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Kimberley Dawn Locke (born January 3, 1978 in Hartsvillemarker, Tennesseemarker) is an American adult contemporary pop/R&B singer and plus-size fashion model. In recent years, Locke has had 11 charting singles, including 8 Billboard # 1s.

She gained fame with her participation in the 2003 American Idol television series, and in 2007 garnered media attention for her participation in Celebrity Fit Club.


Early life

Locke was born to Donald and Christine Locke, an African-American truck driver and a Caucasian clothing warehouse worker for the Gap/Old Navy distribution center in Gallatin, Tennesseemarker. She is the second of two children, with an older brother named Ashley. She and her brother spent most of their life in Gallatin. At age five, Locke began singing in church. Her parents divorced when she was eight years old.

Locke grew up admiring such singers as Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Patti LaBelle and Diana Ross. In 1987, she and childhood friends Chandra Boone, Selina Robb, and NaCole Rice formed a quartet named Shadz of U, which performed at many local churches. The group later appeared on Locke's 2007 Based On A True Story album, singing backup on Everyday Angels.

Locke went to Gallatin High School, where she was one of sixteen members to participate in its performing group. She remained in the group throughout her high-school years. She was also selected twice as a member of the All-Middle State Chorus. After graduating, she began to work for a company in Nashvillemarker as an administrative assistant.

Like 2007 American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle, Locke is an alumna of Belmont Universitymarker in Nashville.

American Idol and singing career

On October 30, 2002, the reality-TV singing competition American Idol held auditions in Nashville, Tennesseemarker for the show's second season. Locke successfully passed through to the next round, and in December was chosen to perform on the show. She finished third, behind runner up Clay Aiken and eventual champion Ruben Studdard. Simon Cowell at first criticized Locke as lacking in personality; by the final three however, he declared her, Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard to be as worthy winners as any. She has since been invited back to the show to perform twice (seasons 3 and 7).

Locke went on to sign a record deal with Curb Records on September 6, 2003. Her debut album, One Love, was released May 4, 2004. Debut single "8th World Wonder" reached the top half of the Billboard Hot 100 and was successful on other charts, and even entered the UK chart with little promotion. "Wrong" and "I Could" followed as singles and were hits on the Pop and Adult Contemporary charts respectively. "Coulda Been" was the album's only single not to chart.

Locke released her version of "Up On The Housetop" in Fall 2005 and by the end of year it had reached the top spot of the Adult Contemporary (AC) charts and broke many records, due to its quick rise to the top. The following year, Kimberley's version of "Jingle Bells" was released and topped the same charts. A full Christmas album entitled Christmas — only available digitally — was released on November 6, 2007.

Locke's second album, Based On A True Story, was released on May 1, 2007. The album's original lead single, "Supawoman," co-written with her producers Damon Sharpe and Mark J. Feist, was released to radio on August 7, 2006, however after underwhelming radio support, Curb Records decided to refocus. "Change," was released to radio on January 15, 2007 to positive support and climbed the charts well into the summer of 2007. The album's next single was a cover of Freda Payne's "Band of Gold," which was released to radio on August 13, 2007 and became Locke's 6th solo AC Top 10 hit. The album's third single,"Fall," co-written by Clay Mills was also recorded by country music artist Clay Walker, was released to radio in February 2008. All three singles from this album hit #1 on the Billboard dance club chart.

Kimberley is currently working on her 4th album with producer Randy Jackson .

Songs performed on American Idol

Round Song Choice Original Artist Theme (if any) Result
Audition Over the Rainbow Judy Garland [N/A] Advanced
Hollywood "Band of Gold" (with Frenchie Davis) Freda Payne Group Performances Advanced
Top 32 "Over the Rainbow" Judy Garland Semifinal Group 2 Advanced
Top 12 "Heat Wave" Martha and the Vandellas Motown Bottom 3
Top 11 "Home" Stephanie Mills Movie Hits Safe
Top 10 "I Can't Make You Love Me" Bonnie Raitt Country-Rock Safe
Top 9 "It's Raining Men" Weather Girls Disco Bottom 3
Top 8 "My Heart Will Go On" Celine Dion Billboard #1 Bottom 3
Top 7 "New York State of Mind" Billy Joel Billy Joel Safe
Top 6 "If You Asked Me To" Patti LaBelle Diane Warren Safe
Top 5 "I Heard It Through the Grapevine"
"Where the Boys Are"
Marvin Gaye
Connie Francis
Neil Sedaka
Top 4 "I Just Want to Be Your Everything"
Andy Gibb
Samantha Sang
Bee Gees Bottom 2
Top 3 "Band of Gold"
"Anyone Who Had a Heart"

