I haven't come up with a great plan for the notes from my chats with five "American Idol" stars on Sunday (discussed in a previous posts), so I'm just going to offer notes from the different talks, organized by performer, and in the order I talked to them. Don't expect big scoops. First up: 'Noop. See after the jump.
How has the tour worked out?
It's been great. I mean, getting to get up there and sing has been a great experience. That's our favorite time on tour, when we just get together and sing. That's what we do, that's what we're best at.
Has it changed the relationships that you had with the other performers in any way -- now that you're out of the (Idol) bubble at least a little bit?
If anything, we've all gotten closer, just because we spend so much time together. You know, I think we were in the bubble, we were all sort of worried about our own business, too. [Now] we all sort of have empathy towards everyone's situation and what they're going through. We're on a bus together for a long time, and we do all this together, and we're really good friends.
So what do you do on the bus?
A lot of sleeping. A lot of catching up on email, stuff like that. Listening to music. But, I mean, most of the drives we have are two or three hours, so we'll watch a movie. We started watching the first season of "True Blood" the other night. ... It was a six-hour drive, from midnight to 6 in the morning, so we watched "True Blood" from midnight to 4.
What did you think of it?
I love it. In fact, I have the rest of the season in my computer now, to watch it later.
Here you are in Cleveland, not far from the Rock and Roll of Fame, but you came in this morning and you're leaving tonight. Is there a still sort of "bubble" quality to this or are you getting out to see things?
It varies. I think there's a much more tangible bubble. ... We can be in a city and not see it. To us it's just arena to arena to arena. The rare exception is when we have a day off. We had a day off in Pittsburgh, so I had dinner with my parents and stuff like that, and it was cool. But, you know, [Cleveland] is such a cool musical city ... and Stephen Fowler, who was on the show, is from here. We would love to go out to the Hall of Fame, to see Stephen, but we can't get out. [The cast did sign a guitar for the Hall of Fame collection, he said.] That at least will tie us into that. ...
What do you want to do when this tour is over? Do you have a master plan?
Yeah. Moving out to LA, and just going about getting myself where I want to be, which is to be a pop artist. I want to be as big as anyone is today. What "Idol" has afforded us is exposure, and that is definitely a huge opportunity and a huge push in the right direction for me.
And yet, as you know, not everyone who appears on "Idol" manages to have a big music career. What do you think you have that makes that possible?
Well, first of all, a lot of people from "Idol," if they don't win or whatever, they just go home. They resume their previous life. To me, that's just unimaginable and unacceptable for me, really. This is what I want to do. I've never been one to shy away from challenge, to do whatever it takes no matter how long it takes. So, I think, my stick-to-it-iveness is going to come in handy.
Have you signed a record contract?
Not yet. Our previous contract ran out a few days ago. I want to show people what I'm really about, and never really got to showcase on the [TV] show. And there's no better place for me than LA right now.
What is there about you that you didn't get to showcase on TV?
I think on the show I was focused on getting each song right. I wasn't necessarily focused on changing each song to showcase who I was and what I wanted to do. Sort of who I am is lyrical R&B. It's Ne-Yo. .. Maxwell. Musiq Soulchild. John Legend. And that's not really the style in which I got to sing, I don't think many of theme weeks lent themselves to that.
I got the general sense that that was what you were most comfortable with -- for want of a better term, "smooth R&B." But, as you say, it must have been difficult with a given genre to adapt.
It was. For me especially, disco week. I didn't like any of the songs we were picking from. It was hard for me, and ultimately that was the week that did me in.
But, you know, I have a very clear perspective on where I want to go, and where my niche is in the music industry today. So I think right now it's just finding someone that shares that vision. ...
(We then talked about what he's listening to, described in the previous post, and wrapped up the interview.)