Ben Briley

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Ben Briley
Birth name John Benjamin Briley
Born (1989-03-19) March 19, 1989 (age 27)
Gallatin, Tennessee, United States
Genres Country, southern rock
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals Guitar
Years active 2014-present

John Benjamin Briley (Born March 19, 1989, known as Ben Briley) is an American singer from Gallatin, Tennessee, who finished in 11th place on the thirteenth season of American Idol.[1][2] When he was a child, he led an effort that caused Brothers and Sisters Day to be recognized as an official holiday in the state of Tennessee. This idea inspired Bill Clinton to designate the third week of November as National Family Week, and George W. Bush to designate June 2, 2001 as National Child's Day. During college, he joined a gospel group called "25 Drive", with which he released an album.

Personal life[edit]

Briley was born in Gallatin, Tennessee to John R. Briley and Tribby Graves.[3][4] Briley has a large extended family - from his grandparents down, he has around one-hundred-and-twenty relatives.[5] Music has been an important aspect of his family for several generations, especially on his mother's side: his great-grandmother, Kitty Cora Cline, was one of the first female members of the Grand Ole Opry; her daughter, Gladys Cline Graves, wrote songs and poetry, but did not pursue a career, as she had eleven children and chose to focus on raising them instead; and from 1975 to 1985, Briley's mother sang and played guitar on a morning T.V. show hosted by Ralph Emery. Several members of Briley's family on his father's side have played guitar, banjo, bass, and fiddle.[6][7] Briley's father and grandfather, Wesley Briley, were both ministers, and Wesley also owned a farm. Growing up, Briley would often work on the farm with his grandfather, whom he greatly admired.[6] Briley married his wife Courtney (who is a friend and former high school classmate of American Idol season 12 fifth place finalist Janelle Arthur) in June 2013 and was inspired by her to try out for American Idol.[6][8]

Briley began singing at a very young age - his first performance was at a family Christmas party when he was only three years old. He won several talent shows during grade school, and when he was eleven years old, he performed the National Anthem at a Vanderbilt University basketball game.[4][6] In second grade, Briley was inspired by the devotion that he felt for his younger sister, Mary Meggan, to request that his school observe a special holiday for siblings. The school adopted his idea, and Brothers and Sisters Day spread throughout Tennessee. It was recognized by then-governor Don Sundquist and became an official holiday for the state. Al Gore, who was vice-president at the time, heard about it and told President Bill Clinton, who then designated the third week of November as National Family Week. Later, President George W. Bush also responded to the idea and declared June 2, 2001 as National Child's Day.[4][9]

Briley can play over twelve instruments, including the guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica, and dobro.[4] His primary musical influence is Johnny Cash, and his style encompasses a wide variety of genres, including country, gospel, bluegrass, southern rock, R&B, and blues.[6][10][11] While attending Gallatin High School, Briley was elected student body president. He considered pursuing a career in politics, but changed his mind upon considering the pressure that would be placed upon him to be dishonest.[4][12] He joined a musical group called "The Performers" during high school, and sang with them at various school events, as well as for the Tennessee General Assembly. Although he is a devoted fan of the University of Tennessee's Tennessee Vols, Briley attended Middle Tennessee State University, where he served as an anchor for campus sports and received a degree in broadcasting, marketing, and public relations. He continued to pursue music during college, performing with multiple bands in coffee houses and joining a gospel group called "25 Drive". He released an album with this group and together, they participated in the National Quartet Convention.[4][6]

American Idol[edit]

Episode Theme Song choice Original artist Order Result
Audition Auditioner's Choice "Arms of a Woman" Amos Lee N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 1 A Capella "Stars" Grace Potter and the Nocturnals N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 2 Group Performance "I Want It That Way"
with Dexter Roberts and Casey Thrasher
Backstreet Boys N/A Advanced
Hollywood Round, Part 3 Solo "Stars" Grace Potter and the Nocturnals N/A Advanced
Top 31 (10 Men) Personal Choice "Soulshine" The Allman Brothers Band 9 Advanced
Top 13 This Is Me "Folsom Prison Blues" Johnny Cash 4 Safe
Top 12 Home "Turning Home" David Nail 11 Safe
Top 11 Songs from the Movies "Bennie and the Jets" Elton John 5 Eliminated


Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
  • Release date: December 11, 2014
  • Label: Independent
  • Formats: CD, music download

External links[edit]


  1. ^ American Idol: Gallatin’s Ben Briley survives another week
  2. ^ Country boys rock American Idol’s Top 13
  3. ^ "Sanders, Briley announce engagement". May 2, 2013. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Holly Tong (February 27, 2014). "Living the dream one song at a time". The Portland Leader. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  5. ^ "12 Finalists Perform". American Idol. Season 13. Episode 16. March 5, 2014. Fox. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f Loretta Gillespie (February 27, 2014). "Idol connection: Cullman's Gudger family cheering on cousin Ben Briley in American Idol competition (With 'Idol' video)". The Cullman Times. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  7. ^ Dessislava Yankova (February 20, 2014). "Updated: Ben Briley makes top 13 on 'American Idol'". The Tennessean. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ Ben Briley (January 23, 2014). Road to Hollywood: Ben Briley - AMERICAN IDOL SEASON XIII (video). American Idol. Retrieved March 13, 2014. 
  9. ^ "A RESOLUTION to honor and recognize John Benjamin Briley of Gallatin." (PDF). June 19, 2002. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ben Briley". Archived from the original on March 14, 2014. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  11. ^ Jake Perlman (March 14, 2014). "'Idol' Exit Interview: Ben Briley talks to EW after third elimination". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 14, 2014. 
  12. ^ Fred Bronson (March 14, 2014). "'American Idol' Eliminated Contestant Ben Briley: 'I Was One of the Weakest'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 15, 2014.