It was quiet.
Hours after meeting Gov. John Bel Edwards and other elected officials, followed by a deafening pep rally at French Settlement High in front of a few hundred screaming fans, this was where Laine Hardy wanted to be most — sitting on a boat, floating down the river, hanging with his older brother Kyle.
Just like they used to, when Hardy’s life was much quieter than it is now.
“A good day on the water,” Kyle said at Blood River Landing in Springfield on May 15, the same day his little brother returned to Louisiana for a rockstar homecoming tour. “It was just me and Laine out there. Just peace and quiet. We did a little bit of fishing and sitting and picked up the guitar for a while. Just enjoyed ourselves.”
The river is where Hardy enjoys himself most, and it’s where the majority of the second episode of “An American Idol Story: Laine Hardy” takes place.
After giving fans an inside look of the first few days after he was crowned the Season 17 winner of American Idol — which included appearances on “Good Morning America,” “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” and “The View” — the behind-the-scenes web series brought Hardy back home to his Louisiana roots for the second episode.
And for Hardy, being home means being on the water.
“The one thing I miss the most when I’m gone from Louisiana is the river,” Hardy said in the episode that aired July 12. “You’re in the middle of nowhere on a little boat, and you can’t hear nothing but the wind and boat motor.”
“It’s our peace of mind to get away from everything,” Kyle said of being on the water.
Unlike the first episode, which featured only interviews with Hardy, there are several other speakers in the second episode, including Kyle and their parents Cindy and Barry.
The episode gives viewers a look at where Hardy grew up — the backwoods of Livingston Parish, where the quiet boy could be found riding a gas-powered four-wheeler one moment and strumming on his guitar the next.
“Laine was very quiet, reserved, private,” Cindy Hardy said. “I was actually worried about him when he was little because he didn’t like to talk.”
That slowly changed when Cindy and Barry bought their youngest son a guitar when he was 6.
“He’d run in off the four-wheeler, pick [the guitar] up and bang, bang, bang, out a few notes, set it down and take back off again,” Barry Hardy said.
He still has a guitar, but life is much different now for Hardy.
The 18-year-old performer was part of a star-studded lineup that took the stage in Washington, D.C., for PBS’ annual “A Capitol Fourth” celebration on July 4. He’ll take the stage with his fellow Idol finalists in Seattle on July 20 before playing a show in Fort Worth, Texas, six days later.
Whenever it gets to be too much, Hardy thinks of home.
“Being from Louisiana keeps me grounded,” Laine said. “Being away, I’m still connected. I grew up here. I’m always gonna be the same person. It’s pretty cool to do all the stuff I’ve been able to do, but it just feels lonely being away from home. I always think about it, and that’s what keeps me going. Because I know it’s gonna be here when I get back.
“I’m just a Louisiana boy.”
The second episode of “An American Idol Story: Laine Hardy” can be viewing by clicking here.