An Interview with PJAE - American Idol Contestant

April 14, 2023
Written by
Bailey Fortenbaugh, Yosuke Shingu
Published on
May 9, 2023

PJAE is an Oklahoma native currently in the top 24 on American Idol. In the episode, he shares his personal journey with music as a form of therapy and inspiration for himself and others. He opens up about the important moments of strength and vulnerability in his life and the challenges he’s faced along the way. Watch the full episode to learn more about rising music star PJAE and his journey following his biggest dreams.

Key Takeaways from Our Conversation with American Idol Star PJAE

PJAE originally started out as an architecture student but struggled with finding his true passion. He spoke about his initial battles when choosing a career path, saying “I’d never seen myself as a quitter, and I didn’t actually realize until I got to university that I had ADHD… I would pour 100% of my time and energy into things and forget everything else and excel at something. And then 3 months into it I would just change completely.” He spoke about how in college, he didn’t want his education to be like that and kept enduring his architecture program because of it.

His turning point came once he hit a low point in his life. “I thought - if I don’t make a change, if I don’t do… something that actually makes me happy, then I’m afraid I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here,” He said. From there, he took a shot in the dark and made that change happen.

PJAE is very open about his experiences of being bullied when he was younger and how those experiences affected him. “I was so different from the… typical person, especially in my hometown… there were a lot more close-minded people, and I didn’t even understand half of the things they were calling me and saying about me… and that even translated into me becoming the bully in some instances as well,” He said, speaking about growing up. He spoke about how self-reflection and learning about how everyone is so different helped him better understand what he went through and how we can treat each other with compassion.

Speaking about American Idol Hollywood Week, he said, “[The biggest] reality check was that we don’t really work a lot with the celebrities… As much as you see on camera is pretty much as much as we [the contestants] see them.” He also spoke about his experience being in the auditions and in Hollywood. “It’s like camp,” he said, “Like music camp… It’s really not catty… Because at that point in the competition, you’re really not competing against each other.”

You can watch PJAE perform on American Idol every Sunday at 8/7c on ABC.

PJAE's Website ⬇️ 

⬇️ More stuff you should check out ⬇️ 

Video Equipment I use: 

Camera: Cannon R5 - 

Hard Drive: Samsung SSD - 

Podcast Mic: Shure SM7B - 

SD Card: Sony Tough 128GB -

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