Early life and career
Bice, the son of Harold and Nancy Bice, was born at Huntsville Hospital. His grandmother gave him the nickname "Bogart" as an infant because his eyes reminded her of actor Humphrey Bogart. After his mother remarried (Earle Downs, a Coca-Cola executive) the family moved several times, including several years in London, England.
Bice, who had won a singing competition at the age of 13, heavily pursued music as a student at London Central High School (operated by the United States Department of Defense). He formed a band called "Spinning Jenny" before dropping out of school in his junior year to move back to Alabama in 1993.
After earning his GED, Bice completed an associates degree at Calhoun Community College in 1997 and enrolled for one semester at the University of North Alabama in Florence. Meanwhile he continued performing in nightclubs across the United States and Europe. He was a member of several touring bands, including Purge, Blue Sued Nickel, and his own Sugar Money.
In 2001 and 2003, Bice was charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana, but had the charges dismissed when he completed a "drug diversion program" in 2003. While working at the Guitar Gallery in Pelham he met Caroline Fisher, a waitress at Hoover's Ragtime Cafe, and became an active member of New Hope Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
In 2005 Bice successfully auditioned for American Idol in Orlando. He left his day job at Guitar Gallery in Pelham to go to Hollywood for the competition (which had raised its age limit from 26 to 28).
Encouraged to audition after American Idol raised its maximum age for contestants to 28, Bice impressed the judges with his performance of the Allman Brothers' song "Whipping Post". He was among the top contenders all season and adopted Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" as his "theme". The group joined him on stage for a performance of the song during the season. Bice stood out from the other contestants by electing to perform a cappella in the final show, narrowly losing the last ballot to Carrie Underwood. As he later told Rolling Stone, his final thought before the announcement was "Please, God, don't let me win this thing."
Signed to RCA Records, Bice's first single, "Inside Your Heaven" debuted at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. He sang a song with Willie Nelson at a concert at the Alabama Theatre and was invited by Nelson to perform at Farm Aid. Bice also appeared on Carlos Santana's 2005 album All That I Am.
On June 15, 2005, Bice married Caroline. Their first child, Aidan Michael, was born on September 24 of that year. Two more sons, Caleb James and Ean Jacob, were born on August 5, 2008 and January 22, 2010, respectively.
On July 31, 2005, Bice broke his foot while performing with other American Idol finalists on tour in Manchester, New Hampshire. On August 18, after suffering from stomach pain for months, he underwent emergency intestinal surgery to remove a blockage. During his absence from the tour, fellow contestants Anwar, Nikko, Scott, Anthony and Constantine sang "Sweet Home Alabama" and wore Bo Bice T-shirts. Bice returned to the tour for the final two concerts in Syracuse, New York.
Bice's solo debut album, The Real Thing, was released on December 13, 2005. It sold around 227,000 copies in its first week and opened at #4, the sixth-highest opening for a debut album by an American Idol finalist to that date.
Bice currently resides in Nashville. Country Music Television aired an hour-long program about his "post-Idol" life and the recording of The Real Thing in January 2006. Through that Spring he alternated between public appearances and hospital stays as intestinal issues continued to plague him. He was dropped from RCA Records in 2007.
In 2008 Bice made two trips to perform for U. S. troops in Kuwait and Afghanistan.
- Purge (1999) Ex Gratia
- Sugar Money (2000) Recipe for Flavor
- Bice, Bo (2005) The Real Thing. RCA Records
- Bice, Bo (2007) See the Light. Sugar Money/StratArt
- Bice, Bo (2010) Bo Bice 3. Saguaro Road/Sugar Money
- Thomas, Ronnie (March 29, 2005) "Stepdad Downes recalls years Idol contender spent overseas". Decatur Daily.
- "Idol" Finalist Dodged Cocaine, Pot Raps on The Smoking Gun
- Associated Press. (June 30, 2005) "'American Idol' runner-up Bo Bice marries". USA Today
- Welch, Chris (April 26, 2010) "Bo Bice content with his life, excited about release of third album." Huntsville Times
- Bo Bice (April 27, 2010) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia - accessed April 28, 2010