Remember American Idol contestant, Camille Valesco?  Idol went to Hawaii to audition hopefuls in season 3, and Camile was one of two (3rd place finisher, Jasmine Trias was the other) island natives to make the Top 12.

The singer, who impressed the judges with a Lauryn Hill cover, was eliminated in 9th place with an earsplitting rendition of Elton John’s “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”  that is widely considered one of the worst trainwreck performances of the entire series. Listen if you dare. Sads, I could only find audio on You Tube.

Anyhoo. Camile spent the last 8 years in California trying to break into the business, and it has not been easy.  Things got so tough at one point, she was making sandwiches at a Subway shop.  

Twenty-seven years old now, the singer is back in Hawaii where she hopes to record and release an independent album, according to this recent interview with KHON 2.

Camile had a couple of record deals–a singles deal with Motown, and eventually moved on to a hip hop label. She worked with  Kalib Kweli, Stephen Marley and recorded a demo for Cee Lo Green.

The singer had a full album of songs completed, but the record label hasn’t put it out yet. Now, she’s back in Hawaii going independent. Camile plans to release an album this summer.

“I am writing my own songs doing a couple of covers and collaborating with a few other producers and song writers,” she says.

Check out the news clip, where you can hear a snip of a recent performance. Her vibe is soulful, similar to singers lie Amy Winehouse–a sound that’s a better fit in today’s music scene than it was in 2004.

 
  • http://twitter.com/jepriy Jepoy Ramos

    I love her!

  • Niall

    I’m glad she’s still working towards her dream. She’s obviously dealt with a lot of label difficulty and other roadblocks that don’t have much to do with talent. She’s another youngster who might have fared better on AI a few seasons later.

  • http://twitter.com/Paul_Dickens Paul Dickens

    I always loved her, it was obvious from her elimination version of ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road’ that she was nervous kind of like Julia DeMato, once they got to the top 12 and the live shows the pressure and sheer magnitude of what was happening to them gave them stage fright.

  • Kitwana

    That Daily Beast slideshow about what former American Idol contestants are doing should make all former contestants be more careful with the money they make from the show. So many of these former contestants talked about having financial struggles, it was depressing. Not just Camille working at Subway but Ace using his own money ($250,000) to put out his own album and suffering a loss. Never use your own money guys. If you can’t get a label, use your fans money. Save your own money to live on.

    The Forbes Top 10 American Idol Earners list really leaves the wrong impression as to what happens to contestants. The last time the list came out (2011), #10 was $1 million. However, most Idol contestants make far less and some really struggle to get by.

    MJ, on an unrelated note, can you find out what happened to the 2012 Forbes list? As I recall, the lists use to come out in June/July and cover the 12 previous months. Nothing in June/July 2012 though. I would love to know who made it to the Top 10 for 2012.

  • http://www.facebook.com/beaugard.stevens Beaugard Stevens

    I hope things go well with her, I liked her.  I am still not sure why in the world she picked that song choice on Elton John week, it didn’t fit her at all- Simon was brutal to her that week, saying it was the end of the road and to pack her bags.  It was very rough.  She has a great voice though

  • http://twitter.com/avrohama aj rabin

    Not every idol contestant from every year can make it. That’s unfortunate but that’s the reality. I feel bad for Camile and many other idols like her. The problem for them is that after a few years of more seasons and more contestants the ones that placed worse then 7th place get forgotten.

  • XoLuv2SingOx

    she’s one of those people who might benefit from auditioning for the voice, so she can re-gain her fan base and put out an album! she has a great voice…it’s a shame she didn’t achieve much success.

  • Kitwana

    AJ: I would put it stronger than saying that not every Idol contestant from every year can make it. I would say that most do not make it and while they might be able to suppement their income through their music, cannot survive on music earnings alone. Like I said, that Daily Beast slideshow of past contestants is very sad. Save your money guys. Don’t buy a house or sportscar or expensive jewelry or clothes until you’ve banked at least a million dollars.

  • http://twitter.com/Deb1323 Deb

    Camile was one of my favorite Idols. I started watching the show because of  her and went to my one and only Idol tour show to see her. Glad she’s still making music!