Tate Stevens Dishes on X Factor and His Future (Satellite Conference Call)

This afternoon, X Factor 2 winner, Tate Stevens took questions from reporters via satellite.  He dished on the X Factor competition and his plans for the future. He hopes to write at least half of his album. Here’s a transcript of the interview:

Did he feel he had a legitimate shot at winning? – “A couple of weeks ago, yeah. I was sitting at #1, a couple of weeks at the top, and then went to two…when I went back to one, that’s when I thought ‘I have a shot at winning this.’ Up until then, it was anyone’s game.”

Did he feel disadvantaged by LA’s initial hesitancy to mentor the Over 25s? “It was a little disheartening at first. But I think he realized that had a really talented group of overs. I don’t think I was at a disadvantage.”

How did he choose his duet partner, Little Big Town? “We had a bunch of artists. We chose Little Big Town–obviously they had just had a big hit with “Pontoon.” We thought it was the right fit. Personally, I love the song. I think it’s a lot of fun.”

Did Carly’s duet with LeAnn Rimes have a bearing on the outcome? “I have no idea what happened with their duet. She [Carly] has her fanbase. I don’t think it would have swayed…if you’re a fan of someone, I don’t think you’re going to change because of one thing.”

What was his favorite/best performance on the show. “My favorite performance, honestly, was with Little Big Town. That was a lot of fun. My best performance probably was the week before, when I did “Fall,” the Clay Walker song.”

What was his most difficult/scary performance? “The Bon Jovi tune, the first one we did, “Wanted Dead or Alive.” It’s such a huge anthem song. Everyone knows it. If you screw something like that up, It’s not good.”

Tate’s advice for audition hopefuls, “Be Yourself, go out and do what you do.”

When he was standing in line to audition, did he imagine winning? “No. Not at all! There were thousands of people and I’m the only guy in a cowboy hat. [He thought] This is probably not going to be good for me! (chuckles).”

Besides his name on his town water tower, is there anything else he would like to see his name on? “I would love to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. If I can accomplish that, then I’ve done something.”

What’s the first thing he’s going to buy with his 5 million dollars “I haven’t really thought about it much. I’m sure I’ll make some dumb purchase. I keep scaring my wife that I’m buying a Harley.”

What’s up for the holidays, “I’m flying home today. We’re going to spend the holidays with my family. I’m going to lay in my bed that I haven’t been in a couple of months, with my wife and my kids and my dogs and we’re not going anywhere. I fly to Nashville on the 2nd of January and we start recording my album.”

What does he think about Simon’s statement at the beginning of the competition that the overs had no chance of winning? “I didn’t hear that comment. I think in the beginning they didn’t know. As the competition wore on, I think people started seeing that our overs group had a lot of talent in it.”

Is the importance of mentoring exaggerated in light of LA reportedly not know much about country music? “I don’t think that’s true at all. LA hadn’t had a lot of knowledge in the country world. He did have a #1 hit with “Who Says You Can’t Go Home” with Jon Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles. LA and I came to the understanding that we listen to each other, pick the best songs and try to figure it out. He really let me have a lot of creative control as far as the songs. He’d have a group of songs, I’d have a group of songs, and we’d work up the best one. I think the mentoring thing is a very big deal.”

Does he have a wish list of writers that he would like to work with? “I know there’s some guys that I want to get in the room with and see if we can’t pen some big hits–the Luke Lairds and the Kim Tribbles and those kind of guys. The list is huge, there’s so many great writers in Nashville. When I get there, we’ll see how things go and who fits.”

Does he have any originals of his own? “Yep, I sure do. I’d like to write half the record. At least co-write half the record on my first album, anyway. We’ll see what happens, what the label thinks, and how things pan out.”

Does he wish he could have worked with Britney, Demi or Simon? Would it have changed the game for him? “I don’t know. That’s hard to say. I have no idea.”

Is there anyone he would like to duet with on the album? “I think I want to try and get out and show my stuff. Then, later on, start collaborating. There’s a huge list of people I would love to collaborate with.”

What did he learn about himself over the season? “There was a lot I learned about myself. From the beginning, I love performing, I love entertaining. I didn’t know how much I loved doing it on a big scale like this show is. I realized that that’s what I want to do. It really came clear during this competition.”

How does he feel about being the ‘brand ambassador’ for X Factor? “I’m glad to carry it. They saved my life, they changed my family’s life. This is a huge opportunity. I would love to carry the torch and take that X Factor brand and do well with it. That’s my goal.”

Did he feel awkward at times with the big production numbers? “X Factor wasn’t geared towards country at all. It is a very pop and urban show. There was a lot of times I thought [Simon quote] ‘here I am taking a goldfish for a walk.’ It all panned out in the end. It was worth it.”

Did he get a chance to meet One Direction?, “Yeah, I sure did! They’re great guys. In fact, my daughter is a huge Harry [Styles] fan. My 11 year old daughter–she got to meet him and get her picture taken with him. She was so excited.”

What is the most valuable lesson he learned from LA Reid on the show? “He told me, in the first two weeks of the show, ‘stars don’t have confidence issues. You need to get rid of all those confidence issues that you have. Be very confident in who you are and what you do. People will see that and it will shine.’ I tried to do that…I’m still trying. I’m learning. I think I’ve gotten a lot better.”

