What Happened to Idol's Dreadlocked Jason Castro?

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DALLAS -- He may not have taken the crown, but fans of "American Idol" still remember former contestant Jason Castro for his dreadlocks and carefree sound. He scored big on the show, making it all the way to the top four.

After leaving Idol in 2008, Castro quickly scored a No. 1 international hit. Then he disappeared from the charts and the pop music scene, leaving fans with questions: What happened? Why the switch to Christian music?

And perhaps the biggest question of all: What's up with the haircut?

"Well, I felt like it was time for a change. Once I cut it I'm like, 'Oh, this is what it feels like to run your fingers through your hair,'" Castro laughed.

But that hair cut wasn't the only big change for the 27-year-old. 

Even with all the fans and fame, loneliness began to take a toll. Although Castro grew up in church, the separation from family developed into a growing separation from God. He also struggled physically with exhaustion.

A New Sound

Then came the faith questions.

"It started to feel a little meaningless. Why am I doing this? To make a name for myself? To make some money? I started to really have a longing to have more God in my life," Castro said.

"I struggled to stay close to God on the road. I wanted more God in my life and as a part of that I wanted more God in my music," he continued.

"I got to this point where I realized God doesn't want me to do anything on my own. He wants me to give it all to Him and trust Him with everything. And you know it really changed everything for me to kind of let go of everything and realize that God can take care of it," Castro reflected.

Around the same time Castro became involved with the I Am Second campaign, a popular ministry in which Christian celebrities share their personal stories. He found new success with the release of his first Christian album, Only a Mountain.

Today Castro tours with some of the biggest names in Christian music such as Matthew West, Toby Mac, and The Sidewalk Prophets.

Renewed Purpose

But perhaps his greatest accomplishment is as husband and father.

"She really changed everything," Castro said of his 2-year-old daughter Madeline. "I didn't know she would change it. More than anything I want to be a part of her life and I want her to know her daddy loves her more than just a song."

This isn't a story about a young man going to Hollywood and getting lost in the glitz and glamour. Instead, Castro is using Hollywood to spread the love of God around the globe.

Castro hasn't abandoned his American Idol past. Rather, he uses the platform to give back to others.

He spends much of his time overseas working as spokesperson for the charities Malaria No More and helping with Roma Boots, a nonprofit providing boots to children in need.

"When I see these kids in need I have a deeper connection because I look at them and I see my daughter," Castro told CBN News.

"I remember on the trip there was one kid that was like the same size as my daughter and he had on a little sweatshirt, no pants," he said. "We gave him some rain boots. Now he has some shoes."

Castro recently led a benefit concert for Young Life Capernaum, a group that specializes in meeting the social, physical, and spiritual needs of young people with special needs.

And when not on tour, he's singing with his talented siblings. His brother Michael and sister Jackie have a strong following with solo careers of their own.

Castro siblings Jason, Jackie and Michael cover "Rising Sun" by All Sons & Daughters.

So is there a chance for a Castro family album? We'll have to wait and see.

As for the future Castro said," I don't know what the future holds for Jason, but there will always be music."

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