Two weeks ago, a story broke in the New York Post that Idol producers were attempting to block Josiah Leming’s album, due to be released in January ’09. MTV has heard from Idol producers who say they only wish Josiah the best:
It all sounded fairly ominous, but it turns out, reports of any legal threats had been greatly exaggerated. Commenting on the Post story for the first time, a spokesperson for 19 Entertainment explained to MTV News that “Idol” contestants are generally required to sign a contract that gives Sony/BMG exclusive rights for a period of three months, but “if the contestant is in danger of losing a recording contract because of that,  generally will allow them out of their contract.”
In Leming’s case, his contract with 19 expired “a few months ago, ” the spokesperson continued, “so we are not sure what controversy people are talking about.” And in an e-mail, the spokesperson told MTV News that “19 Entertainment wishes Josiah the best of luck on his album release.”
And apparently, Josiah himself was a little fuzzy on the details:
“Honestly, legally, I have no real idea [about the rumored lawsuit], you know?” he said. “I had a good experience on the show, and I’m thankful that I am where I am right now, and they definitely helped push me along. … I’m thankful and I acknowledge they were a steppingstone in the process of me being where I am today.
“I wasn’t very familiar with the contract, so I’m not sure what repercussions would come of it, but like I said, the only thing that has ever been and is on my mind is the music, and moving forward on my career as an artist, ” he continued. “I’m going to continue to make music, because that’s what I love to do. I did that before the show, and I’ll do it after the show.”
It looks like it was some sort of publicity stunt, although I find it odd that the Idol peeps took two weeks to finally make a statement. Why not comment right away? Perhaps they were waiting for the furor to die down before they responded. Or maybe there was some sort of behind the scenes deal between 19 and Warner Bros. We’ll never know what really happened.
The good news is that Josiah’s album will be released in January as planned. Very good news, indeed.
Check out this article about Josiah (with video interview) from Yahoo Music:
So it turns out Josiah was better off narrowly missing making the AmIdol top 24. I certainly wasn’t the only person in the music business who realized what a gifted singer-songwriter this piano boy was, because one of the industry types who was equally impressed was Warner Bros. Records’ Perry Watts Russell, a man who’s worked with the unimpeachably credible likes of Radiohead, Muse, the Dandy Warhols, Secret Machines, MuteMath, and Damien Rice. Not even an Idol fan–he’d never seen Josiah on the show–Perry signed the boy and proceeded to put him in a London studio with indie producer David Kosten (Air Traffic, Bat For Lashes, Joseph Arthur). You think Clive Davis would have let Josiah do that?
I’d venture a big NO on that question. In Josiah’s case, things happened just the way they should have.