Kris Allen: I'm Not Mr. Serious All The Time
It may feel a lot like 2009 right now as Kris Allen and Adam Lambert both prep to unveil hotly anticipated albums -- but unlike the debut CD's each offered up after their season of American Idol, it was important to both boys that they be allowed to marinate in the music a little bit longer this time.
This dedication to perfection has resulted in a pair of (lightly delayed) albums that each exuberantly exclaims is exactly the record they've wanted to make their whole life. I already brought you my one-on-one with Adam, so now it's time to chat with Mr. Allen.
Although I won't unveil the entire interview until mid-May (sophomore CD Thank You Camellia drops on May 22), I simply couldn't keep you Allen-holics in total withdrawal!
Insider.com: Your Vision of Love video has gotten really strong reactions from fans. What made you want to tackle this important topic?
Kris Allen: The message is in the song, so it had to be in the video. It's a call to action – telling people to stand up for what they believe in. To stand up for humanity, and the goodness of it. We wanted to bring the characters in the song to life. We wanted to put faces to those people.
Insider: You really got to take your time with this album, did that make for a more enjoyable recording experience?
Kris: It was a lot of fun. I know some fans were getting antsy; felt like they were waiting a little too long for new music. But I feel like it was well worth it. I got to spend a lot of time writing and a lot of time perfecting these songs. Making sure the lyrics are great, making sure the melodies are great, making sure I give my fans the best music possible. I wasn't able to really tinker with songs on the last album in the studio – I would go in, sing and be done. This time I was in the studio all day, till the wee hours of the morning, working with the producers. I loved it.
Insider: The title, Thank You Camellia, has left some fans scratching their heads. Can you clarify what or who Camellia is?
Kris: Camellia [pronounced Kuh-mail-yah] is the place that I stayed at in LA -- it was my place to unwind after a long day of writing in the studio. It was that place I could go, relax and enjoy being myself. Enjoy being around my friends. It was a lot of fun making this record and I wanted to thank those people who helped me. I really wanted to give them an homage.
Insider: Your dog Zorro has three thousand Twitter followers and is featured on the album cover -- has the fame gone to his head?
Kris: [laughs] You know, his head is pretty big already – I don't know if it could get bigger. He knows that he's kind of a big deal.
Insider: You had a lot of fun with a Pictionary-themed video to reveal The Vision of Love. Are you planning more of those?
Kris: Yea. I like to involve that stuff. I try to be funny ... although I am not a self-proclaimed funny guy. I think the fans love that stuff and it's almost like they get to know me a little bit better when I do stuff like that. I'm really a big goofball and it's nice for people to see that side because most of the music I write is pretty serious. I want people to know I'm not Mr. Serious all the time.
Insider: Will you be touring for this album with The Kris Allen Band?
Kris: We're still working out the details, but there will be touring for sure. And the guys are back – it's going to be very cool. Over the past couple years, we've all become such good friends. I got very lucky getting involved with a group of guys that have meant so much to me. They're not just hired musicians. They'll all be with me on Idol this week.
Insider: Speaking of, have you been watching this season?
Kris: I haven't watched the past couple of seasons because it's been weird. You come off the show and you just need to step away for a bit. This year, I've been watching religiously. And I have some favorites, but I will say that while season eight is the best of all time, season eleven is not far behind. Those guys are very talented.
Insider: Care to share who those favorites are?
Kris: I think the person who is the most ready to go and market is Jessica Sanchez. She's very cute but she's got an amazing, amazing voice. There's so much confidence there and everything she does is so effortless. I also think Joshua [Ledet] is one of the top two or three vocalists that's ever been on the show. I think he kills it every week. It's amazing.
Insider: You're also getting to do a little judging yourself as part of DoSomething.org's Battle For the Bands contest. Why was it important for you to get involved with that?
Kris: I'm a huge advocate of music education – I was so involved in that growing up. I played in orchestras all my life and it was a huge part of me growing as a musician and an artist. Right now, with money being so tight, it seems like the easiest thing to cut out – but music programs are very, very important. Even if these kids aren't going to pursue a career in music, it's an essential part in everyone's development. Plus, I love being a judge [laughs]. I was judged on the show, so it's fun to be a guest judge every once in a while.