Posts Tagged ‘American Idol’

Date of Interview: 06/18/2012

Long before Haley Reinhart made a name for herself as an American Idol finalist, she was performing on international stages. Haley’s pre-Idol participation in Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival and Italy’s Umbria Jazz Festival underpinned her dazzling soul-infused renditions that ultimately led to her third-place finish. Throughout the tenth season, Reinhart tackled several venerable classics: “God Bless the Child” (Billie Holiday), “Fallin’” (Alicia Keys), and “Rolling in the Deep” (Adele). Her debut album – Listen Up! – was released via 19 Recordings and Interscope Records on May 22, 2012 and received widespread critical acclaim.

In the midst of a promotional campaign for Listen Up, Haley Reinhart spoke with Clayton Perry about her upbringing in a “house of rock,” the catharsis she found in slam poetry, and the value of risk-taking.


Simon CowellDate of Interview: 03/22/2011

Simon Cowell is the owner of Syco, a television production and music publishing house. Since the firm’s founding in 2002, the company has handled international acts, like Il Divo and Susan Boyle, in addition to producing Britain’s Got Talent and The X Factor, under the Syco Television banner. Outside of Cowell’s business ventures, the charismatic Britain garnered substantial notoriety for his role as a judge on American Idol (2001-2010). His honesty on the show, as well as his keen abilities to identify talent, led to his infamous reputation as a no-nonsense businessman.

Starting in September 2011, FOX will broadcast the first season of an Americanized version of Britain’s popular X Factor contest. As part of a promotional campaign for the show’s “open call” auditions, Simon Cowell managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an exclusive interview – reflecting on mentorship, the qualities of a “superstar,” and the difference between the British and American versions of X Factor.


Kimberley Locke

Date of Interview: 05/14/2010

Seven years after Kimberley Locke’s third place win on American Idol, her superstar status continues to shine bright.  With Randy Jackson’s blessing, Kimberley signed an exclusive, singles-only contract to his new label, Dream Merchant 21, with the hope of transforming the industry’s delicate relationship between artists and their respective labels.  Her first single, “Strobelight,” stands as the first product of their unique partnership – eventually peaking at the top of Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Chart.  To date, Locke has eight #1 singles on Billboard’s various charts.

In the midst of a promotional campaign for “Strobelight,” Kimberley Locke managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry – reflecting on her relationship with Randy Jackson, Freda Payne’s response to her cover of “Band of Gold,” and her charity, One Heartland.


Katharine McPhee

Date of Interview: 10/29/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Although 2006 was a very good year for Katharine McPhee, it spun her around at a break-neck speed, without much time to “see the forest for the trees.” And for good reason: fresh off her American Idol experience, in which she was the runner-up of Season Five, Katharine released a best-selling album, married the love of her life, and dabbled with her “other” love – acting.

An unexpected setback occurred in January 2008, however, when industry pressures led to Katharine McPhee’s abrupt break from RCA Records.  Consequently, she spent the following months in “artistic hiding.”  Once Katharine’s spirits were refreshed and her artistic confidence was renewed, she re-emerged a year later, with news that announced the signing of a contract with Verve Forecast Records and the forthcoming release of her sophomore effort, Unbroken.  The album is set for release on January 5, 2010.

In the midst of a promotional campaign for Unbroken, Katharine McPhee managed to squeeze some time out of her busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on her love of “God Bless the Child,” the inspiration behind Unbroken, and the invaluable mentorship of David Foster and Andrea Bocelli.


Blake Lewis

Date of Interview: 10/20/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

Blake Lewis is an ‘80s baby.  And with the release of his sophomore album, Heartbreak on Vinyl, the influences of David Bowie, Prince and Depeche Mode shine bright.  Compared against his 2007 debut, A.D.D. (Audio Day Dream), one can only wonder what magical music moments were squandered or deferred, due to industry pressures to cash-in on the American Idol juggernaut.

After an abrupt departure from Arista Records, Blake Lewis found a welcome home at Tommy Boy Entertainment.  Coincidentally, it appears, at least sonically, that he feels more comfortable in his “artistic” skin. After long last, Heartbreak on Vinyl reminds the world why Mr. Lewis is the musical “rebel” that we have grown to love.

Upon review of Heartbreak on Vinyl, Blake Lewis managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on his mother’s influence, a memorable performance for First Lady Michelle Obama, and Paul van Dyk’s “Words,” his favorite vinyl record.


Ruben Studdard

Date of Interview: 06/01/2009

© 2009 Clayton Perry

In an Auto-Tune world, they don’t make singers like Ruben Studdard anymore.  And that, dear reader, is a shame.  Thankfully, the “Velvet Teddy Bear” has endured to fill in the void left behind by the untimely death of Luther Vandross, his musical icon.

Although Ruben Studdard is best-known for winning the second season of American Idol, in many ways, he has also become the standard-bearer for classic R&B.  And as one would expect, Studdard’s post-Idol life has been filled with additional personal successes: a budding acting career, a GRAMMY nomination (for “Best Male R&B Vocal Performance”), and a fairytale marriage to the love of his life, Surata Zuri McCants.  Coincidentally, Surata would serve as inspiration for Ruben’s fourth studio album, Love Is.

Upon the release of Love Is, Ruben Studdard managed to squeeze some time out of his busy schedule and settle down for an interview with Clayton Perry — reflecting on American Idol, “Just Because,” and his recording experience with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.