Karen Rodriguez Satellite Conference Call – Recap

Karen Rodriguez considers herself a Latin-American crossover artist, and made it her goal to present her self on American Idol in that way.  She feels she was a success on the show, and expects the experience to only be the beginning of what’s to come.

In today’s satellite conference call with reporters, Karen also talked about how she played “big sister” (even though she’s younger” to Pia Toscano at the New York City Performing Arts High School when they were students there together. And she confirms that Jennifer Lopez was the judge who wanted to save her.  Read a transcript of the interview after the jump.

  • Karen was close to Jacob, “I wanted to stay I wanted to continue, but I live by the words ‘everything happens for a reason’ so maybe my time was meant to be up until yesterday. I’m going to miss everybody. And of course Jacob–we would go to each other for advice–he would ask me what songs he should do. We were very very close to each other. I’m going to miss him so much.”
  • Both parents are Hispanic.  “They came from different countries to find opportunities in America. It started off pretty rough. It’s still rough. Both of my parents cant’ really work, so they both receive help from the government. Anything that she would have she would give it to me to make me look beautiful on stage when I was performing when I was 5, 6 and 7.  My voice, my talent has been able to take me so many places. Eventually I’m going to give my mom everything back that she’s put out for us.”
  • On her scholarship and schooling, “I also got a scholarship to take classes in Italy. I lived in Italy for a month when I was 16. The I went to LA…I went to Berklee College of Music–all because of music and talent and my voice.  American Idol was just one of the next big steps in my life.”
  • She was born in Miami, but glad she moved to NY.  “If felt like, if I would have stayed in Miami, I wouldn’t have been the same person I am today. I think living in a city as tough as New York really strengthened me. I was so blessed to get into that school, that school is so amazing–it’s free [Performing Arts High School in NYC].  Some parents think it’s too young…but the younger the better. I’ve known my whole life that I wanted to sing.  It was a blessing going to that school.”
  • Good advice from the judges? “Jennifer’s been a fan of mine from the very beginning.  She said that I was ‘perfect’. She said that ‘somebody had to go home. This is your time.’ She was rooting for me. If it would have been all on her, I know she would have saved me. She told me.”
  • What does she plan to do next? “I can’t wait to go back home and reflect on everything that happened. It’s been very very crazy these past couple months.  I can’t wait to start writing, to start bettering myself as a musician, as an artist, as a singer. I’m going to work really hard to just become that artist that’s ready, so that as soon as the show ends, and if something comes up, I can totally be that package. I still have to work on so many things.  I know this time off is really going to really help me.”
  • She’s interested in doing commercials and movies. “I would love to do movies and commercials. I’ve done a voice-over for a movie already when I was in high school.  Coming into La Guardia high school my Freshman year I got the lead role in West Side Story.  I’ve auditioned for for In The Heights as well…West Side Story on Broadway. I got to meet the cast of both. Now that people know who I am maybe there’s more opportunities for me to go further…to do ads–anything I can get my hands on I want to take this it and milk it as much as I could.  I admire Jennifer Lopez so much for that, because she’s been able to handle that so well–having music and movies.”
  • On keeping a positive attitude. “In a few days, in a few months I will see why [she was eliminated]. Maybe this time, if I would have stayed longer in the competition there would have been an opportunity that I might have missed out on. I feel this is my time now to go home because as soon as the competition ends, I’m going to be out there.  Now I’m just looking so forward to my career. I don’t want to only be known for ‘Top 12 finalist on American Idol’ I want to be known as ‘Karen Rodriguez the next Latin Sensation, cross over, English-American Hispanic artist’. “
  • What she learned from the producers. “Working with the producers was amazing. It’s such a smart strategy that they’ve incorporated into the show. It teaches us how our lives are going to change as far as the production side and the recording artist–eventually we all want record deals.  Jimmy Iovine…has turned some of the most old ballad type songs–he’s made it fresh.  The producers–every single one of them has their own flavor.  Jimmy Jonsin…he took my Selena song and totally transformed it. It feels so good to see other people’s opinions, people that know what they are doing.  I never thought of my self as that pop artist. I always wanted to sing those pop ballads.  They turned something so fresh—they made it so new. That’s what the show needed.”
  • On being the Twitter Queen, “I check my twitter every single day. I constantly tweet my fans. The contestants actually call me “Miss Twitter Queen” because I’m the one most responsive to all my fans. That’s a great thing that they did this year as well. They need to feel that we are human just like they are. I want to know what my fans are thinking. What songs they want me to do.  Every single person that’s tweeted has said ‘We know this is not the end for you’ that gives me hope, because I know that as soon as I release anything, there’s going to be millions of people buying it and watching me. That give me so much confidence.”
