together these days, although they do still try to play music when they get a chance. The older brother laughed as he confessed the two of them “until we got out of high school were always arguing,” although he is quick to note “we are now closer than we’ve ever been.”

Cline’s father, James, also expressed his pride in Jesse’s American Idol performance.

“We’re proud of him. He’s worked really hard. He’s a pretty good kid and he has a good heart,” his father said.

TIM PRESTON can be reached at tpreston@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2651.

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