Kris Allen (Kristopher Neil Allen) (born June 21, 1985 in Jacksonville, Arkansas, US) is the winner of the popular television series 'American Idol' Season 8, from Conway, Arkansas. Kris' passion for music began when he taught himself to play the guitar at age 13, and he has since learned the piano, viola and ukulele. His talents and soulful voice have given him the opportunity to perform at numerous music venues as well as the chance to share his gifts and faith with many of the underprivileged and oppressed people of the world. His travels to Spain, Morocco, Thailand, Burma, Mozambique and South Africa have influenced his music and inspired him to share it with others. Kris debuted his first full-length CD, "Brand New Shoes", in September 2007. The album spotlights his musical capabilities in songwriting, guitar, piano and vocals. Kris is known for his laid-back and unassuming personality, yet his music is full of depth, energy and soul. Some of his influences include Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Matchbox 20, and John Legend. On 20 May 2009, Kris Allen was crowned the champion of American Idol 2009.