American Idol’s La’Porsha Renae came in second to Trent Harmon in last night’s series finale, but she still can look forward to a bright future. She was also signed to a record deal, and will be starting on her album as soon as possible.
Interestingly, the singer noted that she had performances that weren’t up to snuff, and wishes the judges would have called her out on them. She felt being the frontrunner all season did bring disadvantages.
However, the remarks she made in today’s conference call with reporters that will get the lion’s share of attention was in response to questions about the passage of an anti-LGBT law passed recently in her home state, Mississippi. She said that LGBT are people just like us and should be respected, but she doesn’t agree with their “lifestyle.” Yeah. She said that. Believe me, I carefully transcribed every word. She’s probably going to understand very quickly the meaning of the phrase “damage control.”
If you had the opportunity to sing with a music star on the finale like finalists in the past had, who would you have liked it to be? Anyone? I would say…all of my people aren’t here anymore! Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross. It probably would have been someone from back in the day. One of those soulful singers from back in the day.
What’s one piece of advice of advice you’ll take with you from the judges moving forward. I’ll take away the experience of learning a lot about how things work behind the scenes, but also the impact that I had on so many…it’s just a humble reminder that no matter what you’re going through or how you feel about yourself or even how you feel about your gift sometimes, there’s always someone out there wanting to hear a sense of inspiration. That’s what I took away from away from it most. Being able to touch people.
On signing with Big Machine and Motown records, how does she feel getting that deal signed already? I was definitely excited about Motown. That’s a record label that in my household, if you made it to that record label it was golden. Great legends came from that label. I wish to bring back some of that old school soul music. I’m really excited.
Without the traditional American Idol tour starting in a few months, will she try to hit the studio pretty quickly? Yes. I definitely want to take the momentum from the show and use it to jump start my career.
What was she thinking when Trent was crowned champion? I had a feeling he would be [the winner] so I prepared myself for it. When he was crowned, I was really proud. Trent deserves it. He works really hard. He’s a genuine person and a real true artist. I was really proud of him.
Being the front runner all season long had its rewards and burdens. Did she feel extra pressure to deliver perfect performances every week? At the end of the day, it is a TV show. I kinda knew that being the frontrunner would have its repercussions. It didn’t put pressure [on me]. It was more of an anxiousness to get a critique at some point, so that I could breathe a little bit. There were weeks I critiqued myself and I knew I didn’t do as well as I could have. It was evident, and nothing was said about it [from the judges]! I just tried not to let it get to me, and critique my own self, better my own self.
Having survived an abusive relationship, and inspired so many Idol viewers with her story, does she plan on being proactive in her community to bring about changes? I do plan on using my platform to be proactive in my community, not just in my community, but in other communities as well. I will be joining forces with a lot of different people and trying to get the message out there, that you all need to respect each other and get along.
Trent credited her with helping him after he won. Anything specific that stood out when he said that? Trent is a very hard worker. He’s genuine in what he does. He doesn’t like people to lie to him and say ‘You did good” when he knows he can do better. What we did for each other–during rehearsals we listened to each other’s takes to see if there was anything we could have done better physically as far as movement around the stage or vocally. I would tell him, ‘maybe not use the high not for everything. Maybe sing out a little bit and save it at the end to make it something special…or surprise them and put it in the middle.’ He’d do the exact same for me if I wasn’t pushing myself enough. We helped each other in that area.
Idol debuted when she was 8 years old. What struck her about it at the time? Did she think right away, ‘I’m going to be on it someday?” When she was 16 and tried out for the show, what was it like? When I was 8 and was watching Kelly Clarkson it struck me as something I could possibly do when I was old enough. I started working towards that. When I finally turned the age that was appropriate to try out for the show, I went to the cattle call in New Orleans. I got a standing ovation from the stadium. I didn’t make it through. The producer said no. They said I was young, and could come back and try out again, which all worked out in my favor because at that time I really didn’t have much to sing about. Life happened between those years, when I came back this time I sang with a lot of depth and emotion.
Is she planning on going back to Mississippi, or will she relocate to Los Angeles or Nashville to record her record? I’m not sure if I’m relocating to Los Angeles, but I definitely can say that I plan on relocating from Mississippi very very soon. That’s still in the air.
Is she coming back home at all? I’m not really sure about that. I want to hit the ground running and use the momentum from the show.
You said earlier that you wanted to bring a lot of people together. Have you been following the news in Mississippi regarding the anti-LGBT bill that just passed into law? No, I haven’t heard about it. The only thing that I’ve been aware of is that there was also controversy about the confederate flag.
Does that factor at all in your wanting to leave Mississippi? My main focus in wanting to leave was because of my abusive situation, and wanting to start over with me and my daughter. Those are the type of issues I’m talking about. This is how I feel about the LGBT Community. They are people just like us. They’re not animals as someone stated before. (Ed: boxer Manny Pacquiao made those remarks. She would have sung the NA at his fight this weekend if she had won.) They’re people with feelings. Although all of us may not agree with that particular lifestyle for religious reasons–whatever the reason is. You still treat each other with respect. Everybody is a human being. We should be able to coexist with one another. I am one of the people who don’t really agree with that lifestyle. I wasn’t brought up that way, it wasn’t how I was raised. But I do have a lot of friends and a lot of people that I love dearly who are gay and homosexual and they’re such sweet, nice people. We should just respect each other’s differences and opinions and move on.
How do you channel your emotions through your performances? Any time I was allowed to choose my own songs, I did the same. I tried to choose songs that I connected with and that I related to and that I felt would inspire people and make them feel good inside. Even though you are as an artist, supposed to get into character, and be able to convey a message in a song, I think it’s very important that you pick–it has some kind of relevance.
LaPorsha just tweeted this (Srsly. Where are the PR flacks. She’s gotta stop using words like “life style” and “life choices.” It’s offensive to the community and to many others to imply that sexuality is a choice. Somebody needs to step in and coach her).
— La’Porsha~Renae (@laporsharenae) April 9, 2016
In the meantime, here’s another interview from Entertainment Tonight.