American Idol 13 – CJ Harris on Pitch Problems and Making an Album


After being eliminated in 6th place, eliminated American Idol 13 contestant, CJ Harris, spoke with the press during a satellite conference call on Friday, about fixing his pitch problems, going on tour, and making an album in Nashville. Read the interview below.

What will his album be like? Will it be all country? “It’s definitely going to have some country, and it’s going to be a mix between country blues, soul and southern rock. I haven’t decided what genre I’m gonna really stick to, but I’m swinging more towards the country industry.”

What is the best piece of advice the judges gave him? “Stay true to who I am and always work hard. Hard work pays off at the end. It’s not what you do right now, but what you do in the long run. I’m just going to keep working hard as an artist.”

What does he remember about the day he met his friend, Dexter Roberts, on the beach? “I remember Dexter walking up to me, I’m sitting there on the beach playing some acoustic, and Dexter says, ‘Hey man, you wanna play a song together? There was something about him, I really just liked him as a person. We started playing there. We went back home, and figured out we were only about 30 minutes from each other, so we played some places back at home, and became really good friends.”

How much does having the tour to look forward to take the sting out of being voted off? “That’s huge. The tour is going to be huge for me, because it’s gonna show a different side of me, just performing, and not having to worry about the camera looking at me. I can just go up there and have fun, and give it everything that I got, and be an artist. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

What has it been like competing on Idol with somebody he knew from Alabama? “It’s been amazing. Me, Dexter and Jess are all in this together from Alabama. Just hope and pray for the best from each one of us, but we all kind of look at it as, we’re all artists trying to make it in this industry. You got to stay together.”

Was he getting frustrated that he kept landing in the bottom 2 and 3? “I got a little frustrated. It made me want to keep working harder. It really brought out the best of me. I believe if I had never been in the bottom 3 or bottom 2–I believe everything happens for a reason. Put me in the bottom just to bring me up, make me want to work harder. That’s what I’m really focusing on. Just working hard.”

What did Randy Jackson whisper in his ear when he was in the bottom 2? “He told me to never give up, that I had an incredible talent. He sees me doing big things, but it’s going to be all up to me.”

How did having his little boy back home motivate him every week? “That motivated me so much. To have him there in the audience, and see my song. There’s a lot of memories to look back on in 5, 10 years from now. It was a great time.”

What is the hardest thing about leaving the show at this point? “You come so far in the show to get cut at the Top 6. That’s still incredible. You always want to see how far you can make it. You want to go farther than that. But I’m happy for the other ones. I don’t hold anything, I’m not mad at anyone or anything. I truly wish the best for them in their career. I get to look forward to playing with them this summer, and having fun. It’s going to be good.”

What is his favorite Idol memory from the last 3 months? “When I actually got in front of the celebrity judges for the first time. It was unreal, because I never really met anybody famous before, in person, and got to talk to them. That memory from the first beginning was outstanding.”

Has he every gone to the American Idol tour? “I never have. I don’t even know what to expect. It’s going to be so much fun.”

Just to see how far he’s come–could he even have afforded to buy 4 tickets to the summer tour? “Oh no. I was just barely trying to get by, right before I came to American Idol. I was doing everything I could to make it in the music industry. American Idol came along and really changed my life.”

How did he feel about the judges criticizing his pitch. Did he know he had pitch problems? Has he been working on them? “It was something before the show–I never knew that I sang sharp. I’m from a very small town. I was playing for those people–in kind of a ‘you love me’ situation. I never really got a straightforward answer until I got in front of some professional artists. I’m glad they told me, because it was something I never even heard. I’m self-taught with everything. It’s something I’m definitely going to have to work on.”

Was he getting help behind the scenes on his pitch problems? And if so, was it adequate? “I was getting help on it, but I don’t know if it was enough. I don’t know if I had enough time. I don’t know music–the keys and the notes–like I should. I don’t read it. I feel like over time, me just learning it, I’ll be better off than just learning it over a few days.”

What went into his decision making when he picked “American Woman” and “Whatever It Is” to sing Wednesday night? “When I decided to do ‘American Woman’ I thought it would be a great song for my voice. But I had a hard time remembering all the lyrics and getting up there and singing it without thinking too much. That was one of my main problems was just thinking too much. The Zac Brown song. It’s a great song. It’s got a great melody, and a great feel to it. It’s just the key that I was singing, it was too low for my voice. It didn’t have the cry and the emotion in it like I wanted it to. I feel like I could have done better.”

