BAMBERG, S.C. (WJBF)– “He’s anointed, and when he sings, you can feel it. I don’t care if he’s singing ABC,123 or if he’s singing Jesus Loves Me, you’re going to feel it,” said Pastor Shawn Hanks of Colston Baptist Church.

Family and friends say it’s by God’s grace that a singer like Warren Peay has made it this far in the American Idol competition. 

Peay is a Bamberg native, who is hoping to make his way to the top 7 as a contestant.

Those who know him say his love for music goes back years.

His pastor Shawn Hanks says he’s come a long way during this journey. 

“He had an itch to do this several years ago. I talked with him, and I really honestly didn’t feel like he was ready. Then, when he got contacted by American Idol to do this, I knew, then, God was ready him,” said Pastor Hanks.

Peay auditioned for American Idol back in March, and he says he hopes to be an inspiration to the world on and off the stage. 

“I like to be able to mesh everything together in order to create my own unique sound, to have lyrics that are meaningful, and to have a personality and morals that are meaningful that would line up with my faith,” said Warren Peay.

“I mean, he’s no put on. He’s no fake. I’ve been around music a lot in my little bit of time on this earth, and I’ve traveled and sang with a group. I’ve been around big groups, and a lot of people don’t live what they’re singing about. Warren does that,” said Hanks.

Hanks also says that no matter how far Peay goes in the competition, the experience for both him and his family was well worth it.

“So if the top 10 is where it ends, we’re giving God praise. If he goes to the top eight and he keeps going, whatever God has in store, he’s gone a whole lot farther than anyone ever thought he would in the first place. We know he would, but the world will see him,” said Hanks.

Peay has now made it to the Top 8 of American Idol.