Third of the five chats I had with "American Idol" performers when the tour came to Cleveland on Sunday. Sarver talks about being pegged as a country singer, how he has grown because of "Idol," and missing LSU news.
I started with the what-are-you-listening-to question, with Sarver coming back with Robin Thicke, Rascal Flatts and Michael Buble.
The influence in my life is wide-ranged. Very wide-ranged. And I think I carry a little piece of all of it with me. But, you know, different genres of music serve their own purpose. And I enjoy the purpose of each equally, versus being into one thing. It somehow touches me in a way that I use in my own life. So that's why I like a lot of it.
I grew up in the South myself. Does your [Texas] accent to some degree, people say, OK I get this guy, just because of the way he talks?
I don't know what it is. I don't know the appeal. I know that people automatically saw me as a country singer. And I didn't know how to take that at first, but I have grown a crush on the idea of being a country singer. I just never thought that I had what it took. ...
I'm not actually what they call a country guy. I just live in a state called Texas, and I worked in a place called an oil rig, and it just seemed like it fit, 'cause I had an accent to go with it. Well, if you live anywhere long enough, you're going to develop an accent. ... But there is country in me, there is a country boy in me. I am a guy that likes to hunt, that likes the simple things, and I could be in the woods and nothing else makes me happier. ...
My album's going to be country, and I couldn't be more thrilled about it.
But it sounds as if you would like to do other things as well.
Soul's gonna be a part of my music, no matter what I do. Soul's gonna be part of this country album. I think that's actually very unique. I think I have an opportunity to do something that maybe not a lot of people get to do, which is to fuse some things together and maybe make it a "me" album. And I'm very proud of it. I'm very proud of the idea. ... Hopefully they'll accept me.
There's a great heritage of that -- Ray Charles, Solomon Burke...
Absolutely. It just works. Country is soul. Soul is country.
When the tour is done, what are you going to do?
I'm going to go on vacation for a little bit. Because I need it. And I don't think, if I go straight into the studio, that I can give it the passion that it deserves without a little bit of rest. And I need to be with my family for a little bit. And then I will be in the studio really fast, and that's all right with me 'cause I'm ready to do this thing.
Do you have a record deal?
I can't really discuss the details of it, but there is an album in the works.
What's it like on the tour bus?
Fun. It's very fun. We like to watch funny stuff. The other night we watched "Step Brothers" and we all laughed until we couldn't breathe. Will Ferrell's the bomb. We laugh, we have fun, we eat, we sleep. Pretty much what you do on a tour bus, and it works really well. People keep asking me, "Are you guys getting along?" And I say yes, they're like "Everybody says that." Because it's true. We just don't have problems. We simply don't. I think it comes down to the level of maturity in this group, that says when it's time to turn on the respect button. To be quiet so we can sleep, and have a good time when it's time, and it seems to be working really well.
Is the relationship the same as it was on the show?
No, we're a lot tighter. I mean, we were close on the show, but we were friends that came together for an experience. Out here, we're family. It definitely is a different level of relationship, and definitely one we'll hold onto for a lot of years.
What's your favorite part of the concert?
My favorite part of the show is probably still the finale 'cause that's when we all come together. ... It's about 10 people that came to the show and ended up in this incredible position called the Top 10 and touring, and kind of come together in that moment. But I really like "Slow Ride," with Adam and Allison. It's probably my favorite song of the whole show. ... It's unbelievable. I go out there and watch it most nights.
You talked about needing a vacation and seeing your family. Does it seem as if you've gone from the show bubble to a tour bubble? Are you feeling at all disconnected from the world?
Yeah. I do (yawning). I don't know what's going on. I'm an LSU freak. LSU Tiger football is the biggest thing in my whole world and I don't even know who their first game is against. So, yeah, I feel a little disconnected. But in everything people do to accomplish their dreams, you have to make sacrifices that are necessary. And this is a necessary sacrifice, and I take it with a smile, and I'll get connected when I get home.
It's a tough road, and not even some "Idol" winners have had the career they wanted.
Some of them might not want it after this. If you come out of this tour saying I still want to sing for a living, then you really do. Because you've been tested at every turn. So you know when you're done with this whether you want to do it or not. I don't believe failing is an option after this. It's what I want, no matter what.
How much does the time on the oil rig influence who you are now? Are you able to hold onto who that guy was?
I haven't really changed at all as a person. I've learned, and I've grown, as a person but haven't let go of who I am. I've added to it, plenty. ... I've learned so much about character. I was quite the narrow-minded person when I came to the show. I've only stayed in one area all my life.
When it comes to life and people, and understanding people, and differences. And it's now, instead of seeing the difference first, I see the person first. Just because when you grow up in one area and in one way, you only believe and think one way, and actually it's not your fault. Like, I had no choice but to think that way because it's literally all I've ever known. And to come out here and meet different types of people from different backgrounds, and stretch my mind and my heart and realize that there's room in my heart for everybody ... they have definitely made me a better me.