大好きなテニス選手が大活躍中なので、バンドのいないクリスは、ほとんどチェックしてません。（汗） With his debut album out and his first tour just around the corner, Kris Allen's career is bigger right now than ever before and he was right here in Colorado Springs Wednesday night. A lucky group of my99.9 contest winners were treated to an intimate concert with the 'Idol' winner at the Broadmoor Hotel.
KKTV Web Director Leslie Fichera sat down with Kris for a one-on-one interview to talk to him about everything from his CD, his new-found fame, his upcoming tour, his fans and what's next for him.
"I’ve been given an incredible opportunity and I'm just trying to do the best I can with it."
Click here to watch the entire raw interview with Kris Allen!
As an Idol fan myself, who rooted for Kris last season, I was excited about the opportunity to sit down with the emerging star. I was curious about a lot of things, including how he's dealing with his fairly new and overwhelming fame and how it's changed his life.
"How hasn’t it changed, really? I mean, I live in a different place, I get to play music for a living and I have the coolest job in the world. I mean, I don’t know. My life has changed drastically, but definitely for the better," he says.
Has this completely been a whirlwind for you?
"Yeah, I mean, I try to just understand what just happened, and it’s not understandable. I’ve been given an incredible opportunity and I'm just trying to do the best I can with it."
When asked if there's anything about fame that's surprised him, Kris laughed as he admits, "It’s not as scary as I thought it probably would be. It’s fun. I have a great time. Whether it be people noticing me in the airport, or getting to play huge shows, getting to meet really incredible people like Keith Urban or Garth Brooks or whoever it be, Stevie Wonder, it’s awesome."
Going from a regular guy who happened to be a great singer, to winning the most popular show on TV and being thrust into the spotlight, with all of the money and the fame... I wondered, does Kris Allen still get star-struck?
"All the time. Like we were talking about earlier, I just did a Keith Urban show and he asked me to do a song with him during his set and I was so nervous. I mean, the last thing you want to do is mess up in front of Keith Urban. But I got up there and messed up the words during our rehearsal. But I think he’s human as well and he messed up the words as well. He probably did it just to make me feel better, I’m sure. Yeah, so I definitely get star-struck."
Speaking of performing with Keith Urban, Kris also recently opened for Lady Antebellum, the country music band whose name has dominated the headlines, most recently taking home Song of the Year, Single of the Year and Top Vocal Group at the ACMs. If you're an Idol fan, you know the judges often nudged Kris in the country music direction, so is this a sign his music style is headed in that direction?
Kris' response: "I don’t know what’s going to happen exactly. The plan is not to go country but I think the way that music is right now, you see what has happened with Lady Antebellum, and you know, they are country but they’ve had a song on pop radio. So maybe if I had a song that came out and it was playing on the radio, and country stations wanted to play it because they thought it was good, then I think that’d be great. I think that should be possible, you know?"
Just moments later though, Kris laughed as he realized the answer to my next question ended with a country star... but he swears it's all a coincidence. That question: If you could chose anyone to perform with, living or passed, who would it be? Kris' answer: Garth Brooks.
"That’s a hard question. I went to Vegas a couple weeks ago... I saw Garth Brooks' show and I was so amazed by what he does, and it’s just him and his guitar. I would love, love, love to do that. I would love to get on stage with him and just both of us, with our guitars, just singing his songs. That’d be pretty awesome."
Kris has always been doted as the quiet, modest type who takes his faith seriously, so has his faith changed his approach to his career, his music or his fame?
"I think the whole thing is that I've always been the same person and definitely, when you go through something like Idol, it’s going to change you. But it can change you for the worse or it can change you for the better and I feel like I've put it to the better. I've always been the same person. I've always kind of been this down-to-earth. I feel like I'm a real guy, who’s just kind of gotten this great opportunity. And I’m just trying to run with it."
A real guy and Arkansas native who knows where he came from and keeps going back.
"We just bought some land back there actually. So we may build a house soon out there. That’s definitely the plan."
The "we" he's referring to is his wife Katy. Just newlyweds when Kris started his journey on Idol, a lot has changed for the couple since they said their vows.
"She’s dealing with it incredibly. She actually loved moving out to LA for a little bit, and she’s liked it. She’s been a big supporter of me from the very beginning and I don’t know, I couldn’t ask for more, I really couldn’t."
What's next for the man who's just seeing the beginning of a wildly successful music career?
"I'm always writing stuff. I think the biggest thing is that the end of may, beginning of June, I’m going to go on tour with the band and we’ll be out for I think the whole summer and into the fall. So that's very exciting."
That tour will bring Kris to Denver on July 12 to perform with The Bare Naked Ladies.
"We played a show with [Bare Naked Ladies], a while back... I stayed and watched their show and they are so good, like they are really funny and they put on a great show so when we got that gig we were really excited about it."
As for his Idol days, Kris keeps in touch with fellow Idol-ers, including taping a duet with Allison Iraheta for Oprah's 'No Phone Zone' special. He says he texts a lot with Adam and also sees Anoop and Alexis on occasion. In response to a KKTV viewer's question about the reality of the Simon and Seacrest feud, "I don’t think it’s a show but I think they have fun with each other more than anything, I actually think that they're pretty good friends. I don’t know though. You don’t see a whole lot of that back stage."
Another fan question... What's the first concert you ever went to? "My first concert ever and going back to the country thing.. I was six or seven and I went to a Reba McEntire concert. It was Reba McEntire, John Montgomery and Tracy Byrd. It was a great show. I think I was 7 and I had the cowboy hat on, the silk shirt, I was done up," Kris laughs.
His fans are loyal and growing in number, with 174,949 Twitter followers and 375,927 Facebook fans. Kris gives an inside look to his celebrity life, with a twist of hometown boy, with updates ranging from "This just said to me: "you smell like a Nutri-Grain Bar." to "Glad everyone had a great time last night but this is not the end of the @KeithUrban (slash) @KrisAllen journey. We will meet again."
Does he think the social networking helps him connect with his fans?
"I think it does. I think it lets them see a side of you that they would never ever see. Whether it be stuff that you care about or just weird quirky stuff that pops into your head that maybe you jot down. I think it give them a little insight into you, personally."
Though this private concert was his first trip to Colorado Springs, he's a frequent visitor to our state. He has family here and named visits to Pagosa Springs and Vail. After playing a show in Vail this winter, Kris says he snowboarded for a few days and greeted fans on the slopes.
"People come up to you and say, 'hey I was a fan' or 'I voted for you,' or 'I wasn’t a fan.'" -- that's when I had to interject, laughing as I asked, do people really say that?
"Yeah absolutely," Kris laughed. "It’s just whatever. It’s cool, I like it."
Making it clear he's a big fan of all of his fans, I asked if there's anything that surprises him about his loyal listeners.
"Just from being like a regular person… how much they care. There was a group of fans that came to a couple shows and we had a show in the Bahamas, and they were there! And I mean obviously they came out there to have a good time at the Bahamas but they were there to see the show. That’s insane! I cant imagine doing something like that, but I mean, to have people’s support like that is really great."
After our one-on-one, Kris stuck around for some photos and joked with the KKTV crew. An intimate group of about 50 contest winners were then serenaded to a private concert, singing cover songs like "Man in the Mirror," one of his most well-known Idol performances, "Heartless" and his new hit single, "Live Like We're Dying."
The night ended with Kris signing autographs, shaking hands and even doling out some hugs, for the group of avid fans.