Former Athlete Finds Right Path

The Early Show, New York City's Chris "Breeze" Barczynski won Friday night's "Star Search" Adult Singer preliminary round
CBS/The Early Show
New York City's Chris "Breeze" Barczynski won Friday night's "Star Search" Adult Singer preliminary round.

"I can't even describe it, really. I wasn't nervous until I saw how the judges were treating everybody that night. It was a little intimidating. And I got out there and I just, I said you know, you do this just about every day of your life. Just go out and do the best you can," he said on The Early Show.

Barczynski was up second, singing Edwin McCain's ballad "I'll Be" and accompanying himself on the guitar. "Great connection with the crowd," commented Ben Stein when Barczynski had finished. But overall the judges were being tough. Ahmet Zappa gave him a two.

"Well, it's unfortunate. He has no idea how hard I've struggled and what I've gone through in my life to get to this point, the things I've given up," Barczynski said.

Nevertheless, Barczynski got one more star (13 stars) than his competitor Lakiya. The home audience upheld the judges' decision (15 stars). With 28 stars, "Breeze" Barczynski won the Adult Singer category and will return for the Semifinals next Friday, March 14.

Oddly enough, he said he never had aspirations of playing music; his dream was to be an athlete. "But you know, I think I've found what I'm supposed to do in this world right now," he said.

Since the age of seven Barczynski' dream was to play football. He played all through high school.

His nickname "Breeze" came from his ability to run fast. Barczynski tried out for the NFL, but was not accepted.

"I went to a free agent scouting up in Chicago and unfortunately none of the teams called. But I got a call from a league in England. And four days later I was there," he said.

He played on that team for two years until he received an extremely serious knee injury and was forced to quit. That was twelve years ago. Barczynski came back to the United States devastated and depressed.

"It was 17 years of my life was just gone in an instant, you know. And had to find something else. And you know, I changed my major I was going to teach and coach football, but I eventually got into music, and thought this was something I'd like to pursue and little by little, you know, about eight years ago I decided to do it full time and live like a dog," he said laughing.

Currently Barczynski plays solo acoustic several times a week at small venues and bartends.

His idols are Otis Redding, Marvin Gaye, Jeff Buckley, and Barczynski Cornell. He hopes to be as big as them one day. For now, he hopes to perform at a much higher level for the semifinal round, he said. He said he is nervous for the semifinal round and will take the next week to practice, write, and sort through new material to sing.

If he wins the $100,000, he said he will pay bills and do something nice for his family.

Winners of the semifinal round will compete with the Semi-Final winners from Feb. 28 in the finals on March 19.