RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Willie Spence Sr. loves music.
“It’s like a relaxant,” he says.
He keeps his Gibson guitar with him in his car wherever he goes and he keeps his family and his heart close to his chest. Spence Sr.’s eldest daughter and Renaissance Charter School principal, Kendra Spence Wester, says for their family, Riviera Beach is home.
“Paw paw’s sisters are here, his aunts, his grandma all of his siblings are here,” says Spence Wester.
Willie Spence Sr.’s son is also Willie Spence. Not only do they share a name but also a love for music.
“He sings morning, noon, and night,” said Spence Sr.
His son agrees, “I be singing all day everyday they couldn’t shut me up.”
Spence Wester said, “Music does something different for him like it ignites something in him and he cuts loose.”
And he’s on fire. His pursuit of his craft took him from his family’s Riviera Beach living room and church to Douglas, Georgia and now straight into the spotlight on American Idol.
Spence was one of thousands of hopefuls vying for a shot for his voice to be heard and people are listening.
He has millions of views on YouTube, thousands of followers and most importantly - support of his family and greater Palm Beach County community.
If being selected for a reality tv talent show wasn’t exciting enough, Spence is wowing judges and supporters showing them that if you work hard and dream big enough anything is possible.
His sister, Spence Wester, explained, “Here is a Black male from Riviera Beach. He’s doing something amazing, he’s beat the odds, he has his family here supporting him so he’s a product of Riviera Beach but he’s gone beyond what others expect us to do coming from Riviera Beach.”
Before his next big performance I left our star with one last question.
“What do you hope people learn from watching you perform and where you came from?”
Spence answered, “To never give up on your dreams, never stop believing in yourself because once you stop believing in yourself things stop happening for you.”
Those are wise words from a top 7 competitor with his eyes on top 5.