CHICAGO (WLS) -- This weekend, "American Idol" features a singer from northwest suburban Algonquin who is hoping to impress the judges and move forward on the ABC show.
Kaeyra grew up performing at Chicago's Polish festivals, and said she's proud of her heritage and her talent.
The daughter of Polish immigrants, Kaeyra spent time every day at her mom's music school in Schaumburg. She's done the local circuit from sporting events to Lollapalooza and clubs, and now, the 21-year-old is now ready for "Idol."
Kaeyra says she always knew she wanted to be a musician: "I was in a band when I was 12, I played bass and sang. I just remember the first time I was on stage and I was, 'Yup, this is what I'm going to do for the rest of my life.' So, no matter what happens, I know that this is the only way. It's always going to be music."
Kaeyra gives a lot of credit for her determination to her immigrant parents: "It's the reason why I'm so hardworking: seeing how hard they are working, coming from Poland and making their own businesses, and just making it work, learning the language along the way. Just seeing their work ethic and making connections."
"It's the foundation of my life and my career, so it really shaped me, who I am, and it's just so inspiring, especially in Chicago, there's a huge Polish community and population," she added. "I always made these sacrifices and I feel like it's gonna be worth it. At the time it felt like the end of the world, not going to my prom or not going to homecoming, but now looking back, I'm so glad I did that because it definitely shaped me, to be who I am."
She shared how she felt the first time she stepped in front of the Idol judges.
"Standing in front of judges you've admired and listened to your whole life, it's nerve-wracking," she said. "And also being around all the contestants, it's more inspiring than anything."
For all those who are cheering her on from both near and far, Kaeyra said: "I'm just so thankful, it's crazy to think that when I was 12 and performing in those little Polish festivals, and Polish concerts that I would be here and seeing the amount of people supporting me."
"I feel like I'm in a place now where I'm ready for it, I'm excited for this new chapter and excited to see what it will bring.