Singer and guitarist Laine Hardy first learned to play the guitar at just eight years old. By the time he was 14, Hardy (along with his brother and cousins) were playing local bars and restaurants as a band. Although he initially was just a guitarist, Hardy was encouraged to sing by his brother. He would go on to audition for season 16 of American Idol, though would not make it far, being cut after making the top 50. The set back didn't get Hardy down, who rose to the challenge once again the following year, making it all the way to the final and winning the competition. Hardy released his three-song EP In the Bayou in 2018, as well as his single "Blue Christmas." Following his American Idol win, his coronation song "Flame" was released in May 2019.