Over the last few years, WGNA has showcased some of the best talent in the Northeast at Country Idol at Vapor in Saratoga Casino and Raceway. Leon Thomas is the latest Country Idol contestant to use the show as a launching pad for a career in music.

Meet 2011 Country Idol contestant Leon Thomas

How Do you think participating in GNA’s Vapor Country Idol prepared you for a music career?

Every chance you get to sing on stage just makes you that much more confident in your abilities and if you are smart will learn something every time from the audience.   WGNA's Country Idol is competitive and it gave me a chance to see where my strong and weak points were.  The judges gave great advice on how stage presence can make or break an artist.  Before entering in the Country Idol contest I had won entry into the North American Country Music Association national finals by winning Male vocalist and Male entertainer of the year in the Tennessee Country Music Association State Finals.  I used my experience and what I learned from the audience and judges when I competed in the National finals.

When did you make the decision to move to Nashville and pursue music?

I ended up winning Male Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year in the North American Country Music Association National Finals in Tennessee a few weeks after the WGNA Country Idol contest I competed in(one of the songs I sang was the one I performed in Country Idol...But I did do it a lot better in Tennessee(thanks for the advice :-).  That win got me noticed by some producers in Nashville.  I met -with a few different producers who gave me great advice on the country music industry and what I needed to do to get my foot in the door.  So I took their advice and went a step further,  I started writing my own songs and in 6 months had cut my debut cd "Never No More" with 9 original songs I wrote and 1 song written by Katie Cox at Silverwings Studios with engineer Brad Martin.  The next move was simple.... Go to the country music capital and chase your dream!

And, so far so good.  I have had my music played on radio stations here in Tennessee and am now looking to spread even further with radio play.

If you could open for any star who would you pick and why?

That's easy..even though I am a fan of many country artists i would have to say.... Brad Paisley!  I think he is one of the greatest country artists of all time.  I am definitely one of his biggest fans.

How would you describe your music?

I would say my music is country with a little rock edge to it. I write about my own life experiences and my emotions so when the songs are done they have strong feeling or meaning.  Taking life experiences and turning them into a song gives great pleasure to any songwriter so that's what I try to do.  When I am writing the music for some lyrics I try to let the lyrics pick the path of the tune.  Every time I am putting music to lyrics I know when the right tune is there,  You can feel the lyrics get stronger just by the tune you put to them.

What is your ultimate goal for a successful music career?

That's a tough one because as long as I am making a career out of something I love doing that is all that matters.  Of course you want to keep getting better and keep moving forward.  I guess when I close my eyes and think of where I want to be I picture singing in from of thousands of screaming fans and making them feel good through music I wrote.