Freda Payne
Dionne Warwick
Natalie Cole

Judge's Choice
Idol's Choice




Album information
One Love
Based on a True Story
  • Released: November 6, 2007
  • U.S. Sales: 3,000 copies


Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US US Main US AC US Adult US Dance CAN AC
2003 "Silver Bells" (with Clay Aiken) 16 American Idol: Great Holiday Classics
2004 "8th World Wonder" 49 19 6 36 16 One Love
"Wrong" 39
2005 "Coulda Been"
"I Could" 8 18
"Up on the House Top" 1 Christmas
2006 "Jingle Bells" 1
2007 "Change" 6 1 Based on a True Story
"Band of Gold" 9 1 21
"Frosty the Snowman" 1 40 Christmas
2008 "Fall" 17 1 Based on a True Story
"We Need a Little Christmas" 19 Christmas

1 Current single

Other recordings

  • 2003: "Ammon" - New Blues Sessions (backing vocals)
  • 2003: "Over the Rainbow" (American Idol Season 2: All Time Classic American Love Songs)
  • 2003: "God Bless the USA" (along with the other Idols of AI2) (American Idol Season 2: All Time Classic American Love Songs)
  • 2003: "What the World Needs Now" (along with the other Idols of AI2) (American Idol Season 2: All Time Classic American Love Songs)
  • 2003: "The Christmas Song" (American Idol: The Great Holiday Classics)
  • 2003: "O Come, All Ye Faithful" (Group performance) (American Idol: The Great Holiday Classics)
  • 2003: "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" (Group performance) (American Idol: The Great Holiday Classics)
  • 2005: "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes" (DisneyMania 3)
  • 2005: "Wishes" (duet with Peabo Bryson) (Wishes)
  • 2005: "Better Than This" (The Perfect Man movie soundtrack)
  • 2005: "Come Together Now" (Multi-artist charity single) (Come Together Now Collaborative)
  • 2007: "Please Come Home for Christmas" (with Dave Koz on his Memories of a Winter's Night album)
  • 2009: "Let the Fire Burn Hot" (Camille movie soundtrack)
  • 2009: "Lay Down in My Love" (Camille movie soundtrack)

Musical achievements

  • Locke was the first Idol finalist to debut at #1 on the singles sales charts with a non-Idol single ("8th World Wonder").
  • Locke was the second Idol finalist (with Kelly Clarkson) to have two consecutive top-40 hits ("8th World Wonder" and "Wrong")
  • "Up On The Housetop" made the largest leap into the top 5 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart in the chart's history, jumping from #32 to #5 in just one week.
  • "Up On The Housetop" became the fifth song in the history of Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart to reach the top spot in only three weeks. It was the second-longest running holiday-themed chart-topper in the history of the chart (4 weeks), behind Josh Groban's "Believe" (5 weeks).
  • Locke's version of "Jingle Bells" had the highest charting debut week on the Adult Contemporary chart in 2006, debuting at #17. Even though hundreds of artists have recorded the song, Locke's recording was the first to ever top the Billboard AC chart.
  • Entertainment Weekly magazine rated "8th World Wonder" as one of the top five songs to come out of American Idol.
  • Locke's first seven solo single releases in the Adult Contemporary genre reached Billboard's top 10 chart.
  • To date, Locke is the only American Idol finalist to both top Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart with an original song ("Change") and to top the chart on three separate occasions ("Band of Gold", "Fall" ). The only other alumni from the show to top this chart was Jennifer Hudson with her cover of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" from the Dreamgirls musical.
  • To date, Locke is the only recording artist to ever have three #1 Billboard Christmas songs in three consecutive years.

Television career

Whilst pursuing her music career, Locke was also interested in becoming a television star. Since 2005, Locke has featured on many television shows.

