American Idol Clark Beckham “I’m Exactly Where I Need to Be”


Clark Beckham came in second to American Idol winner, Nick Fradiani, on Wednesday’s American Idol finale, but the singer truly believes the outcome was just as it should be. In an interview with reporters on Thursday, Clark shared his feelings about his faith, his love of music, and how he believes his artistry fits into the modern musical landscape.

What was his favorite moment at the finale? “Playing with Michael McDonald. No doubt. He is a legend, and someone I’ve looked up to on the piano and vocally, and off the stage as well. From meeting to rehearsal with him–just a great guy, humble and a great example. I want to be like him in many ways. That was absolutely a moment and a performance I’ll never forget as long as I live.”

What’s the one piece of advice from the judges that he’s going to take with him? Probably what Keith [Urban] said–something to the effect of ‘Don’t sing. Don’t play what you can. Play and sing what you must.’ I think that’s the best advice from the judges that I got.”

What was going through his mind when he was standing on the stage with Nick Fradiani right before the winning announcement was made? Was he surprised with the results? “Right when the results happened–Nick is funny. Nick thought he was going home many times, many shows, he’s like ‘I’m in the bottom 2! I know it!” I’m ‘bro, you’re crazy! You’re going to do fine.’ And he never has. Yesterday, he [said] ‘I think you won, I think you won.’ I think, ‘Man, I have no idea.’ Nick has always been that way. I think, really, deep down, neither of us truly had any idea what name was going to come out of Ryan’s mouth, when he made the announcement. Obviously I wanted to win, and I wanted the streamers, and the title, and the trophy–all of the things. And I wanted to go to Vancouver for the World Cup SO bad. I’m a huge soccer fan. But I believe, with all my heart at the end of the day, that I’m exactly where I need to be and I can’t wait to see where I go from here.”

Does he feel the judges and Scott favored Nick a little bit? Did he find it hard to be himself throughout the competition? “I really believe that I am modern. I think the best modern is when an artist can understand and play and do music that is coming right now, and is just on the brink. Just around the bend. Just coming alive. I really believe that the music that I put out and that I am, I really think that’s what’s going to come around the bend. I don’t think I would have fit with Scott as well as Nick is going to fit with Scott. They worked really well together through the whole competition. Scott is extremely successful and he’s a great guy. No matter what, I really believe and know that he wants the best for me and for Nick. Nick and I were talking about it–I think the best outcome happened. The best thing for Nick was for him to win. I believe I’m where I need to be and the best thing that could have happened to me is what happened. I just choose to believe that. At the end of the day, that’s where I stand.”

What was his favorite memory with winner Nick Fradiani? “So many great memories with Nick! When it was the final 3–when it was Jax and Nick and me, at the Dolby theater we had our own dressing rooms. Just the conversations we had there. Cameras were off. Doors were closed. Just me and him in the room and those conversations–just the rawness. I’m so happy for him. I’m so glad that he is being lifted up in this way. Nick is exactly who he is on and off camera. He is exactly the same person truly. When he said the things that he said right before the announcement was made, when Ryan asked us if we had something to say to each other, he said those things to me off camera and on camera with the same sincerity. He’s a very sincere, genuine person. I could not be happier with how everything went down. So many memories with him. We all called him ‘Grandpa’–that’s because he was the oldest contestant on the show, he’s 29, and we were younger. A lot of great memories and more to come.”

On his faith in God, “My faith has never been something I want to push. It’s never been a publicity card, ever. But it’s never something I’ve wanted to hide. It’s something that doesn’t contradict anything I’m doing, or anything I want to do. God is the one who has made me who I am. It’s a great service to be successful. I owe it all to him. He’s such a part of my life, I just can’t help it–he’s going to come out in conversations. Just like if you’re married or if you love someone, how they’re going to come out in conversations. You’re going to talk about that person. He’s led me this far and I know he’s not going to leave me where I am now. I love the Lord and that’s really what it comes down to.”

What was the process that went into choosing his coronation single “Champion.” Did he feel comfortable singing it? Did he have any choice over picking the song? “The whole season, they were looking for songs for us. We had the opportunity to have some of the greatest writers in the world write for us. They’re looking for a song that was appropriate, with a victory chant, after this long marathon of a journey that this American Idol experience has been. Also a song that works for the World Cup. The winner, their single, is also going to be featured a lot in the Woman’s World Cup. Musically, it’s not the the style of music that I am looking forward to doing in the future. But I think it was just the perfect song. I love the lyrics of the song, and the message.”

Would he consider singing Christian or gospel music? “I want to do what you call ‘secular’ music. Sometimes people can get scared of that word. Secular just means outside of the church. I believe in God and he influences everything I do. I’m not a Christian artist. I’m an artist, and I’m a Christian. That’s how I would describe it. My faith informs everything I do, whether it be how I talk to people, how I dress. The Bible says, with everything you do…do it for the glory of God. Even eat and drink. It’s everything. That’s how I see it. I believe I’m not called to do Christian music or gospel music. Although, that’s been a huge part of my growing up, and I love it, and I think it’s needed and it’s helped me many times. As far as my music, I think I’m called–I’m going to stick to writing and singing secular and pop music.”

