Daily Herald
Local 'Idol' finalist DeWyze got his start pushing porridge
By Sheila Ahern | Daily Herald Staff
Published: 3/23/2010 12:46 PM | Updated: 3/23/2010 3:51 PM

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Lee DeWyze wasn't always rock 'n roll. Two years ago, he was more Farmer Brown.

That's when the American Idol finalist helped out the wife of a fellow band member and recorded six songs to promote Square One Organic baby foods.

"When we asked him, he never batted an eye and jumped right in," said Denise Henderson, of River Forest. "He was so great. Now my kids and I watch him on American Idol and it's just so weird."

DeWyze met Henderson's husband, Jeff, about five years ago, when Jeff was asked to join the Lee DeWyze Band along with two other musicians. Lee handles the lead vocals and guitar, while Jeff plays the keyboard, bass guitar and harmonica.

The band has played at bars and festivals all over the Chicago area, including Rib Fest in Naperville and the Abbey Pub in Chicago. And it when it comes to promoting organic baby food, DeWyze is the lead singer as well.

On Henderson's compact disc, DeWyze takes the lead on "Vitamin A," "Parent's Wish" and "Greens," where he plays the part of Farmer Brown. He's a background singer on the other three songs "Porridge," "Vitamin C" and "5 Day Trial."

DeWyze and his bandmates each earned $10, and a huge thank you from Denise Henderson for their time.

If the compact disc ever makes money, they'll probably get a little more, she said.

"It shows their commitment and support of us, each other and their music," Henderson said. "I mean look what they made out of a bunch of research on nutrition. It's amazing and was so cool to witness."

DeWyze also helped write many of the songs, she said.

Henderson passes out the music along with free samples of baby food to parents throughout the suburbs. So far she's has handed out about 4,000 CDs and has ordered another 1,000.

Square One baby food is sold at independent grocery stores in Chicago and many Chicago suburbs or online at squareoneorganics.com.

"It was so nice of Lee to use his God-given musical talents to help us out," Henderson said.

DeWyze, 23, of Mount Prospect, is one of the 11 finalists on American Idol. One contestant will be voted off the show on Thursday.