After spending the past season writing about the American Idol contestants, I had a chance to sit down with several of them at their tour stop in Sacramento, CA.
Aaron Kelly and I discussed his stage presence, how he chose his tour set list and what’s next for him after the tour ends.
How’s the tour going?
The tour is going fantastic for me. I’m having a lot of fun right now and getting to tour different cities and going all over the U.S. right now, so I’m having having a great time with it.
I was actually at the Mountain View show.
Did you have a good time?
Yes, I did. You were the first of the night to get the audience up without having to really say anything, how does that make you feel? They were immediately up on their feet when your set kicked off.
That makes me feel good. You know, when I went in to pick my songs, I wanted my set to be very energetic and something that the audience was going to have a good time with. I mean, the problem is you know, us going out there as entertainers, we don’t just want to entertain, we also want to have a good vocal performance. And for us, we want to make sure that it’s not boring and make sure that the audience is having a good time. Because they don’t want to come to a show and sit and watch, they want to be up and having a good time.
That’s pretty much why you go to a concert, to have fun, and so when I picked my songs, I picked things that are some of my favorite songs and some that I get going to. That way the audience can tell that I’m having a good time up there and that I’m really feeling what I’m singing.
I thought you kicked your stage presence up big time since you’ve been on the show, is it easier to perform now, since you’re not being judged like five seconds later?
Absolutely. And like I said, I picked songs that I am comfortable with, and these are songs I know, and for me, I think it’s important to know what you’re singing about. The judges were saying that every week. And because we had like three days to pick a song, cut it down and learn it. I wasn’t getting to know the songs that well. I mean, of course you know the words, but there’s so much more to learning the song, than just knowing the words.
You have to know the story, you have to know what they’re talking about. And because it was a cut down version, it wasn’t a full story. You’re only getting half of what you’re talking about in the song. You know, with getting to do a full set, you get to pull out the full story, you’re not just going out and singing, you’re going out and telling a story. Somebody sat down and wrote this song, because it had a meaning to them and these words, they actually meant something. So, you’re not just singing, you’re actually telling a story. You’re like an author.
I actually thought you were the best of the night in Mountain View.
Thank you! I really appreciate that.
With tour ending very soon, what are you going to remember the most?
You know, I’m going to remember just the time I got to spend. I’m not going to be with my Idol family probably altogether, so I’m going to remember this time as one of the greatest experiences of my entire life. I would never be doing this if I had not decided to try out at sixteen. Some of the best days of my life are going to be right now, and I’m going to remember them forever. I’m going to get to say to my grandkids, “I was on that show once!” And it’s gonna be cool for me to have that forever and ever.
Hopefully, I have a career after this, so I can keep going with it and always thank American Idol for putting me here right now. I wouldn’t be here if it had not been for them. Also, one of my favorite things about this experience is the fans and how much they react. It’s just a great time every time I go out there.
Do you have any bus stories that you can share?
The thing is that we don’t spend a whole lot of time on the bus. The time that we do, we’re sleeping. Some of the best times, is when you’re trying to sleep and the guys are all back there jamming on guitar. I don’t think they’re conscience of the people sleeping, and obviously we can hear them. Like I said, these are going to be the times that I remember. I’m going to remember them sitting there, singing about virtually nothing, coming up with little jams.
After tour, what is next?
After tour, I’m moving to Nashville. I’m working with Nathan Chapman and Stephanie Chapman, who are Taylor Swift’s producers. I think that’s a good direction in type of album and songs for me. I’ve been doing a lot of songwriting. Taylor Swift started in country music at 17-years-old, and a lot of people have called me “the male Taylor Swift,” so that’s not a bad thing. It’s a good direction for me to go in, because I would love to have the same career she has.
Switching over to the judges, what did you think about Ellen’s departure?
The thing about Ellen’s departure, it was good to have this season with her. You can tell that she didn’t like to hurt people’s feelings. I think that this season needs somebody, not saying that Ellen doesn’t know music, I don’t think she knows enough about music.
With the rumors of Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler, they’ve been in the music industry. Obviously, Steven Tyler has been in this for a very long time being apart of Aerosmith and everything. I think that they’re going to have something good to offer, I mean, I’ve never heard them on a panel of judges, who can obviously know what they can offer to the show?
I will say that it was privilege sharing this season with Ellen, and I was very happy to meet her, because I’m a huge Ellen fan.
Do you think, as far as the contestants go, is it more helpful for them to hear from someone who has had success in the business or someone who is more of an industry insider?
Well, I think it really doesn’t matter only because, I think they need someone who knows music. You gotta have someone who knows music really well. You have to know everything.
Last question, what’s the most random thing you’ve signed over tour?
The most random thing that I have signed over tour? Somebody’s leg.
Thank you so much, have a great show tonight!
Check out Aaron Kelly’s performance of “Somebody Like You” from the American Idol Live tour stop in Sacramento, CA below.