‘American Idol’ Winner Kris Allen Made Writing A Priority On His Debut
“[Writing] was the idea all along, ” Allen told MTV News. “I’m not a general pop artist, and I don’t think that I would get away with that. Singing a whole bunch of other people’s songs ‘â€ that’s not who I am.”
Turns out the Arkansas native isn’t a natural born collaborator either. As a former indie troubadour, it took Kris a little time before he mustered up the confidence to work effectively with the A-list songwriting talent Jive Records and 19 Recordings hooked him up with. “[I finally had] a realization that [songwriters] want input, and they were there for me. And for me, it was gonna be on my album, so it had to be good, you know?” Kris confessed. It wasn’t until the end of the American Idols Live! Tour, in September, that Allen felt he finally “manned up” about his songwriting sessions with others.
Kris Allen on Internet rumors: ‘That stuff breaks you down as an artist and a songwriter’
A few hours ago, on the eve of the release of Kris Allen’s debut CD, I sat down with the American Idol season 8 champ (who was clad in a stunning Rei Kawakubo for Comme des GarÃƒ §ons jacket*) for a freewheeling discussion about his songwriting process, the themes of angst and love under siege that prevail in many of his songs, and the grimy plastic sheets that flap in the wind during the video for his lead single ‘Live Like We’re Dying.’ But since it might take a few days to edit down the raw footage, we thought we’d give you a 94-second sneak peek right this very second. Here, Kris discusses why he no longer trolls the Web to read what prognosticators and critics have to say about his musical output, and how he and the folks at 19 Recordings made the conscious decision to let him sound like (gasp!) an actual human being on the 13-song collection that will have a chance to take the music world by storm over the next several months. Press play below for your @KrisAllen amuse-bouche, then check back later this week for the entire interview feast. And as always, to get up-to-the-second updates on my Idol musings, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak!
More Idol Headlines after the JUMP…
Kris Allen Won’t Be Eclipsed By Adam Lambert, Fans Insist
Sometimes, good guys do finish first. That’s what supporters of “American Idol” winner Kris Allen believe on the eve of the debut release from last season’s soft-spoken champion.
With Allen’s album due Tuesday, the long journey from surprise winner to young man on the cusp of superstardom is just beginning. Though, in typical Allen fashion, the buildup to his musical debut has been much more subtle than the fireworks and silver lip-gloss barrage of news and images from runner-up Adam Lambert.
In fact, until the leak of Allen’s album last month, the premature release of snippets of his songs two weeks ago and the recent debut of his big budget-looking first video, news about Lambert appeared to be vastly overshadowing updates on the guy who actually took the “Idol” crown all those many months ago.
Kris Allen looks beyond Idol boundaries
Kris Allen’s season 8 American Idol win has come with equal shares help and hindrance.
The unassuming singer likely needed the title to move past coffeehouse clout, and it’s certainly provided him with the expected opportunities. But Allen’s still-burgeoning career has been thus far eclipsed by all things Glambert.
Yes, Idol runner-up Adam Lambert’s sound, style and persona lend themselves to the flash (and the fierceness). Allen says he doesn’t mind. But it can’t be easy seeing Lambert score blockbuster movie ballads and magazine covers.
All-New Kris Allen Video Interview
AmericanIdol.com caught up with Kris Allen recently. The reigning American Idol is releasing his self-titled album tomorrow. To promote the record, Kris has been traveling around the country and performing on morning and late night talk shows. Last week, Kris helped announce the People’s Choice Awards nominations, and he was nominated too!
Album review: Kris Allen’s debut
Kris Allen finished in first place on the most recent season of “American Idol, ” but did he really win? If this fresh-faced Arkansan had been cut from the show a few weeks earlier than he was, it’s easy to imagine his post-“Idol” debut delighting his loyal fans, many of whom would’ve been perfectly happy with — horror of horrors — an entire album of Fray covers.
Instead, in an incident that might someday inspire a probing investigative report on VH1, Allen somehow earned more votes than Adam Lambert, the single most compelling contestant in “Idol’s” eight-season history. So now Allen’s album arrives freighted with expectations, very few of which it’s in a position to meet.