In August 2004, Locke was invited to be a guest host on Good Day Live, and was invited back to co-host twice more. In 2005, she was a contestant on the game show, Family Feud, and she hosted Word Slam!, a GSN live game show; an accompanying documentary with Locke aired on that cable channel that September. Throughout the summer of 2005, a proposed reality TV series, Aren't You That Girl?, taped Locke's progress on her second album and preparations for her upcoming wedding. The engagement was later called off and the project was cancelled. During MTV's early fall 2006 lineup, Locke was a judge and co-host on the short lived reality-show competition "The Little Talent Show".

Locke sat in as a guest co-host of The View in March 2007. In April 2008, she also appeared on "Don't Forget the Lyrics!" with her winnings to benefit Camp Heartland. She was the first contestant in the history of the show to attempt the million dollar song. Although unsuccessful, she was awarded $100,000 for ranking so well. Locke vowed she would raise the $400,000 she lost when she unsuccessfully attempted to win the million dollars.

Though featured on several reality TV shows over the years, Kimberley made her acting debut on an episode of Rick & Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World which aired January 6, 2009.

On June 24, 2009, Kimberley became one of the hosts of the talent show Gospel Dream 2009 on Gospel Music Channel, along with Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child fame.

Kimberley has inked a deal with Media Meld Studios to executive produce and host of a new reality competition show called "Making the Curve", in which talented plus size women compete for a spot in a new pop group. . Though she didn't specify which network the show will air, Kimberley announced on a November 27th appearance on Good Day L.A. that the show has been officially picked up.

Celebrity Fit Club: Men vs. Women

In November 2006, VH1 issued a press release confirming that Locke would be a participant on the fifth season of Celebrity Fit Club, which had just begun filming and would continue through March 2007. The show began airing on April 22, 2007. She has been the focused target of derision from fellow cast member Dustin Diamond, who has repeatedly called her "a loser on another show [American Idol]." Later, he says, "She is a nobody...If there were eight of her here, nobody would watch the show." She responded on-camera at a weigh-in ceremony, "Two-faced, backstabbing people who will smile in your face one day and eat you up the next. That's why I don't have anything to do with you...If you even fucking look at me, Dustin. [Because] you talk about losers? Let's talk about 'I'm a fucking child star. Now I've got a porn tape on TV and selling T-shirts to pay for my house note.'" He later walked off the stage. He later offered her a sex toy in the shape of his penis, saying that she "needed one." The ensuing argument caused all other contestants to leave the stage. On June 17, 2007, the season finale of Celebrity Fit Club aired, drawing in 2.7 million viewers, the show's highest yet.

A year after filming wrapped up, Kimberley was photographed at a party with 'Fit Club' trainer Harvey Walden IV and rumors immediately began circulating. In an interview with People Magazine, she stated that she was not in a relationship with Harvey, who had been separated from his wife, as he was in the midst of a divorce and wanted it resolved before getting involved. Once Harvey's divorce was finalized, the two officially became a couple. In a December 2008 interview, Kimberley was asked about possible wedding plans between the two of them. Though no plans are being made, she did say "we're talking about it".

Modeling career & weight loss

From 2005 through September 2006, Locke was signed with Ford Models' 14+ Division. She has appeared on the covers of the July 2005 issue of Figure magazine and the summer 2007 issue of UneQ magazine. She has also been a former spokesperson for Lane Bryant and Seven7 Jeans.

While filming for Celebrity Fit Club, Kimberley chose to follow the Jenny Craig diet plan and had great success. In December 2006, Locke was offered a deal as spokeswoman with Jenny Craig. At the completion of filming for the show, Kimberley weighed in at a final weight of 149 lbs; down a total of 27 lbs. from her original start weight of 176 lbs. A feature in the September 10th issue of People Magazine shows Kimberley at 141 lbs., only 3 pounds away from her goal. Locke announced through her official MySpace blog on October 8, 2007 that she had finally achieved her 40 pound weight loss goal.

