American Idol 15 2nd runner up, Dalton Rapattoni is hitting the ground running. On Sunday, he begins recording an album which he plans to release independently if necessary. In an interview with reporters on Friday, the singer revealed what he would have performed Wednesday if he had stayed in the competition, what Idol wisdom he’ll take into his career, and the importance of music education for kids.
If he had the opportunity to perform with a music star on the finale as finalists in the past had, who would he chose? I would have liked to do a song with Childish Gambino. That would have been dope.
What’s one piece of advice of advice you’ll take with you from the judges moving forward. One of the biggest things that the judges stressed to me is to only do music that I connect with and that I relate to. I feel like that’s what’s carrying me to the top 3, my philosophy in doing that. That’s probably what I’m going to take away from this experience the most.
What is his game plan? What would he like to do once he’s off the show? I’m fortunate enough to have a big team behind me and I’m able to do this independently if need be. I’m going into the studio on Sunday to write and record a new record. That’ll be fun.
Not taking any break here! Absolutely not.
He’s going to be recording in Austin with a band from Houston. Is he going to stick around in North Texas? Is he going to be leaving the Dallas area? Dude, I work wherever people need me to work. But North Texas is my home. I’m definitely going to keep that as my anchor point. Honestly I can’t relax anywhere else. I grew up there. I get stressed out everywhere else. I always have to come back to North Texas to get myself recharged.
Will he continue to work with The School of Rock? Absolutely. I’m always involved with the School of Rock in some capacity. I think it’s an incredibly important program. Because there aren’t really as many music programs in schools as they used to be because the funding is cut–that’s why School of Rock exists. It’s for the kids that don’t want to play soccer, or don’t want to play football. Everyone needs that something outside of school. I think it’s a really really important cause. I’m always going to be involved with it.
On the judges criticisms that he sang their song pick for Top 3, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” in the wrong key. I was practicing [Everybody Wants to Rule the World] in that key because we had 3 songs that week and I didn’t want to blow out my voice. But I had intended on raising it for the show. It was my bad. I dropped the ball, forgot to tell the band. It was a stupid mistake, but everybody makes them.
How will he carry Jennifer Lopez’ observation that he makes his lyrics his own into his own music? When I write songs I make sure that i believe them 100 percent. I don’t write anything that I don’t feel deeply. Anything coming out in the future, which will happen soon–it’s going to be the exact philosophy that I had on the show. It’s going to be 100 percent me, just trying to talk to people.
What did you learn from your IM5 days (IM5 was the boy band Perez Hilton/Simon Fuller created. Dalton was a member) Here’s the deal with IM5 as pertaining to Idol. I don’t think I would have been able to do this without having been in IM5. Being in IM5 taught me a lot about how to interact with people in the industry. It also taught me a lot [about] how to perform and all of that stuff. I am very appreciative of the lessons that both Idol and IM5 taught me.
What were the two songs Dalton planned to sing on Top 3 night. I was planning on singing “Say Something” by A Great Big World [Simon Fuller’s Pick] and as my repeat song, a full version of “Hopelessly Devoted to You.”
Can he tell us anything about the album he’s about to begin recording? Right now, we don’t have word back from 19’s people whether they are going to pick up my option or not. But work must go on so I’m considering it as of right now to be an independent release. Luckily I have a big team backing me. We’re going to be able to do that to the best of our ability.
Was this a team he had before Idol? Yeah, I’ve obviously picked up a few members along the way. We’ve grown bigger through it. We’ve grown stronger through everything. We’re going to be able to produce some really good music.
How does he channel his emotions through his performances? I feel like if I don’t have a song with lyrics that I connect to, then it doesn’t happen. For me, I really have to get in my own head and think about what the song is trying to say and do my best to represent that with my performances and my vocal. I always try to do songs that I really strongly connect with.
What was the best piece of advice you received from the judges that you’re going to use as you head into your careers? The biggest thing that the judges always beat into me was to pick songs that I connect with on a deeply emotional level. Just to always be myself–that’s what I’m going to be taking away from this.
More on Dalton’s musical direction from Billboard magazine
“Work starts Sunday on that,” he told reporters an hour after his elimination. “I am driving off to Austin. My buddy Matt Novensky from Blue October will be working with me so that will be out in a few months.
Asked if his music will be in the vein of his coronation song, “Strike a Match,” Rapattoni said he has a specific sound in mind: “alternative pop.” Said the 20-year-old: “It’s funny, they pegged me on the show as a rocker. I don’t really play too much rock music. I really dig stuff like The 1975. It’s probably a tiny bit like that, my future music.”