Music Review: Allen’s Debut Is Cool, but Average
On Kris Allen’s self-titled debut album, the “American Idol” presents a collection of pop-rock tunes that are cool and simple ‘â€ a reflection of what we saw from the married 24-year-old on the eighth season of “Idol.”
Allen, known for his boy-next-door charm, co-wrote nine of the 13 tracks and collaborated with Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Carrie Underwood), Toby Gad (Milli Vanilli, Jordin Sparks) and Irish rockers The Script, among others.
Underwood Says “Idol” Winners Should Play to Fans
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Since winning “American Idol” in 2005, country singer Carrie Underwood has become one of the show’s highest selling graduates, but she warned the latest crop of “Idol” finalists to “stay true” to their fans if they want to find similar success.
Underwood, who on Monday spoke to reporters during a conference call, will star next month in a holiday special, and she just released her second consecutive chart-topping album, “Play On.”
As it happens, three finalists from this past season of top-rated U.S. television show “American Idol, ” a reality singing competition, are about to release their own albums.
“I feel like any contestant that comes off ‘Idol’ that does well on ‘Idol’ has to stay true to what people voted for, ” Underwood said, in response to a question.
“I’ve seen it happen a few times where people are one thing on the show, and then they got off the show and try to do something else, ” she said.
Carrie Underwood’s ‘Cowboy Casanova’ starts its crossover move
This week, the top four positions on our American Idol chart remain the same. Kelly Clarkson’s Already Gone continues to pick up spins — it’s currently in the top 10 of both the Hot AC and Top 40 formats. Carrie Underwood’s Cowboy Casanova also increased its spins, though Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now replaced it at the top of USA TODAY’s Mediabase-powered country chart. Maybe that’s because most of the single’s growth came over at the Hot AC format, where Cowboy Casanova currently sits at No. 45. (Can you say “crossover hit”?) Daughtry’s No Surprise and Jordin Sparks’ Battlefield follow in the Idol chart’s third and fourth slots.
The 50 Most Important Recordings:
November 16, 2009 – All Songs Considered’s list of the 50 most important recordings of the decade continues, from Kelly Clarkson through Jay-Z.
Breakaway [Bonus CD]
Artist: Kelly Clarkson
Song: Since U Been Gone
Say what you will about American Idol; its impact on the pop-music landscape is unmistakable. Even as the music business shrinks, the show has spawned tens of millions in album sales and directly launched massively successful careers in country (Carrie Underwood), R&B (Jennifer Hudson) and rock (Chris Daughtry). All of which might have been thwarted early on had the show’s first winner, Kelly Clarkson, not become a massive pop star — her success, remember, was hardly a foregone conclusion at the time. Clarkson didn’t just sell a lot of records; she also sold a lot of good records, and 2004’s Breakaway shows her at her spiky, poppy best. She managed to overcome the stigma of American Idol and even the laughable movie spin-off From Justin to Kelly, and wrote a workable playbook for seemingly disposable pop stars who want to stick around longer than anyone expects. — Stephen Thompson
Q&A: New Leona Lewis CD echos growth, strength
NEW YORK ‘â€ The success of Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” not only made the British-born singer an international star last year ‘â€ it also helped her branch out and toughen up.
“I’m quite a sensitive person and I’m quite introvert, but I’ve learned that I’m stronger than I thought and I can take more than I thought I can. Sometimes I have to push myself, but like I am definitely stronger than I thought I was, ” the 24-year-old says.
Lewis says that newfound strength is all over her sophomore CD, “Echo, ” out on Tuesday.
“I think the songs are very epic, ” she says of the disc, which features collaborations with Justin Timberlake, Ne-Yo, Max Martin and Ryan Tedder, who produced the first single, “Happy.”
In a recent interview, the singer talked about gaining confidence, her fans and the inspirations behind “Echo.”
Video: Backstage with Daughtry at the Greensboro Coliseum
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Last week at the Greensboro Coliseum, Chris Daughtry performed for the first time as the headliner inside his hometown arena. Thousands packed the coliseum to catch the show from the former American Idol contestant who is perhaps one of the most famous people to call the Triad home.
