He passed on the chance to play a singing cowboy in a movie and resisted the urge to cash in on the notoriety he earned from his Academy Award-winning song "The Weary Kind," the theme to the film "Crazy Heart." Instead, he has decided to use the fame to help homeless kids in the Los Angeles area.
Bingham and his band, The Dead Horses, will host a benefit for nonprofit homeless advocate StandUp For Kids in Santa Monica, Calif., on Sunday.
It's not a star-studded event and it's not supposed to be. It will focus on homeless youth in the area and highlight their talent as musicians and artists.
Before the 29-year-old scored his record deal, Bingham lived in a Chevy Suburban with his drummer, Matthew Smith, and lived nickel to nickel when he first moved to Los Angeles. Had it not been for the kindness of friends, like "Napoleon Dynamite" actor Jon Gries, who invited Bingham to stay with him for a while, he has no doubt he would have ended up on the streets.
"After going and spending a lot of time in Venice and L.A. and seeing all these homeless kids, I can just kind of relate to them," Bingham said. "Man, we could've so easily been there."