UT premed student Munfarid Zaidi has received his golden ticket to Hollywood—and while being cradled in the arms of American Idol judge Harry Connick Jr., no less.
On the premiere of the hit TV show’s 13th season last month, the third-year biology major impressed the judges with his soulful rendition of Adele’s “Crazy For You.” Zaidi then sang “No One” by Alicia Keys as he rested his head on Connick’s shoulder.
“That was completely unexpected. I just expected to walk in there, sing, maybe make it through, maybe not,” Zaidi says.
Unlike some American Idol hopefuls who have always dreamed of a singing career, Zaidi was initially hesitant about auditioning for the show. His parents urged him to try out, he says. “They knew music was a big part of my life, so they told me to go be productive and at least try and open this other door,” he says.
Growing up in a musical household where both his parents played instruments, Zaidi was a member of his school choir throughout middle and high school. His singing style hints at an underlying jazz influence, which he notes was heavily influenced by his time living in New Orleans as a child. There, he became a big fan of Connick’s music, though Zaidi cites Ella Fitzgerald as his biggest musical inspiration.
When Zaidi isn’t busy being a premed student and a contestant on American Idol, he enjoys spending time with his parents and siblings, as well as listening to whatever current obsession is playing on his iPod; this week, it’s the Frozen soundtrack.
Watch Munfarid Zaidi’s audition here and catch him on American Idol’s Hollywood Week, which starts today and runs through Feb. 13.
Top, UT premed student Munfarid Zaidi impressed the judges during his audition for American Idol.
Photo courtesy of American Idol.