How did he bond with the contestants in a competition setting? “We all got along. They were all great people. The younger ones…I just talked to them the way I talk to my kids sometimes–gave them little advice tips–if they were down or whatever. We had a lot of fun. I like cooking, so I cooked for everybody a lot.”

Was there a point during the season where he really missed his family and wanted to go home? “Definitely. We’d been here 3 weeks and I was like ‘I don’t know if I can do this.” My wife talked to me, ‘This is an opportunity that will never come again. You can do this. Just stick with it. We’ll get through it. Just hang on. Keep doing great. You’ll be fine.'”

And as a bonus, here is Lyndsey Parker’s Reality Rocks interview, conducted after last night’s show. Simon Cowell hopes to get Tate’s debut album out by June or July of next year: Via Yahoo Music

  • http://twitter.com/J_SanchezFans J SanchezFan Kaylo™

    Sounds like a well grounded man who know what he wants, and exactly what he’s doing. Looking forward to seeing the music he produces.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/D3M7HMQJO6FR7KB2XKVQK7EJHY ShannonM

    Regardless of my personal preferences in music genres,as a Kansas City resident, with Belton MO just a short way south of me, I gotta give props to Stephen Eatinger, AKA Tate Stevens, hometown boy done good!!!!

  • Valarie

    Tate must have been doing his homework. He hopes to co-write half of his first album, but he knows the label has final say in the matter. It is so different from the often unrealistic expectations of the younger idol winners. I wish him well.

  • Klaine

    Have we ever figured out if he’s actually pocketing $5M or of that money is used to create, produce, record, market an album from songwriters to musicians studio time stylists videos etc.

    Cuz one question was what took so with all that money.

    Hope they do a better job with him than Melanie. Nashvilleb is very e welcoming
    Wonder what Carly rose next step is.

    Interring how runners up on ask these sites tend to do better
    1D,Cher Lloyd,Olly Murs. UK XF
    Carly Rae Jepson…Canadian Idol
    Miranda Lambert. Nashville Star
    From Clay To JHud to Lambert on AI

    Still waiting to see if any of the very talented XF S1 s till have a chance Rachel released music and was on TV… but where’s astro and drew…and where’s josh’s music.. Chris released music; don’t think it did very well… Marcus had a single that disappeared asap

  • Klaine

    I think he’ll be open to advice from the pros of they gain his trust …. Add he said he NEEDS this. He may be an assist but at age 37, this is his one shot. Besides ballads@, hugs wife, I hope he records faster songs. I really enjoyed the last week’s when he started moving around and really getting into the songs. Him with lit big town was fun even tho I don’t listen to that

  • kmd23

     I have to agree with you that I will miss LA. I actually thought he was the best judge and seemed to be more vested in the contestants then the others.

  • http://twitter.com/eilonwya10 Eilonwy

    Have we ever figured out if he’s actually pocketing $5M or of that money is used to create, produce, record, market an album from songwriters to musicians studio time stylists videos etc.

    Desperate with frustration over the confusion surrounding this issue (credible sources are inconsistent with the answer), I finally had the brainstorm of checking XFUSA’s official site. Here’s what it says in describing the show:

    This initial audition is the ultimate test to prove they have the vocal ability, charisma and stage presence it takes to become a global superstar or breakout music act and win a $5 million recording contract with Syco/Sony Music.

    Cowell has always talked as if he writes a $5 million check — and it may have actually been a straight prize, separate from the recording contract, in S1 — but the official word is that it’s a recording contract.

    Contestants from the UK show have talked about the prize being the value of a full multi-album contract, so that’s not necessarily $5 million spent on one album. It’s more likely a $5 million budget for 5 albums, 4 of which will never get made if the first one flops. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XDQP2Y46M5B3OHOKALDDGDHQCM Leandro

    This is the interview of the ultimate grounded and sensible man. If it were the typical WGWG, he would say his album would be the most original thing ever, showing his full artistry side, with the fewest possible number of colaborations. The album would sound like crap, as these WGWGs hardly are the geniuses composers they think they are. Tate, on the other hand, is prepared to negotiate with the label the best songs to his album, no matter if he wrote it or not.

    Yep, the show has por ratings and he’s old and you can augur him as much as you can, because you don’t like X-Factor either you think he shouldn’t have won,  but the truth is that this guy is completely ready to play (and win) the game.

  • http://twitter.com/eilonwya10 Eilonwy

    Reflecting on some of the uhmayzing choices that labels have made for non-artist-written singles in the past had me laughing so hard that I almost spilled my morning coffee all over the kitchen. But that’s neither here nor there.

    Stevens appears to have learned the concept of “under-promise and over-deliver.” He’s controlled his fans’ expectations down to something he can almost certainly achieve, and if he gets more… he looks great. Plus there’s a high likelihood we’ll see no “label dramah” tweets from him.

    This dude sure sounds like he’s equipped to make the most of his opportunities and not get caught up in fame-o-rama b.s. I hope his label does right by him.

  • girlygirltoo

    Considering he doesn’t actually get $5 million, hopefully he and his wife won’t starting buying expensive things left and right.

    I hope his label teams him with some amazing country songwriters so that he has a shot at getting a strong debut single. Chances are, they aren’t going to use anything he writes all on his own as the debut single.