Rayvon Owen Talks Twitter Saves and Being an Artist with an Edge

AMERICAN IDOL XIV: Rayvon Owen performs on AMERICAN IDOL XIV airing Wednesday, May 6 (8:00 PM-10:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. © FOX Broadcasting. This image is embargoed until 10:00PM PT.

Rayvon Owen, eliminated from American Idol 14 in 4th place last night, spoke with reporters about his extraordinary Idol journey. The singer managed to survive 4 twitter sing-offs and a bottom 2 appearance. But this week, his journey finally came to an end. He spoke about what it was like living so close to the edge of elimination, his amazing hometown trip, and plans for the future.

Does he know what he’ll be singing on the finale? Who will he be singing with? “I do, but it’s not confirmed and not public yet…I can’t say right now!”

Who would he love to collaborate with now that the show is over? “I would love to perform with Sam Smith or John Legend or Celine Dion. Someone like that would just be amazing to perform with.

What will his album sound like? “My record is going to be a pop record with soul influence. It’s gonna have the raw emotion–like John Legend or Sam Smith. But with a pop edge of a Katy Perry or Betty Who.”

What was it like being in the bottom so many times? Was there ever a moment where he was kind of down? “At first it was shocking. It’s definitely nerve wracking every time. I try to stay positive and just remember–I get another chance to sing again and do what I love to do in front of millions of people and to take advantage of this platform. I kinda tried to look on the bright side of things. Being in the bottom each week, I was like ‘OK This could be my last day’ and I made it again…after going through that so many times, I was kind of–for lack of a better word–comfortable in that position, and excited to share yet another week in this competition and do what I love to do. I made it very far and I feel very accomplished.”

Did he feel being in the bottom lit a fire under him? “Absolutely. I didn’t know it at the time, but looking back, yeah absolutely! It definitely was a blessing in disguise, because I feel like it gave me this extra push. It made me want to persevere. I feel like I gave my best performances under those circumstances, honestly. It pulled a fight out of me that I didn’t know I had. I’ve definitely grown from the experience. It’s made me a better artist.”

Is he planning to return to the Richmond VA area? “I moved to California just shortly before the show. This is kind of a second home for me. But I love Richmond, and that’s where my family is, my childhood home. It’s definitely going to be a place that I return to and perform at and do concerts and get involved in organizations and things that I was involved in there. Overall, singing is what I’m built to do, it’s what I will do for the rest of my life. That’s another reason why I’m so grateful for this show. It’s going to give me that opportunity. Even though I didn’t win, I made it far enough that I will be able to do this for the rest of my life–take advantage of this platform. [I’d] also [like to] do some acting–I have other passions as well.”

What was he planning to sing next week? Did he have songs picked yet? “I didn’t, actually. The coronation song is the song that I would have heard last night. The other three are going to be working on those. We were going to hear what the other picks were. They would have been songs that were assigned to us. Honestly, I had no idea!”

The contestants wouldn’t pick their own songs? “Well, possibly. There was one category that they were tossing back and forth. We may have repeated a performance. I’m not sure exactly what that would have been. It wasn’t confirmed. As of last night, I would have known what I was going to be performing for the finale. Obviously we know the coronation song is one song. There’s going to be some other picks as well.”

Did this week’s format change, that allowed every finalist to sing, with the elimination announced at the end of the show, make a difference in the singers’ performances? “That made a huge difference. I was talking to the other three, I said, ‘Y’all, let’s just treat this as a show! This is a show. We get to get out there. Everyone gets to sing everything they’ve prepared. Let’s just get out there and have a good time, have fun, enjoy this. Because, whoever is going home–it doesn’t matter. That’s coming at the end. There’s no chairs, there’s no voting–none of the bottom two or anything happens until the very end.’ I think that helped to loosen us all up and to just get out there and have a good time. It’s stressful being under the chair..[waiting to be called] and all that stuff. And the twitter save! Singing for the save! (laughs). I think I’ve gone through the worst of it on this show. If I can do what I’ve done on this show, I can do anything!”

“I have people in the band that are calling me Save-On,” Rayvon said to one reporter. Heh.