In January 2008, Kimberley was featured as the centerfold of Us Weekly's "Diets That Work" issue. The feature counted down the top five celebrity diets of 2007, with Kimberley being named the winner. Ellen DeGeneres was so personally blown away by the feature that she asked Kimberley to be a special guest on an upcoming episode of her popular daytime talk show. The episode taped on January 10, 2008 and aired the following day.

Business career

In 1999, Locke enrolled at Belmont Universitymarker and graduated in August 2001 with a Bachelor's degree of Business Administration in Marketing. In December 2006, Locke, with partners Eric Kupferberg, Liam Harvey and Jim Stake, opened the Croton Creek Steakhouse & Wine Bar, located in Croton Falls, New York.

Charitable Work

Locke has been active in many charities, particularly in raising awareness of HIV/AIDS and Breast cancer. Locke's first exposure to working with children living with HIV/AIDS was through her work with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, which sent her on an 11 day trip through Africa. She then went on to work with other organizations such as YouthAIDS, the Davy Foundation and Camp Heartland In recognition of her extensive charitable efforts as an HIV/AIDS activist, Locke was presented with the Red Ribbon award on November 9, 2007. "The Red Ribbon Award is done for someone in the community that advocates AIDS awareness, and especially HIV awareness," said press liaison Chris Prouty. "They want to pinpoint one specific person and get the community involved in the accolades and a congratulatory celebration." At a news conference prior to her performance that night, Locke gave an acceptance speech. "All the kids [at Camp Heartland] have a great story, and that's what I've chosen to be a part of. It's the old cliché: kids are our future." She appeared on a Celebrity episode of Don't Forget The Lyrics to raise money for Camp Heartland and vowed to raise another $400,000 for the charity by the end of 2008.

In October 2007, Locke teamed up with General Mills to introduce the 'Pink For A Cure' campaign to promote awareness of breast cancer in the African American community. "My aunt is a breast cancer survivor. So, as someone whose family has been directly touched by this disease, I'm very passionate about getting people talking more about their health," said Locke.

Locke is also a member of the Entertainment Council of Feeding Americamarker, the nation's leading hunger-relief organization.


Awards and nominations

New Music Awards

  • 2005: Nominated - Female Adult Contemporary Artist Of The Year

Teen Choice Awards

  • 2003: Nominated - Choice TV Reality/Variety Star - Female
  • 2004: Nominated - Favorite Love Song - "8th World Wonder"

References in pop culture

See also


  1. Locke, Kimberley. "A New Blog At Last", Gay Web Source, September 4, 2009.
  2. Barnes, Ken. "Idols On The Album Chart", USA Today, December 10, 2008.
  3. Bronson, Fred. "Housetop of the Pops", Billboard Magazine, December 29, 2005.
  4. Bronson, Fred. "He Also Walks the Line", Billboard Magazine, November 30, 2006.
  5. Bronson, Fred. "Jingle All the Way", Billboard Magazine, December 14, 2006.
  6. Bronson, Fred. "Locked", Billboard Magazine, May 11, 2007.
  7. Curb, Mike. "Billboard Awards",
  8. Stiletto Entertainment "Kimberley Locke Models For Lane Bryant", June 29, 2005.
  9. "Preview New Rick & Steve Episode: House of Race Cards",
  10. Locke, Kimberley. "A New Blog At Last", Gay Web Source, September 4, 2009.
  11. Edwards, Martha "Celebrity Fit Club 5 Cast Announced", "That's Fit", November 20, 2006.
  12. Ho, Rodney "Kelly, charts, Fit Club", The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Idol Blog, May 9, 2007.
  13. Triggs, Charlotte "Celebrity Fit Club Love: Kimberley Locke Dating Her Trainer", People Magazine, January 10, 2008
  14. Heldenfels, Rich "American Idol Finalists On Christmas Tour", The Akron Beacon Journal, December 17, 2008
  15. Extra "Kimberley Locke's New Years Resolution" December 22, 2006
  16. O'Neill, Jennifer "The Us Diet Winners!", Us Weekly, January 14, 2008 p.54
  17. Larson, Kris. "Locke 'Sparkles' at Benefit", Bay Area Reporter, November 15, 2007.
  18. "Kimberley Locke Joins the Pink Together Cause", October 4, 2007.
  20. YouTube - Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married?, August 17, 2007

External links

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