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Finance Manager, Saturn dealership, Fredericksburg, VA
Married to Ruth
Two children: Elijah, and a second child due in May 2004
Anthony grew up in a Christian home and gave his life to the Lord at an early age. Even though he was part of his church choir, Anthony was not interested in performing outside the church. In high school, he was accidentally placed in a choir class instead of a metal workshop. "I thought choir class was for sissies," he says. His choir teacher, also a church member, encouraged young Anthony to make the best of the situation. "It was then that I realized that I really did have talent," says Anthony.
Anthony later got involved with a group of young students from local community churches called "Believers Because." Every spring they would work on a musical and tour each summer, travelling from church to church. As a young man, Anthony sang in weddings and performed in local community theaters. "I never really had direction in my life," Anthony says. "Music was just something I did for fun."
As he grew older, Anthonys relationship with the Lord grew cold. "I didnt understand what commitment was and I strayed from my faith," he says. "I was searching to find myself." He was partying and drinking but knew in his heart something was missing. Anthony started working in the car business and ran into tough times. "I knew I needed to find God again," he says. So he looked for a church, and when he found one, Anthony recommitted his life to the Lord.
The girl he was dating at the time was not interested in attending church. She said that it wasnt that she didnt believe in Christianity, but she just didnt want it "shoved" in her face. Anthony continued attending church and his girlfriend discovered he wasnt around on Sunday mornings. He was in church!
One day in 1994, Anthony's girlfriend agreed to go to church with him and soon gave her life to the Lord. Anthony knew he wanted to marry a Christian girl and raise his family just like he was raised, so he married his girlfriend, Ruth, in May 1997. Today they have one child, Elijah, and a second on the way.
A Big Break
Anthony is one of four children. His older sister, Alice, heard about the NBC Today Show contest one morning. Anthony was reluctant to send a demo tape. "I just knew they wouldnt be interested in me and thought they already had a winner picked out," he says. Alice and the other siblings insisted that he record an audition tape and send it in. NBC received over 6,000 demos.
Anthony was on the way to his in-laws church to sing when he got the phone call: he made it to the top 100. The producers of the show discussed the possibility of Anthony being one of the final eight contestants. (Two performers were eliminated each week by audience vote via the Internet.) When he made it to the final four, Anthonys church, Chancellor Baptist Church, displayed the Today Show on a large-screen TV. NBC TV crews came to Anthonys hometown and were panning the crowds, some of whom were holding up congratulatory messages. Church viewers carried posters with messages like "We Love You, Anthony" and wore T-shirts with his name decorated on them.
Anthony talked about his faith, his wife, his son, and his church openly during his interviews. In the final round, only 10,000 votes separated Anthony from his competitor, Ryan Rothe. When Katie Couric announced his name as the top vocalist, Anthony said he couldnt believe it. As the winner of the contest, Anthony received a recording session with Warner Brothers Records, which could lead to a record contract. Today hes putting together a career in music, but there have been no major offers yet. (Anthony is a Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and when the team found out, they asked him to sing the National Anthem at one of their games!)
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