SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – She’s a Californian who sang her way into living rooms across the country during Season 15 of “American Idol.” Now, Avalon Young is facing a different kind of music.
The San Diego native is battling a brain tumor, and for the second time in almost as many months, will undergo surgery Thursday at UC San Diego to remove it. Young, 26, found out just weeks ago that the tumor is cancerous.
But not even that is stopping her from dropping a new album June 1 or seeing what she calls the “humor in the tumor.”
“My favorite part about having cancer is all of my medications make me lose so much weight that I can eat whatever I want,” she said. “I can eat McDonald’s every day and still lose weight. I love not having hair. It’s the best feeling in the world. I shower quicker than anybody I know and I can dye it any color I want and shave it off the next week.”
Young said there’s also been positives in her hospital visits.
“The best part of being in the hospital: pudding and jello whenever you need it,” she said. “The bathroom is so close to the bed. You know in the middle of the night when you’re at home and you don’t want to wake up and walk all the way to the bathroom?”
Recently, Young had the opportunity to speak with singer and former “American Idol” judge Harry Connick Jr. The call came when she was laying in bed with her roommates and watching a movie.
“I pick it up and it’s, ‘Avalon, it’s Harry Connick Jr.'” she said. “The first thing I’m thinking is how? This can’t be real. How do I know this is Harry Connick Jr.? I said, ‘How do you know me? Prove it.’ He said, ‘From ‘American Idol,’ what do you think?'”
She continues: “I could hear his laugh and his talk and I was like alright this has gotta be him. He was just asking about music and how I’ve been doing and how I’ve been keeping up. He told me that he and his family are praying for me, and it’s really awesome to see someone that famous just spend the time to give me a call and tell me that he’s hoping that I’m OK.”
Young is scheduled to undergo radiation and chemotherapy following the surgery to get rid of the remaining portions of the tumor. And none of it is slowing her down.
Set to be released on streaming platforms including iTunes and Spotify, her new six-track album is called “Lush.” She called it some of the best music she’s ever made.
“‘Lush’ is just something, it kind of started out as a joke between my friends and I,” she said. “It’s a word they use in the U.K., but to us it’s just like live a lush life. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful. It’s incredible and I feel like that is really important to me in this moment to remember.”