Did you feel any pressure to release an album as soon as you could after the Idol tour wrapped up?
I was very anxious to get it out there. I had just come off of Idol and I was singing cover songs all the time. It was definitely, definitely worth the experience. But then I did the Idol Live! tour and that was another two and half months of singing the same two cover songs every single night. I was really itching to play my own music and get it out there.
With the tour, you guys played the U.S., then you went over to the Philippines, so when did you record the bulk of your album?
There was a week in between right after the U.S. leg ended. We had a week off before we went to the Philippines. That week off, I recorded two songs, then went to the Philippines for a week and came back and finished all the rest of the vocals. I think, in all, we had 14-15 songs recorded; really just chose the best and chose the bonus track and the pre-order track. So all in all, it took about two and a half weeks to record all the vocals, which wasn’t a long time at all.
Did you go into making the record with a specific message that you wanted to get across?
No, I wanted to make a record that had songs that I could relate to, songs that I could sing about personal experiences; to sing them with that intensity, that emotion. And that’s where the name of the album comes from, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, looking back on my life and looking back on moments of my life that at the time I thought were disastrous. And maybe at the time I was thinking, I wish this never happened. Why am I like this? Why did I do this? Why did I do that? But now I can look back at those moments and see the beauty in the pain and see the beauty in what was once a disaster.
How did you decide on Howard Benson to produce your record?
Howard actually reached out as being interested in producing the record. Amazingly talented producer. Grammy Award winning producer. One of my longtime favorite bands is My Chemical Romance. He produced their record, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. He did four Motörhead records. I mean, the guy’s a genius. I wanted to come out with my first album saying, “I’m here. I’m ready to be a real player in this game.” I wanted to make a statement and I got Howard Benson to produce it. He’s one of the biggest producers in the world, so it was definitely a no-brainer.