Were there any songs on the show that he wanted to sing that he didn’t get a chance to? “We sang a lot of songs by the end of it! Of course there are some others. One song I really love playing and maybe wouldn’t have worked in the 90 second format TV clip of American Idol that we have to take all the songs down into. A couple songs–Gravity, by John Mayer is one of my all-time favorite songs, I think. I really relate to that song. I think it’s one of the most important songs written in years. Magic by Coldplay. My band and I do a really cool, groovy version of that. Also, Let’s Stay Together, Al Green, is another favorite of mine.”

What kind of record would he like to make? “It’s hard to articulate in words. The best way I could do it is to sit down with you with a guitar and play some original stuff for you and talk you through that way. Pop just stands for popular music. Also, AC, Adult contemporary, like John Mayer stuff. That’s where I see myself going. I also see myself going along the trail that Bruno Mars–he’s been like a trailblazer with this new “Uptown Funk” and this new type of music that is wildly successful People love it. I think I’ll make music–it’s not Bruno Mars, but it’s absolutely along that path that he has made. Also Robin Thicke is a soul man. He’s a great R&B singer. What genre is John Mayer? John Mayer’s genre is John Mayer. It’s just the music that comes out of him and people love it because it’s good music. I could probably name countless others. That’s the kind of vibe I’m wanting. Current popular music, but with heavy R&B influences.”

Was there something technical that he learned from his experience on American Idol that he’ll take with him and implement into his style of music? “TV music is hard, because you sing into the mic. Typically, an artist [has] two ways of being heard–when you’re playing for people in concerts, and you’re going through a sound system that’s coming out to big speakers, live right there, and that’s what you hear. Or, you have a song come out on the radio. You have recording equipment, and you produce it, and put reverb on it. You’re in a studio and have the best sound come out. On TV, it’s kind of like the live thing, but the audio goes into the board, it’s compressed, and then it shoots up into a satellite and then it’s compressed there, and shoots back down and goes out to everybody’s TVs. You get a different sound. It’s much, much, much less forgiving. Every note that’s just barely sharp, or barely flat is very obvious in those situations on TV, because of those compressions. And then its compressed again into Youtube–when people go back to watch the Youtube videos. And then they watch it in 360p–a low quality–possibly through their phone speakers. It’s quite a different sound when it goes through all of those filters and it’s compressed and compressed. I’ve learned to be really conscious of pitch even more than I ever have. That’s something that I’ve been able to get better at.”

How has he transformed as an artist, being on American Idol? I think I sing more in the moment. I think I’m able to get more into the song emotionally. It’s really really really difficult to get deep into a song, into a vulnerable place, where you kind of find yourself. I can get in that moment when I’m by myself, in my room playing guitar. Just me and the walls–no one around. But then you have to get in that place on national television for a 90 second song with cameras, with the judges, with lights, with fog, with the stage. A lot of times on the show we just found out that we made it through, and we’re running up on stage and the music starts and then you’re singing. That is extremely, extremely difficult. I have to say, after this 10 month process, that’s something that I’ve been able to do better–get into the music and get into character of the song more effectively.”

Was his performance of Ain’t No Sunshine for anyone special? “It’s interesting, because no. There’s no one that I was singing that specifically to. And there’s noone in my life in a romantic way. It’s funny, everyone was ‘Who are you seeing dude? Do you have someone?’ The song is about the person being gone, so your know (laughs) I don’t think it relates to ‘Is there someone in my life right now?’ Maybe it is appropriate, because there is no one, and it’s about her not being there. I just try my best, and I think I was able to get into that heartbreak and really deliver that.”

How being a musician has impacted his dating life up to this point, “I never really thought about it. Personal question. But I don’t mind that at all! Initially, it can be an attractive thing, like ‘Oh cool, he’s a musician.’ That can be an initial attraction. I had someone that I was dating and she was worried, ‘I’m afraid that you’re going to choose music ahead of me. I’m afraid that music is going to be a bigger part of your life than I am.’ It’s hard. It’s an interesting balance. Music really is, I don’t know if this is weird to say or what–but it’s just a reality, it’s just how I feel. Music really is–it’s like I’m in a relationship with her. Her being music. I’m just obsessed with–this is weird that I’m referring to music as her–but just follow me with it, if we can be cliche, and romantic here. I really am in love with her, and I can’t imagine a life without music. Sometimes it can get in the way of other relationships. I really believe with all my heart, that when it is right, when I do have the right person in my life in that way, that it won’t be conflicting. It will elevate. It will help. I guess I’m waiting for that to happen, with the right person.”

Clark had a few closing remarks: “Ultimately, I’m very proud of the performances I’ve done on the show. I don’t regret a single note that ever came out of me. Whether it’s on my guitar or piano or my voice or any word I ever said on the show. I think I depicted myself accurately as an artist, and what kind of music I love and want to make. I’m staying true to myself on the show and I plan on doing that for music’s sake.”

About mj santilli 33098 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!