  • Would she have sung in Spanish every week? “I didn’t want to do it every week. I felt like I needed to do it at least for the first time that America really saw me shine with Top 24.  I would have loved to sing “I Will Always Love You in Spanish and English.  The weeks going forward–I wanted to focus on America really knowing what I could do. I’m also an R&B singer.  I wanted to incorporate everything that I could, to let America know that I wasn’t only a Latin artist.”
  • Her particular “Stand Out” moment, “Just the fact that I got to record “I Could Fall in Love” and it’s selling on iTunes.  “I Could Fall in Love” is sung by my Idol Selena. She’s the reason I began singing. Just to be able to perform it on live television and have people buy it off iTunes and have people tweet me ‘I love your version, you make Selena proud’. I wanted to keep her memory alive.  I wanted to let people know ‘Latinos are back.'”
  • On Steven Tyler’s remark that she had “What it is ness”, “I took it as a great thing. Steven and Randy always said that they loved when I incorporated Spanish. They think I even sound better when I sing in Spanish.  I wasn’t going to sing in Spanish every week.  This is who I am, this is who I grew up singing. I learned Spanish first then English. I know it’s called ‘American Idol’ but there’s so many diverse cultures in America and I feel like I wanted to stand up for my heritage. I’m so glad I stayed true to myself on such an Americanized show.”
  • She competed on a Puerto Rican reality show, ‘Objectivo Fama’, “I was the youngest contestant, made it to 7th place.  What’s so funny, I was the American one and I was trying to show what I could do with my Americanized style of singing.  The roles kind of reversed.  The judges would tell me ‘stay out of the pop. Spanish people don’t understand what you’re trying to do with your voice’  I listened to that and I lost myself in the competition. I regretted that I didn’t stay true to who I was. I always told myself, if I was ever in another competition, I was always going to stay true to myself.  When I got to American Idol I used that experience. That’s why I decided to bring on the Spanish. I needed to make it known that I wanted to be a Latin-American artist.”
  • Karen has no regrets, “Every song I chose was a song I wanted to sing.  I’m very proud of making it this far.”
  • On having Jlo in her corner, “I felt that she really understood me.  We identified with each other so much. She’s just a big example. It was always love from her. I always felt safe whenever she was around.”
  • Advice from Jlo, “She told me to not be scared, to just go out there and give it my all and sing from my heart.”
  • Was she afraid of “isolating” votes when she sang in Spanish? “Not at all.  My main focus was always showing people who I was and being myself on the show. Honestly, I can’t control the votes. All I can do is my best every week.”
  • On going to school with Pia at the Performing Arts High School. “Me and Pia used to be in school together. We were in a group and we would write together.  There was a time that Pia had trouble writing and she asked me to help, and I finished it for her. We performed it. Even though she’s older, I’ve always been like that bigger sister. I kind of support her, and I toughen her up a little bit, because sometimes she doubts herself.”
  • On working with Ron Fair and Jim Jonsin,   “I worked with Jim Jonsin on my song “I Fall in Love” he was very sweet about everything, he was such a down to earth guy. He made sure I was comfortable. We totally vibed together. He transformed that song….it was so amazing. His vision is great. I worked with Ron Fair–from the very beginning it was a collaboration. He would always ask me if this is what I wanted. If there was anything I wanted to change, he would always give me the opportunity. He was always so supportive when I sang the song.”
  • What was the best time of her whole experience on the show, “I was having so much fun with everything. What kept me going, week after week, was the possibilities of what my life could become after the show. The response of people has been amazing.  There’s not really a Latin-American female artist right now, doing the cross-over thing, and I wanted to be that person.”
  • Where does she get her strength? “There’s so many things I want to do. I want to win a Grammy, I want to win an Oscar. I want to do so many things that are going to keep topping one after the other. That’s what keeps me going, knowing this is not the end. I have so much faith. My destiny…is destined for greatness. I feel that in every part of my being. I’ve always thought that, ever since I was a little girl.”
  • What happens after the cameras turn off? “After the show was done, I went and I had my meeting with 19 to talk about the possibilities after the show.  I would like to become a recording artist under their label and any label, and they were telling me what the possibilities are and I was just ready to work. I never needed time out, because I was just so excited.  There’ s no point of crying.”
  • How much of her strength comes from her Latina background? “My mom wanted to be a singer when she was young. From the very beginning she made it really clear that she wanted all her children to be fluent in Spanish. I think that’s one of the things that’s lacking right now. A lot of kids right now don’t know how to speak Spanish. I’m very blessed that she did that for me because it’s helping me out so much.  Selena was also a big influence in my life.  I started singing her songs when I was around 6 7 years old. “
  • The producers encouraged her to sing in Spanish. “The producers encouraged me.  I told them from the very beginning-this is who I am. I want to make it known in America that a Latin-American cross-over artist is coming your way soon. They just embraced it. They were open to everything and everyone. I’m just very happy I got a chance to be as free as I was.”
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Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, 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!