Hey Gasmii, I got to talk to Alexis Grace, Michael Sarver, and Danny Gokey, the first three in the top 12 for American Idol last week.
Here’s the the interview:
Nads: Alexis, can you talk about the song arrangements, the process, etc…
Alexis: Well, the thing about American Idol is that it’s a show that helps form you as an artist and we have the best people working on the show to help you. You should really just listen and take their advice because they know what they’re talking about. Rickey Minor, he has a big to do with the arrangement and song, and you have input. You just kind of work together, but as I said, the people that work on the show in the music department, I mean they’re amazing. They’ve worked with the best from Whitney Houston to Stevie Wonder and Quincy Jones. I mean they’re amazing. So, you’d be silly not to listen to them and take advice from them.
Nads: Are you going to bring your little one to Hollywood? If so, how’s that going to be??
Alexis: I am nervous. I mean any mom would be nervous because it’s their kid and they are so attached to their child. I mean that’s their responsibility. But, it’s only for a little time and this little time apart. As long as I work hard and dedicate myself to it, I know I can get it done because I have the best family in the world and they’re going to help me out with whatever I need and they’ll be traveling back and forth. So, I’ll be able to get to see her, but not as much as I would like to. This is all to better our lives.
Nads: Let’s talk about your look and how it’s changed since you audition…was that all your doing?
Alexis: I kind of like the whole like ’60s kind of soul cocktail dress kind of vibe thing. Yes, I have a lot of input in my wardrobe and my girlfriends as well. We all get together and do shopping and just kind of try to work on it as a product almost – not a product, but just trying to really form my look together because I think that’s very important in this business, too, especially as an artist because you want to be able to identify with an artist. Part of that is their look.
Nads: How nervous were you before you went on?
Alexis: I was nervous. I don’t know. I don’t know what was going on with the other contestants that night. I don’t know what they were thinking in their minds while they were singing, but I can tell you what I was thinking. I was just thinking, “You know what? I’m going to make the best of this night.” I’m going to take in everything that the people on this show have been telling me and just like cherish this moment forever and just go out there and have fun and perform because that’s what you want to do, right? I mean that’s what I want to do. I did it for my family back home.
Nads: What do you think about the four judge situation?
Alexis: I think it’s great that they added a fourth judge, especially with Kara DioGuardi. I mean she’s an amazing songwriter and singer. She knows the business and knows music. So, it’s just only for the better. She gives us just more advice. It’s just good to have the extra critique in there.
Nads: Hi Michael! Let’s talk about the new judge, how is Kara?
Michael: Oh, gosh; Kara DioGaurdi as a judge – it’s really incredible because she brings an incredible mind for music to the table. She brings incredible talent that she has herself and she really knows how to interpret what she’s saying when she’s commenting. It’s easy to understand what she’s trying to get across.
Nads: How has your experience been compared to what you thought it was going to be?
Michael: Something unique that I didn’t expect about American Idol is how close you get to the people you work with and the other contestants. You find yourself watching the show going, “Oh, come on.” Now, you know it’s a competition. You can’t be that excited for them, but you really do grow as friends and you really develop a bond that there’s no sense in it. You can’t make sense of it and put it into words, but it’s there. I really have been completely and pleasantly surprised by the relationships that I’ve experienced.
Nads: I want to know what your biggest transition has been coming to Hollywood. What was your biggest shock, but what did you think Hollywood would be like vs. what are you actually seeing?
Michael: A lot of people have good comments on that. I guess when you hear of Hollywood and you see it on TV, you see flashy and fancy and clean and this and that. I was actually surprised to come and find out that it’s very simple. It’s beautiful. The hills are incredible and you see all the great scenery and the Hollywood sign is incredible, but it’s still simple – real people with real lives all around you and it’s really cool. It’s a great place.
Nads: So, you like it?
Michael: Lol. I do. I really do.
Nads: Let’s talk about Simon and his plea to keep you on, what do you think about it?
Michael: Simon making a plea for me on my behalf; I don’t take that lightly at all.I really take a lot from that as a compliment because I appreciate compliments on my voice and my singing and things, but to be complimented on the person I am really means a lot to me. I have no doubt it had an impact and I appreciate it.
Nads: Is there anything going on the show that has impacted you?
Michael: As a viewer, another story on the show that really hits me is Danny Gokey because my wife is my absolute best friend and I tell you; if she did pass away, I don’t understand how I could wake up the next day. To not only view him on the show, but to be around him and see the incredible person that he is; I have mad, mad respect for Danny Gokey.
Nads: What do you think of the Wild Card element?
Michael: The Wild Card element for American Idol is very special because it means that, for instance, last night is not the end for a lot of people. It means not only a second chance, but it kind of carries them through because I can’t imagine the disappointment that I would have felt last night had I not made it through. It gives you that extra hope. I love the Wild Card round because Clay Aiken was a Wild Card and good things come out of “wild” things.
Nads: Hi Danny! Can you talk about how you picked “Head it through the Grapevine?”
Danny: Hi! Yes. The thought process behind that was it showed my range. It was a fun song and the number one thing is it showed my ability. And so, that was actually the whole point of singing that song.
Nads: You situation with your wife being gone must be hard, has it impacted your time on Idol so far?
Danny: In a previous interview that I did today, everybody wants to hear what I have to say. It weighs on my mind a lot though because honestly, this is a sob story I don’t want. I don’t want this story, but it is shaping my life and it’s causing hope for a lot of people knowing that it’s causing hope for my life. I didn’t want to live any more after she passed.
So now, I have my mission set in stone of what I want to portray myself as and just who I am. I don’t have to portray myself as anybody, but as far as being me, but there’s a fun side to me that’s going to come out. And so, people have to stay tuned in. I apologize to everybody if they feel like it’s shoved down their face, but it’s so fresh in my mind.
Nads: What do you think of the new Idol process with the groups?
Danny: I’ve been saying this since day one. It’s never been harder to get into the top 12, but yet also, it’s never been easier because of the fact that you don’t have to go from 36 or 24 even all the way down to 12. I mean you get from 36 right to 12. So, you skip all that. But, the thing is that makes it so like gut wrenching is that there’s amazing talent that is being sent home and it’s almost like an unfair shot. It makes sense, but it doesn’t make sense. It’s so hard to explain.
Nads: How sad are you that Jamar is off the show, I know he was a big support for you…
Danny: Well, I really can say this, and I hope you will take it the right way. At this point of the game, it’s easier now. Even though I want him to be here, but I feel more emotionally stable. I wanted him to be here, but I’m glad he was in Hollywood. I’m so thankful he was in Hollywood because in Hollywood, what people don’t know is that Hollywood was very, very tough for me. I put on this face, but I was miserable on the inside. Only he knew that because I poured my heart out to him.
But since Hollywood, as crazy as it sounds, but I’ve let go of some things that I was gripping on to so deeply. I think letting go of the toxic emotions tied to the situation has really set me free to be able to start enjoying this. It just so happens that even though he’s not here, I’m at that point. I never forget the memory of my wife, but the hurtful emotions that were really tying me down, especially during Hollywood week with all the pressure, the producers, and all the pressure that’s put on you from the show because you’re herding all these kids around and all that talent there. Do you know what I’m saying?
I want to thank the Alexis, Danny, and Michael for talking the time to chat! Can’t wait for this week’s shows!