But before the show, FOX8 Reporter Shannon Smith and Photojournalist Stewart Pittman sat down backstage with Daughtry to talk about Twitter, life on the road, and what it’s like to perform before a hometown crowd.
Highline Ballroom Presents A NIGHT AT THE ROCK SHOW Starring Constantine Maroulis, 1/20 & 2/24
The Highline Ballroom welcomes Constantine Maroulis in “A Night at the Rock Show” on January 20 and again on February 24, 2010.
Constantine Maroulis is currently staring on Broadway in the 2009 Tony Award Nominated Best Musical, ROCK OF AGES, and received a best actor Tony nomination for his role as Drew.
Constantine gained fame on season 4 of American Idol. In addition to headlining the Idol’s sold out Live Summer Tour with that year’s winner Carrie Underwood, Constantine has continued to tour extensively around the country solo since the show. However Idol wasn’t his first stage experience, having graduated The Boston Conservatory and apprenticed at the The Williamstown Theatre Festival in 2002, Maroulis had performed in several productions prior to landing the lead role of Roger in the national tour of the hit musical RENT just before making it as a finalist on Idol and beating out millions of hopefuls auditioning.
Kidman, Underwood to appear at CNN Heroes gala
(CNN) — Actress Nicole Kidman and Grammy Award-winning artist Carrie Underwood are among the celebrities scheduled to appear on “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute, ” airing Thanksgiving night on CNN.
Underwood and three-time Grammy Award nominee Leona Lewis will each perform at the gala, which returns to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood as the network celebrates its third year of honoring everyday people making a difference.
Kidman is scheduled to join celebrities Kate Hudson, Neil Patrick Harris, Pierce Brosnan, Dwayne Johnson, Eva Mendes and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as presenters. Additional celebrity appearances are expected to be announced in the coming days.
The Dreams Return To The Spotlight At The Apollo
Get ready New York, the dream ladies are back in the spotlight. NY1’s Frank DiLella filed the following report.
The fictional Dreams, Effie, Deena, and Lorell, are back on the New York theater scene. But this time the girls are not doing Broadway, they’re kicking off the new production and national tour of ‘Dreamgirls’ at the legendary Apollo Theatre.
Originally conceived and directed on Broadway by Michael Bennett in 1981, this backstage tale tells the story of the Dreams, and their rise to stardom. Under the direction of Robert Longbottom, the 2009 revival began its journey to New York City from more than halfway around the world.
Diana DeGarmo To Sing The National Anthem At The New Jersey Nets Game 11/17
The Toxic Avenger* star and American Idol finalist Diana DeGarmo will sing the National Anthem at the New Jersey Nets game tomorrow night, November 17th at 7:30PM. Toxie’s own New Jersey Nets will take on the Indiana Pacers at the IZOD Center at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. For more information, please visit www.njnets.com.
Bucky Goes “Live From Rockingham”
Lyric Street Records announced today that Bucky Covington will release a digital exclusive EP, ‘Live From Rockingham.’
The EP features five live tracks from Bucky’s recent hometown concert: ‘A Different World, ‘ ‘It’s Good to Be Us, ‘ ‘I’ll Walk, ‘ ‘Gotta Be Somebody’ and ‘Mexicoma.’ The latter two songs are from Bucky’s second CD, ‘I’m Alright, ‘ which is due in Spring 2010.
The Perfect Gift for the “Idol” Fanatic
Do you know which season six contestant is a cousin of ‘America’s Got Talent’ winner Terry Fator? Or which season four contestant was once Ozzy Osborne’s neighbor?
I didn’t know either but now I do thanks to the ‘American Idol’ 2010 desk calendar. Each day you’ll get trivia questions, quotes, recaps and fun facts about everything ‘Idol.’ You’ll even find out what some of your favorite past Idols are up to now.
“New York City Christmas, ” a CD for Charity, Gets Digital Release; Esparza, Wilfert, Orfeh, Maroulis Sing
“New York City Christmas, ” a new album of freshly arranged and orchestrated holiday songs sung by theatre folk, is available by digital download starting Nov. 17 from Sh-K-Boom/Ghostlight Records.
