|Published:||Jan 24, 2013 10:53 PM EST|
|Updated:||Jan 25, 2013 1:50 AM EST|
NAPLES, Fla - It's a story of a hometown boy who has captured the entire nation. Last week, 22 year old Lazaro Arbos stunned the judges on American Idol.
The Gulf Coast High School grad has a severe stutter when he talks, but is flawless when he sings.
Lazaro is in Naples, but has a strict contract with American Idol so he is not allowed to do interviews, but WINK News sat down with his vocal coach, Maria Bruewer, and pastor, Dave Gipson. They both say all this attention and success couldn't have happened to a better person.
Lazaro has stuttered since he was six, but last week America found out his voice is one of a kind.
"It really couldn't have happened to a better person," says Pastor Gipson.
Lazaro worked at Rita's Ice in Naples before auditioning for American Idol. Known around the community as 'Rae,' he attends Legacy Church of Naples religiously.
"The thing about Rae is he is very unassuming, while he's excited about all the attention, he not arrogant. He's very casual about it," says Pastor Gipson.
His stutter is what grabbed America's attention, but those who know him say he's never been upset about it.
"It's who he is," says Maria. "It's a part of who he is and he's such a delightful person you don't even notice it after you get to know him."
After auditioning in Chicago, Lazaro reached out to Maria for voice lessons. "What you see is a very natural God given talent," says Maria.
At this point we only know Lazaro makes it to Hollywood, but Maria has high hopes for her student.
"I think he can go all the way," says Maria. "There's no doubt in my mind. He has the ambition, he has the look. The camera loves him and his voice is very unusual and very soulful."
Lazaro's audition on YouTube has more than 1.6 million views and he has more than 11,000 twitter followers.
"Some girl stopped him, looked at him and started crying just boom, started crying because she recognized him so he's getting that kind of reaction when people see him around Naples," says Gipson.
Lazaro will be in Naples for the next few weeks before he heads to Hollywood.