Singer/songwriter Kris Allen, best known as the winner of last year’s American Idol, is now touring the country, and eventually – the world for that matter. Before the fame, this Jacksonville, Florida native already realized his potential as a musician while attending the University of Arkansas. Placing his studies on hold, Allen went to on to drop out of college to focus more on his musical talents. From there, he was able to write and produce his own album titled, Brand News Shoes, which referenced his days as a shoe salesman. Despite producing 600 copies, the album was given out to friends and family.
After performing for several years, and on a few occasions opening up for Season six contestant Sean Michel, Allen decided to give American Idol a shot. After auditioning in Kentucky, Allen was selected to go to Hollywood and become a contestant for the eighth season.
Throughout the duration of the season, Allen received praise for his many folk-inspired performances with modern pop songs, along with his ability to play several instruments during his performances such as the electric guitar, keyboard and piano. Allen established himself as a true musical artist as he was capable to perform a variety of songs from different genres such as “Heartless” by rapper Kanye West, Oscar-winning song “Falling Slowly” from the indie film, Once, an acoustic version of “She Works Hard For The Money” by singer Donna Summer, and “We Are The Champions” by legendary rock group Queen.
In May of last year, Allen was declared the winner of American Idol, season nine. Right after winning Idol, Allen was making his presence felt in other events such as performing the National anthem at Game 2 of the NBA Championship finals. Allen eventually signed a deal with Jive records.
Later in 2009, Allen released his first single, “Live Like We’re Dying,” a song originally recorded by Irish Pop Group, The Script. Allen later released his self-titled debut album a few months after, which peaked at number eleven on the Billboard Hot 200 charts. Following the release, Allen made several appearances on high profiled television shows such as ABC’s Good Morning America and Live With Regis and Kelly, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, NBC’s The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, and CBS’ The Late Show With David Letterman. Allen also performed at a pre-game event for an NFL football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Miami Dolphins.
This talented artist, whose latest single “The Truth” having just been released, is currently on the path to success as he’s embarking on his first solo tour this Summer. In our exclusive interview with the Idol winner, Allen talks about working with Pat Moynahan, plans for future albums, his experience in Haiti, his thoughts on Simon Cowell leaving, and much more!
- Q: You just finished a new version of your single "The Truth" with Pat Monahan. What was it like to work with him? - JennTse
- A: I think it was real hard for him to do something for the album, but I think he wanted to do something. He put this little spin on it. It's been really great, I mean he has a great voice, He's been really complimentary on what I've done so it's been great.
- Q: You've opened a few times for Keith Urban. How did that come about? And what's it like to work with him? - Jake Gable
- A: I don't know exactly how it came about, we just kinda heard about it and kind of rejoiced. It was pretty awesome! He's such a great artist, such a great guy and he's really fun to work with. We did a cover, "Boys of Summer," in Vegas a couple of nights ago, and he's just an easy guy. He really is. He really likes for everything to be fun and he makes everything a lot of fun so it's cool.
- Q: Is "Boys of Summer" going to be released? - Jake Gable
- A: Oh, I don't think so.
- Q: Now that you have a little distance from the first album, is there anything you would've done differently on it? - JennTse
- A: I mean, my thing is that everything happens for a reason, but if I could go back and I would love to spend more time on it, you know? I think that's the only thing that I would've loved to do you know. We only got so much time for the album. We had four months to make it, three of those months were on tour, so there wasn't a whole lot of studio time in there. But it turned out really great though.
- Q: You just signed with Universal, what's happening with the next album? - Monica Davies
- A: Yeah, it's funny because people figured that out now - we signed them from a while back. I'm writing stuff right now and am kind of focusing just on touring right now. We'll get to the second album, you know, when it gets here.
- Q: Can you give us any bit of a preview about what it'll be like stylistically? - Monica Davies
- A: Kind of the same stuff, maybe a little bit more raw. We're just going to wait until we get in a studio and kind of figure things out.
- Q: You just went to Haiti, tell us about your experience there? - Kadeen Griffiths
- A: Yeah, I went to Haiti probably a while back. It was a really weird experience. You know, it sucks, and it was crappy over there, but it was cool. I went over with the UN, and it was cool to see what they were doing, making everything better, putting people in shelters, getting people food and working with the government. They're on track to making everything a lot better than it was.
- Q: Do you have one memory that stands out to you as being the most vivid about that experience of going to Haiti? -
- A: I think there are a couple. I was working on picking up the rubble and throwing it into this big truck and somebody had found a body. This is way after the fact. I guess they're still finding bodies. That was a pretty harsh experience and definitely a little weird. Then there was also a moment when we asked our translator, 'do you think there's any chance for hope?' and she said, 'Yeah, it really feels like that.' That was a cool thing, too.
- Q: You've been involved with Rwanda charity as well, did you get a chance to actually visit as well? - Uinterview
- A: Yeah, I went over there for like a week, and I got back probably two weeks ago, and it was so cool, man. It's the most beautiful place I've ever been. We handed out some shoes to about a 1000 kids and that was really great to be able to do something like that. It seems so small, but these kids don't have shoes and it's a big deal. So handing out shoes to the kids was just very rewarding and means so much to them. We went back home and did a concert for raising awareness about it. It's just really cool, man.
- Q: You're the first Idol winner who was married when he won, have you found it's been hard on your marriage to have to tour and do all the promotion? - Uinterview
- A: No, I don't think so. It's been great actually. She likes that I get to do what I want to do, she likes the time that she's been able to spend in L.A. and she's been able to travel with me to a couple places the last couple months. That's been even better. She didn't travel with me at first so you know, getting to travel with me the past couple of months has been nice.
- Q: What do you think of this year's crop on Idol? Initially they got some not so positive reviews. - Uinterview
- A: I think it takes time, it takes time for these people to kinda get used to what's going on. I know it did me. Once you get used to all the stuff and the cameras and what you kinda have to do throughout the week. I think they're just starting to hit their stride. I think they're really talented. I think Crystal's got a great voice, I think Lee's got a great voice. I think Casey's going to do really well.
- Q: What do you think about Simon leaving? How is that going to affect the show? - Uinterview
- A: I don't exactly know how that's going to affect it but it's obviously going to affect it in some way. I think the people that work on that show and the people in charge they've obviously done their thing and it's been the number one show forever. I think it'll be fun to find a replacement.
- Q: Do you ever get the chance to stay in contact with the other contestants like Adam or any of the others? - Uinterview
- A: Absolutely. I'm going to Allison's birthday party is tomorrow. And yeah I talked to Adam, you know he's so busy that we don't see each other at all that often although we do text plenty. I see Anoop once in a while. I talked to Alex and Matt Giraud. I mean there's a lot of talking going on.
- Q: Last year, there was all that controversy about Adam coming out. What was your take on all of that in retrospect? - Uinterview
- A: Oh, you know, the thing is that Adam has always been who he is, and he has never hidden anything from me. I don't exactly know how people didn't know. You know, I was his roommate from the very beginning, so I mean I never had any problem with it, so him coming out was old news to me.
- Q: What are your plans for the summer other than this big tour you've got going on? - Uinterview
- A: That's pretty much it, man, we're going to start going out in June or late May so we're gonna be out there the rest of the summer. We're out there be looking out for us.
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