Every contestant in the Top 7 of American Idol has a story to tell. None, though, are like Arthur Gunn's journey. From the beginning, Gunn won over the judges with his rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Have You Ever Seen the Rain." It was during that audition in which the world learned of the lengths Gunn traveled to get to this point.
Born in Kathmandu, Nepal, Gunn — who's birth name is Dibesh Pokharel — and his family moved to Wichita, Kansas, in 2008 when he was nine years old. He developed his love for music in his home country while playing his small guitar and watching American Idol online. After playing small venues, Gunn auditioned for the hit ABC show as part of the "Bus Tour," which made a stop in his new hometown. He would soon wow production, and later all three judges en route to a Top 7 spot and one of the favorites in a very strong group to win the whole thing.
Speaking to PopCulture.com ahead of Sunday's season finale, Gunn said there aren't enough words to describe his path. "This journey has been an amazing experience with so many emotions from exciting, thrilling, fun, tough, ridiculous, tiring and unpredictable," Gunn responded. "It is definitely not an easy journey, you have to work really hard, but I am so grateful for everything I have learned so far that I use throughout my career." He'll look to cap off this incredible stretch by winning over America one final time as he performers his last few songs on Sunday.
When asked what it would mean to walk away from this as the next American Idol, Gunn replied excitedly, "I have no clue." He added that it "would completely shock me but would be a wonderful, overwhelming moment."
During Disney Week, Gunn blew away the judges with his take on the iconic Little Mermaid song, "Kiss The Girl." It was another example, according to Luke Bryan, of him adding his twist to a song. He later did the same with Bon Iver's "Hey, Ma," which moved Katy Perry. The week before, Gunn had one of his best performances, this time adding a Bob Marley-flare to John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads."
From his debut on the show, the judges have called his voice the most unique on the show. Gunn said, "there is no particular way I describe my voice," noting that he changes it with whatever song he has in front of him. "I have been told that I have a husky tone to my voice that I open the diaphragm more than others," he explained. "I don't use a lot of my head voice or nasal voice, and I am still learning my voice, but I don't have a particular way to define my voice."
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With a bright future ahead, Gunn has been taking judges' feedback to heart. One in particular that stood out was last Sunday when Lionel Richie said he would listen to him sing the phone book. Hearing all of these music icons give such high praise has "motivated" him. "I feel more confident and motivated to keep working on my music, so it has been an honor to receive such great praises from the judges."
With one week to go, Gunn is hoping the praise keeps coming his way, and that he can keep on winning over America. Calling the whole process an "invaluable" learning experience, Gunn has a real shot at standing alone on Sunday and discovering the feeling of being next American Idol. American Idol will air its finale on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. Perry will debut her newest single, "Daisies," while Richie will be joined by a cast of former Idol winners and contestants to sing "We Are The World."