Would he consider duetting with Dexter on his album or on the tour? “I’d love to do a duet with Dexter. Me and him already have this great bond as friends and we play together. I would definitely like to do a duet with Dexter.”

What will he be singing on the finale? “I’m not sure. I think we’ll get to come back and maybe perform. It’s going to be a great time. I’m going to get to go home for a day. It’s going to be back here before you know it.”

Is he looking forward to his New York City media tour? Has he ever been there before? “I’ve never been to New York before, so I’m super excited about it. I can’t wait just to see the city. This whole experience has been amazing.”

Does having loved ones in the audience give him more confidence? “It gives you a peace. You can look at them and it feels like if you were sitting there on your coach, or you’re playing at home. It helps to have someone out there in the audience that you know. It just made me proud to have my mom there and my sister there. It meant a lot to me.”

Would he have picked different songs on Wednesday if he could go back and choose again? “Yes. I would. Maybe not the American Woman song. But the Zach Brown song–I think I could have picked a better country song to fit my voice.”

How is he feeling after such a successful journey on American Idol? “My brain is still going 100 miles an hour, I’m off of a couple hours of sleep. I’m doing great this morning and happy that I made it that far.”

What is he looking forward to most now? “I’m looking forward to going on tour and performing with the other artists. Hopefully, after that, I’ll be able to put out an album and go on another tour and keep it rolling.”

What was he thinking as he stood in the bottom 2 with fellow Alabamian, Jess Meuse? “That it could be me, or it could Jess. It’s just all about the votes. Either way, if I went down, then I was gonna hug her and do what I had to do and do my respect. Jess is an amazing person with a great voice. I have so much respect for all those guys.”

Did he feel like he was following in he footsteps of fellow Alabamians like winners, Taylor Hicks and Ruben Studdard? “I watched Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks and I learned a lot of things from them. I kind of felt like I was following in their footsteps. I hope to have a successful career. I’m so proud to be from Alabama.”

What advice would he give to aspiring American Idol contestants? “I’d tell them to always stick to who you are and prepare a lot of songs–all different styles and genres. Don’t bring all of your good songs out at the beginning. If you can, save some until you make it farther in the competition.”

What did he do to adapt to the pressure of performing every week on the American Idol stage? “Oh man. I just told myself that I can do it. I made it this far. I believe I’m here for a reason. I just got to do it and relax. And believe.”

What he’ll miss the most about the pressure of the competition? “What I’m going to miss the most about the pressure is Wednesdays, getting up, and getting ready for that day and getting to perform in front of the celebrity judges. I do miss home and the quiet things. It’s been amazing.”

What will he miss the least, “I had an amazing time! I don’t know what I would miss the least out of it.”

What will he be telling his son about the experience when he’s old enough? “I’m going to tell him to always go with his gut, because that’s what you need. You’re gut is always going to be the most real. Stay who you are. Prepare for life. It’s coming.”

What was his favorite performance on the show? “I’m going to have to go with “Can’t You See.” It was just one of those songs that I had been singing ever since, probably about 13 or 14 years old.”

How did the guest mentors who had been contestants on the show (Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, David Cook) help him? “They helped us out in so many ways. I remember Adam Lambert saying ‘Don’t look on Youtube, don’t look at the comments.’ You can get some very hurtful things. That was really good advice to not really look at social media too much and keep your eyes on the prize.”

He’s planning a move to Nashville. On recording a country album–does he write songs? “Yes. I’ve written enough for an album, so far. I just got to get it all together.”

When Taylor Hicks visited the set, what did they talk about? “I got to talk to Taylor. He was telling me how proud of me he was. He was in the competition and he told me he knew how stressful it could be. He was proud how us guys from Alabama represented Alabama so well. Just keep the positive energy and do good.”

What did Jennifer Lopez say to him after the show? “She told me how proud she was of me and the person I came to be. Always keep pushing for my dream because I definitely have the capability of doing something big. I just got to keep pushing.”

About mj santilli 35006 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!