How did he feel doing the Jason Derulo song so soon after he was on the show? Was that a little bit of pressure? “Scott, I guess, was inspired by Jason coming on the show. He brought him in as a mentor. Guess he saw some influences of Jason in me, which is really awesome. At first, I was, ‘How can I follow that up?’ But then I was ‘You know what? I’m just going to get up there and have a good time and put my own spin on it, and just do the best that I can. I don’t know if he was watching last night, but I think [Jason] would have been proud. Surprisingly no one has compared [us] or even said anything– to my knowledge–about it. I think I did it in my own way, and had a good time with it. It was a fun performance for me.”

Did he get any personal time at his homecoming with fellow Richmonder and Idol alum, Elliott Yamin? “I did get a little bit when he was there, and even some last night, because he came and spoke with us upstairs. It was really special. It reminded him of his homecoming. He said it was one of the best days of his life. It reminded him of his mom, who as we know, has passed. I think her birthday was that day, or around that day. It was a special moment for him to see Richmond come back out and support me. He said that his mom would have been right there next to MY mom, cheering me on as she cheered him on several years ago. It was a really cool moment, because I myself watched, and voted for him and supported him throughout his journey. What an amazing, talented guy. I was so shocked to see him there. It was such a special day, special moment for me.”

How has his relationship with his mother impacted his journey? “Oh my gosh, It’s been amazing. I’ve always wanted to make my mom proud. I’ve always wanted to thank her for all of her hard work and sacrifice that she has made for me. Honestly, I would not be here. You would not know who I am if it wasn’t for her pushing me and making sacrifices–sending me off to those trips and tours and rehearsals and lessons and piano lessons, and everything! She sacrificed what she had and what she didn’t have for me and my sister to give us equal opportunity. I feel like I wanted to thank her in the best way that I could. What better way than to dedicate a song to her and connect with her in front of America and just to show her that I’m so grateful for everything she’s done. She was extremely proud and she called me her winner after the show last night.”

How has his faith played a role in his journey so far? “I could not have done this without God. I pray every single day. Day in and day out. Not pray to win. I never pray to win the competition. I’ve prayed that God’s will be done and that I could do my best and that his light will shine through me. I think what he has in store for me is amazing. I hope that I can inspire people as well. We pray as contestants, too. A lot of people don’t know the ritual we have before each show. We get in a circle and pray. I personally believe that our gifts of music comes from God. Music is such a powerful tool that it’s beyond us. It’s beyond me. It is such an amazing way to connect and inspire people. My faith has definitely played the most important role in this whole process and in my music in general.”

How does he perceive himself as an artist? “[I’m] different than the guy that first walked into the door for the judges back then. I feel like I represent a lot of things. Positivity. I represent struggle. I represent love. I represent heartbreak, relationships. I love to sing about love. I think it’s the most universal thing. I think it’s a language that everyone can relate to and understand. Not only love between a couple or two people. In relationships I’ve displayed love for my mom, love for my fans. I think that’s something that’s at the core of who I am. Musically, I’m a pop soul artist. I have that edge, and I have that raw emotion. That’s what I want to display to people. I’m a storyteller. I want people to connect–make people laugh, make people cry, make people dance. Those are all the emotions that can draw back the love.”

What was his favorite performance on the show? “For me, I think–it would have to be either, ‘Believe,’ which was the song I dedicated to my mom.  ‘Since U Been Gone,’ was also one of my favorite performances. I’ve had quite a few! Even “I’m Not the Only One,” was one of my favorites. One of those three!”

Did Rayvon have anyone in mind when he sang “Want You to Want Me”? “I did actually. It’s nothing serious right now. I’m not in a relationship, or anything. But yeah. I did have someone in mind.”

Is it someone romantic? “Yeah. Absolutely.”

Could he go through his songwriting process? What does it take to write a song? “It differs. Sometimes it comes in a melody and a groove, and I start thinking out random words and feelings. And sometimes it’s a little more intimate and specific. I may approach it like, ‘I had a sucky break up, and this is one specific emotion that is new that I’m feeling. How can I portray this in a song?’ That may come from a lyric or a theme. An idea that I write from. Sometimes, honestly, there’s some songs that I have just woken up out of my sleep and just had it. It was just there. Which is the weirdest thing. That’s happened a few times. I love it when it happens, because I wake up and I grab my phone, I open up my voice memos and I start singing a little ditty, or whatever it is! It ends up turning into a song. But I love collaborating and writing with others. I’ll come in with a specific idea that hopefully turns into a great song.”

