Morgantown’s Cody Clayton Eagle earns spot on ‘American Idol’

MORGANTOWN — At 17, only four years after picking up a guitar, Cody Clayton Eagle is experiencing an opportunity that many musicians have dreamed of.
The Morgantown native received a golden ticket from “American Idol” judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan and will soon head out to Hollywood to compete in the ABC series. Viewers caught a glimpse of the moment during Sunday’s show.
“It was really cool,” Eagle said of the New York auditions. “I got to walk up and shake their hands and talk to them a little bit. I sang one of my original songs I’m getting ready to release. It’s called ‘I Will Sing.’ And then I sang ‘Broken Halos’ by Chris Stapleton as well.
“Lionel Richie loved it how I put ‘I Will Sing’ together. Katy Perry gave me a couple of corrections. She said to sing with a little bit more ooomph in your voice, be a little bit more confident whenever you sing. Luke Bryan said that he loved it, and I definitely look forward to meeting Luke Bryan again. He’s one of my biggest stars I have that I always listen to.”
But the path that led Eagle to the moment he said is one he “could probably never have dreamed of” began with a rocky start.
At 8, the avid athlete — who participated in cross country, football, baseball and basketball — broke his hip.
“He had 18 months of recovery,” said his father David. “No running, no jumping. He was in a wheelchair for a little while. He could swim, but that was about all. So we tried baseball card collecting, and then my wife bought him a guitar for his birthday. He played it for a little while, and then he got back to being able to move again, playing sports and kinda gave up the guitar.”
It wasn’t until a few months later, when Cody’s second hip broke that he got serious about the instrument.
What doctors first thought may have been bone cancer turned out to be slipped capital femoral epiphysis, which is a fracture through the growth plate and is the most common hip disorder in adolescence.
“He was just growing so quickly,” David said.
The second break meant no more sports. That’s when Cody’s mom discovered PopShop, a nonprofit music performance academy in Morgantown. Students develop their skills through group lessons, playing popular music styles. At the end of a session, bands perform a concert at area venues such as 123 Pleasant Street.

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