On season 10 of American Idol, Casey Abrams was known for his fearless performances of jazz, rock, and blues tunes. He was initially eliminated from the competition before reaching the top 10, but the judges used their one save to keep him in the competition. Abrams stuck around for several more weeks, eventually being voted off in sixth place. He has kept busy since that time. Following the American Idol LIVE! tour in the summer of 2011, Abrams began further honing his skills as a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
In addition to working on an album, he also became involved with IBD Icons, a charity that supports research for inflammatory bowel disease. Abrams has ulcerative colitis, a condition that causes inflammation of the colon, and can result in painful and debilitating symptoms.
In June of 2012, his self-titled debut album was released by Concord Music Group. Abrams is currently supporting the release by performing gigs around the U.S. He took some time to chat with me about his music, his plans, and his health.
So are you touring right now?
Yeah, I’m playing little venues here and there.
You co-wrote most of the songs on your new album. Did you have songwriting experience prior to working on this album?
I had written some by myself at my house. I’ve never written with someone. It’s a weird process getting together with someone you’ve never met before and trying to write a song. That’s the process I went through. It’s a different process going through verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge. It’s very technical, but very fun.
Were any of the songs on this album songs you had worked on before Idol?
No. These are all ideas I came up with afterwards. It was kind of how I was feeling after Idol, and some of the experiences I had.
How quickly after the show were you in the process of putting this album together?
During the tour we were kind of talking about it. After the tour ended I went back to L.A. and immediately started going to writing sessions.
How did you decide on doing “Hit the Road Jack” with Haley Reinhart?
Steve Jordan, who produced the track, and I decided on it. It was just going to be me at first, and I was just going to play bass and sing on it. But then I figured the original Ray Charles one had a chick in it, so I thought it would be nice to try it as a duet. I figured me and Haley had covered a couple of songs on Idol. I pulled her into the recording session to see what would happen, and it was magic.