The live show was such a hit in 2008 that the songs were later recorded in a studio in 2009. The disc is currently available online at Sh-K-Boom.com, and as a digital download on iTunes. The CD will be at Amazon.com Dec. 8.
In December 2008, at the now-closed Zipper Theatre, the concert cast boasted Sierra Boggess, Raul Esparza, Chester Gregory II, Andy Karl, Tyler Maynard, Lindsay Mendez, Tory Ross, Anya Singleton and Sally Wilfert, among others. Constantine Maroulis and Orfeh are also heard on the disc.
‘Dancing with the Stars’ finale welcomes Whitney Houston
“Dancing with the Stars” guest-star list just keeps growing — they’ve now added Whitney Houston to the season 9 finale.
Whitney Houston is joining the ranks of Taylor Swift, Queen Latifah and Susan Boyle as a guest performer on the ninth season of “Dancing with the Stars, ” ABC confirms for Zap2It.
Houston is slated to perform for the season finale results show, just two days after she performs live for the American Music Awards on ABC.
X Factor: Jamie ‘Afro’ Archer unfairly sacrificed by Simon Cowell say pals
X Factor reject Jamie Archer was deliberately sacrificed by his mentor Simon Cowell, according to the rocker’s close friends.
The 34-year-old’s pals are furious at the way he was booted off the show on Sunday night ‘ and believe scheming Simon manipulated the whole episode to save his other acts Danyl and Olly.
And they have slammed Louis Walsh’s harsh treatment of Jamie, who was kicked out of the competition after the judges took the sing-off to Deadlock and the public vote for the fourth time in as many weeks.
It’s Simon Cowell’s decade
So, the rock critics have spoken. According to this week’s NME, bedraggled, drug addled, Kate-Moss-dating, serial-offending, garage punk poet Pete Doherty was the UK’s most influential musical figure of the decade.
No less than three albums recorded between stints in prison and rehab by Doherty’s bands The Libertines and Babyshambles feature in the music magazine’s top 50 albums of the 00s. Doherty was, however, held off the coveted number one slot by New York garage rockers The Strokes. Meanwhile, Uncut magazine made lo fi blues rocker Jack White man of the decade. Q magazine stuck with Sheffield indie rockers The Arctic Monkeys. To which touching declaration of faith in the enduring appeal of scuzzy electric guitars and rebel attitude, one suspects middle Britain would yawn, scratch their collective heads (‘Pete who?’ ) and switch back to the X Factor.
Mya scores another perfect 10 ‘Dancing’
Down to four couples, “Dancing With The Stars” finds itself with two natural dancers in Joanna Krupa and Mya, one sentimental favorite in Donny Osmond, and one Cinderella story in Kelly Osbourne. Monday night, those four competed for the three spots available in the finals. And, because episodes are still two full hours long with only four couples, each couple would do three individual dances ‘â€ something that’s never happened in the show’s history.
‘Dancing With the Stars’ recap: A Last Tango?
The semifinal showdown on Monday night’s Dancing With the Stars featured The Entertainer, The Dance Machine, The Wild Child, and The Glamour Girl. I believe these people do have real names, but who can be bothered to remember them in the presence of Gilles Marini, enthusiastic chimes lady, a dramatic key change within the traditional DWTS theme song, and the compelling visual of Samantha Harris throwing down the final beats of said theme song with a full-body jerk comparable to the shtick typically employed by Derek as he’s in danger of no longer being lovingly framed by a camera? Not me, I tell you. Just kidding, I know their names very well by now ‘â€ everyone’s except MÃƒ ½a’s. Here we go.
‘Dancing With the Stars’: Semifinal smackdown
The Mirrorball trophy is so close, you can almost see the remaining stars’ reflections in those shiny beveled squares. It’s semifinals time, and there is no room for error on the ‘DWTS’ set. The stakes have been ratcheted up again, with each contestant having to perform an unprecedented three whole routines this week: a ballroom number, a Latin routine (with a 15-second solo), and the secret sauce knockout dance (which is a shorter routine, but still). Who had all their ducks in a row and stepped their way into contention for reality TV’s ‘most reflective prize, ‘ and who lost their footing? For the ‘semifinalith’ time, here’s a rundown of how the stars stacked up.