Crystal Bowersox Biography

Crystal Bowersox Biography Claim to Fame: Folk-rock singer, American Idol finalist
DOB: August 4, 1985
Diabetes Type: 1

Quote: “Success ain’t about the money, it’s about doing what you love.”

Folk rock singer Crystal Bowersox was born in Elliston, Ohio and currently resides in Toledo. A finalist on season nine of American Idol, Bowersox describes music as her therapy: “a ventilation for [the] soul.” Unlike many American Idol contestants, Bowersox can play several instruments and writes her own music—and she has diabetes. (Kevin Covais and Elliott Yamin, both type 1, came before her as contestants; Idol judge Randy Jackson has type 2).

While Bowersox doesn’t have any formal singing training, she’s had a lot of experience. She started singing in the first grade in a Christmas play, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age six, and was playing gigs (and the guitar) professionally at the age of ten. She started writing songs such as "Ohio Files," "Sandman," and "Put Your Guitar Down" when she was 13.

The first concert Bowersox ever attended was Live and Counting Crows with her father. Her musical influences include Glen Hansard, Janis Joplin, Melissa Etheridge, and Ray LaMontagne. “They have so much passion and soul,” she says. “It comes from somewhere completely real.”

Before American Idol, Bowersox performed in smoky dive bars, roadside diners, and coffee houses. “I needed to turn bar gigs into a bigger career,” Bowersox told her local newspaper. “Kids aren’t cheap, and [my son] needs everything I never had growing up.” She describes her son, Tony, as "a little rock star" and will continue to raise him as a single mother.

In addition to winning American Idol, her goals include being “a cool mom and a working musician.” Nicknamed Mamasox, the folk-rocker is bound to have some quirky facts up her sleeve. She doesn’t own a television, and once played a skydiver’s funeral, for which she was paid half in cash--and half in skydiving. Besides music, Bowersox likes to knit, draw, paint, sculpt, and flare her nostrils.

On March 2, 2010, Bowersox was hospitalized due to diabetes complications. The complications forced American Idol producers to reschedule Bowersox’s performance. She has since reappeared, healthy and determined. How does she plan to differentiate herself in the American Idol competition? “By just being myself,” she says. Bowersox came in second place in American Idol's ninth season.

Find more musicians with diabetes.

Last Modified Date: November 27, 2012

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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