Elliott Yamin's Birth and Early Years:
Elliott Yamin was born July 20, 1978 in Los Angeles, California. His father is Israeli, and his mother is Jewish-American. Yamin's family moved to Richmond, Virginia when he was 11 years old. 3 years later his parents divorced, and his father moved back to California.
Engaged in singing from an early age, Elliott Yamin emulated the r&b superstars Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder. Although a high school dropout without formal musical training, he began nursing musical ambitions with local performances. Yamin eventually completed a high school GED en route to holding a wide range of jobs.
Quote from Elliott Yamin:
Discussing his debut album in an article in the Miami Herald:
"My goal was to make a singer's record and make it as genuine as possible -- make it who I am. I still have to work on my songwriting skills. I'm green to that process. But I worked with some talented people."
American Idol Contestant:
At the age of 27, Elliott Yamin left a pharmacy job to travel to Boston to audition for American Idol. Although he struggled with 90% deafness in his right ear and Type I diabetes, Yamin had developed into an engaging vocalist with an easygoing charm. Audiences and the judges were impressed with signature performances of "A Song for You" and "Moody's Mood for Love."
Elimination and the Aftermath:
Elliott Yamin joined Katharine McPhee and eventual winner Taylor Hicks in the final 3. Although Yamin was the next contestant eliminated, it was reported that the margin of votes was razor-thin. In the season 5 finale show, Elliott Yamin turned in a stunning performance with Mary J. Blige. Following his elimination, he did the usual round of talk shows and was selected to perform the national anthem a capella at Game 2 of the 2006 NBA Finals.
As part of the American Idol finalists tour in late summer and early fall 2006, Elliott Yamin performed 3 solo songs, 3 group songs, and a duet with Chris Daughtry on Nickelback's hit "Savin' Me." Throughout the tour Yamin received rave reviews for his performances.
The first post-Idol Elliott Yamin recording appeared in December, 2006 with a version of "This Christmas." 19 Productions, the company which signed Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks to recording contracts, passed on the opportunity to sign Yamin, and fans began to question the delay in a contract and recordings.
Trivia Fact About Elliott Yamin:
Elliott Yamin's self-titled debut album sold more copies in its first week than any other independent label release in SoundScan history.
Elliott Yamin's Debut Album:
In January, 2007, a record deal was finally announced. In a unique 50/50 deal with Sony, Elliott Yamin became the sole artist to be released on independent label Hickory Records, and he would retain 50% of the profits from his debut album. That is a much higher percentage than most recording artists. Elliott Yamin, the album, was released in March, 2007, and it debuted at #3 on the album chart selling nearly 100,000 copies in its first week of release. The single "Wait for You" became a top 5 pop smash.