Winning the 8th season of American Idol hasn't changed Kris Allen. He still has that genuine, laid-back, southern-boy charm that won over fans on the show. Post-Idol he has hit the road hard and will return to DC just three-months after his last appearance at nearby Merriweather Post Pavilion. Be sure to catch his set as warms up the stage for Lifehouse at DAR Constitution Hall on October 24th.
I recently spoke to the singer-songwriter about life after Idol.
You co-wrote most of the songs on your album, what were you inspired by?
My relationships, whether it be now or in the past, friends, my wife, relationships that I’ve had before and just all that stuff. I’m just pulling from all of that stuff.
Did you ever get writers block?
You know that’s the hardest thing. When you’re just trying to write a song or even if you wrote maybe half of a song and you want to finish it, and it’s so hard to do. You’ve been working on it for months, or weeks or whatever and you try to finish it and nothing comes out. It happens all the time. I don’t know if it’s anything you can get over. You just have to keep trying.
When creating your setlist do you focus on original material or incorporate covers as well?
Being an opener, and since I only have one album, I don’t have a whole lot of original stuff to do. So for this opening thing, when there’s probably a lot of people that may not know who I am, I think you need to sing songs that people know and can really get in to; so that’s why we do “Man in the Mirror”, “Come Together”, so those people will hopefully know them and sing along and get in to what’s going on.
How do you keep yourself entertained while on the road? I write. There’s a lot of just playing around, playing guitars. A lot of movie watching, a lot of candy eating lately. Fans have been giving us a lot of candy lately so we’ve been munching on that… and a lot of making fun of each other.
Aside from music do you have any other talents? I’m not very talented at this but I do love playing sports and I do like watching sports. And so if I can do anything else I would probably be doing that but I am not…my attributes do not allow that.
Last year the American Idol tour had a day off in DC. Some of your fellow Idols went shopping or to the museums. Did you check out any tourist attractions? I didn’t get to do it last year but I did get to do something this year. I got to go to DC and got to check out the Capitol a little bit. I didn’t really get to go to the White House. I went to the Capitol and a couple other places and it was pretty cool.
How did you get involved with the Music Empowers Foundation? I’m a huge fan of music in schools and music education because that’s how I grew up. I started playing in the orchestra when I was 8 years-old. I think that started some kind of musical interest in me and from then on out I’ve played forever. So I’m just a big advocate of music in general and music education.
Do you ever read Vote for the Worst? It seems like they really don’t have anything bad to say about you. I’ve never really seen anything on that website except for that picture, I think they made it like a drawing that they did of me that looked like a monkey. I’m like if that’s the worst thing they can come up with, awesome.
Do you have any advice for people auditioning for Idol right now? I would just say go be yourself. If you can sing you can sing but they want to see some personality too. Whether you’re a laid back person or a really outgoing person they need to see that. So just go out there and don’t be afraid to be yourself. They want to see it.
This year on the Idols tour there were a number of singer-songwriter types. Do you think you opened up the door for them? Well the year before mine was when they opened up to people playing instruments and I think that definitely helped. So then you’ve got people like David Cook, and then I come on and play my acoustic, and I think last year there were a lot of people that did that. There are a lot of musicians out there that play and sing and that wouldn’t be good just singing… so them putting instruments in to the mix definitely opened up the door.
What are your plans for after the tour? I’m going to go back home, chill for a bit, write some songs and maybe in the winter work on an album so we’ll see what happens.
Pick up a copy of this month's On Tap Magazine for more with the American Idol winner. If you live outside of the DC area you can read the article at ontaponline.com