Katharine McPhee’s Spin Cycle

Katharine McPhee’s  Spin Cycle

Katharine McPhee’s team wasted no time “explaining” why her debut CD has been pushed  back from December 19  to January 30.   In  this MTV.com  interview posted today, we’re introduced to a confident, self-possessed Katharine who’s fully in charge of her career:
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“In fact, when McPhee’s record label announced plans to include her signature song from “Idol” on her upcoming debut album, the singer replied, “No you’re not.” “That doesn’t go with the record at all, ” she told MTV News recently.

During her “Idol” run, McHaters implied McPhee’s greatest downfall was overconfidence, but her strong sense of self is also her greatest strength as the 22-year-old Los Angeles native sets out to transition that fame into a career.

“The one thing you learn about ‘Idol’ is that you have to be really tough, ” McPhee explained. “You learn how to be a powerful businesswoman right away, and I have gotten really strong about what I want and what I don’t. And, for me, it’s fun because it’s me against all the guys.”

What McPhee doesn’t want is to be rushed. While debut “Idol” albums are typically released at the end of the same year as the finalists’ “Idol” season and subsequent tour, she’s been vocal about pushing her LP to 2007. A release date has yet to be confirmed for her debut.”

Ok peeps. There’s no way Kat is calling the shots on her release date.  No Idol has ever had that kind of clout with the label.  Note the lack of an explanation for why the CD was pushed back in her remarks.   It wouldn’t be very cool to admit that  she’s behind schedule or what she’s got in the can so far is unsatisfactory.  Why else would her  release date be moved from the lucrative holiday buying season to  the barren wasteland that is retail in January–and two weeks into the new season of AI6 to boot?   Not buying it.

About the record:

So now we’ve been building the songs like how you would if you were making a record if you weren’t on ‘Idol’ and you would take five months. It’s been a cool creative experience for me. I’m really a songwriter and I’m learning from the best people in the business.”

Those people include Babyface and songwriter Kara DioGuardi (Kelly Clarkson, Hilary Duff), as well as less predictable names like Chad Hugo of the Neptunes and Timbaland’s production partner, Nate “Danjahandz” Hills, who worked on Justin Timberlake’s “My Love” and Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous.”

McPhee has yet to finalize the track list, but potentials include “Somehow, ” produced by Ryan Leslie (Cassie’s “Me & U”), the DioGuardi-penned power ballad “Home” and “We Got Each Other, ” a mid-tempo number that reminds McPhee of Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together.” “Neglected, ” which McPhee co-wrote, is also a likely keeper, as is the girls’ anthem “Open Toes.” “It might be the new ‘Thong Song, ‘ ” she said, laughing.

Hmmm, so it looks like  “Open Toes” is a keeper.   Alrighty then.   Her producers are definitely aiming for the teen market.   While the decision to go “current” will likely disappoint the fans who came to know and love the standards and adult R&B she performed on Idol, I’m betting they’re aiming for an audience beyond her Idol fanbase.   All Idols need to reach non-idol fans in order to sustain long-lasting careers.   But  alienating your core audience to maybe reach a new audience is pretty risky.

What else I’m not buying–this image of an over-confident Kat–the young woman who knows exactly who she is artistically.   During the season, her performances were nervous and uneven. When she found a couple of songs that worked for her (“Over the Rainbow” and “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree”) she clung to them for dear life.   If she’s really a “current” R&B girl at heart, I don’t understand why “nerves” kept her from gettin’ down with her real bad self.   My spidey-sense tells me she’s a young woman who has yet to develop a clear artistic sensibility.   Right now, she seems to be  going with the flow.

I mean, seriously, would a woman with a clear artistic vision make this statement?

“If I don’t have a hit record then I’ll try the record thing again and try the movie thing. And then [if those don’t work] I’ll just get knocked up and be a happy married woman.”


I don’t have a good feeling about this.   But hey, I’ve been wrong before.   Maybe there’s some brilliant strategy at work here–some smart, out-of-the-box thinking that will become clearer when Kat sells a boatload of albums come January 30th…