How does he prioritize his dating life? “I’m not in an official relationship. But it is hard. Before the show, I was in a relationship, and it’s tough. There are other contestants I see who are in relationships and it’s hard to balance. It’s really hard for me to even take care of myself, let alone really truly dedicate myself to someone else. Since I am a lover. Since I am someone who connects with people–obviously, that’s on my radar. It’s a tough thing to balance because of the busy schedule–the inconsistency in how we travel. I always make a joke. Don’t date a musician. Everybody wants to, but it’s a tough thing. You have to be ready for that kind of lifestyle–especially now that I’m on this even bigger platform, and things are really picking up for me. But of course, you have to have a source of inspiration, right?”

As far as acting, what kind of roles would he like? “A show or movie that had music that I could sing, and [incorporate] acting. For example, Empire. I would love to appear on that show. Or have a similar moment like Jennifer Hudson [had] on ‘Dreamgirls,’–a movie similar to that. I have a theater background. I actually went to performing arts high school for musical theater. I’ve done quite a bit of acting there, and in college. That’s something I would love to get back into. Especially now that I got so comfortable in front of the cameras and learned this TV world. Even though it’s reality TV, there’s so many skills that I’ve built that I feel I could translate into a role. That’s what we do as a singer sometimes. We take on a song, and we put our own emotion, our own story [in order to] embody [a] character, whether it be from a personal emotion, or from somebody else’s experiences. That’s something I love to do. It’s really fun.”

Does he have one favorite Idol moment? There are so many amazing moments. I think it was the week that I did the Sam Smith “I’m Not the Only One.” The judges, after that performance, said some really specific things about me being current. They could see me being on the radio. They could see the emotion. They could see the ‘gravy’ of what they’d been looking for. That really affirmed me. That was the first time they all gave me some credit. They’ve been so tough on me all season. Another moment was last night after the show, I had some one-on-one time with Harry–just he and I sitting in a room and talking. He said some really encouraging words, and gave me some great advice and tips for how to keep this train running and even said he saw some of himself in me. Which was a huge honor. Definitely, a couple of very special moments from this experience.”

Did he find it difficult to have so many professional’s voices in his ears? Was Clark doing what was best for his career when he argued with Scott Borchetta? “It’s all about balance. I think it’s important to be teachable and shapeable, because that’s how you grow. If you fail, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The only way you truly will fail is if you give up. As long as you keep trying new things, I think that’s going to make you the best artist that you can be. At the same time, you have to stay true to who you are. Even I experienced something similar, because, way back when, the judges [asked] ‘Who are you? Who is Rayvon? You’re a great singer, but Who are you?’ There were so many comments that were thrown at me when I was just trying to do my best, at what I thought was who I was. Kelly Clarkson, in our mentor session said, “I love who you are. If this is what you’re presenting, then this is great.’ I think I’ve done a really good job–not to pat myself on the back–I feel like I’ve learned so much from balancing. From staying true to who I am. But at the same time, taking the advice of the judges. There is a saying that Melinda Doolittle from season 6 taught me–who’s actually a friend of mine–‘You have to chew the hay and spit out the sticks.’ You have to take the point of what people are saying and just throw out the other stuff, or the negativity–whatever they say for TV purposes. In Clark’s case, I was proud of him for standing up for himself, but I do think he is somebody who wants to learn and get better at what he does. He is very teachable. I think he’ll do really well. I think that’s what it takes to be a great artist and a great contestant on this show.”

Does he have a gut feeling about who might win American Idol? “I honestly do not know. Each of them is deserving of the title. Each of them, regardless of what happens, is going to do very well because of who they are as a person. People don’t get to see them behind the scenes like I do. I’m spending intimate time with these people, backstage. We’re eating together, living together, rehearsing together. I know for a fact that each of them are deserving of winning this. They are so talented as artists, but even more so as people, they are incredible humans. It’s going to be tough for America to choose who the next American Idol is. I honestly have no idea. It could literally go to any one of them.”

On his stage style. Is it how he typically dresses? “I tried a lot of different things in college. I think my style has definitely developed over the course of the past couple of years. That’s who I am. What you see is what you get. Sometimes it’s a little amplified for the stage, especially when you’re dealing with amazing wardrobe team that they have on American Idol. It’s my look. I love hats. That’s another thing that I look forward to doing after the show–designing some hats–making my own little hat line, which will be so cool to sell. That’s something I’m going to be working on. That’s another important aspect of who you are as an artist. I feel like your style gives you an image and gives you a brand and helps you express your music even better.”

Curtain Call

About mj santilli 30844 Articles
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!