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|'Idol' Comes to Saint Rocke|
by Michael Hixon
(Updated: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 5:41 PM PST)
Elliott Yamin came up short in taking the fifth-season crown of “American Idol,” but the soulful singer cultivated a loyal fan base during that whirlwind experience.
Yamin will make his South Bay debut headlining at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach Saturday, Nov. 12.
Since his third-place finish behind Taylor Hicks and Katharine McPhee in 2006, Yamin released his self-titled album in 2007. That album went gold (selling more than 500,000 copies, reaching No. 3 on the Billboard charts) and had the hit single “Wait for You,” which reached No. 5 on the Billboard pop charts. He followed that with two holiday albums, “Sounds of the Season: The Elliott Yamin Holiday Collection” and “My Kind of Holiday.”
In 2009, his second pop album, “Fight for Love,” was released, but it didn’t make the splash his first album had. Hickory Records dropped him from the label, so his third pop album, “Gather ’Round,” was released this year in Japan. Yamin is expected to release a new album in the United States early next year.
Yamin has also been busy entertaining the armed forces to volunteering for charitable causes. He went to Angola as part of “Idol Gives Back” and recently returned from Japan where he performed at a tsunami relief effort concert.
Yamin spoke this week to The Beach Reporter about his new music and his experience on “American Idol.”
The last album, “Gather ’Round,” was released in Japan this year, but not in the States yet.
I’m going to be releasing a version of that here in the states in March. The reason being, I already had a licensing deal with the label I’ve been working with (in Japan) and partnering with since my first project came out. That had been a definite thing and Hickory had dropped me here so I went for the sure thing. I had new music recorded and done and ready to roll out. I had the content. They had the deal. I said, “So let’s do it.”
What’s the new material like compared to the first couple albums?
Very different. There are flashes of some of the first album, just because how organically it was done. The first time around I was very green to the recording process. I didn’t know my capabilities as a singer in the studio or even how to use my voice. I hadn’t really discovered who I was as an artist. I knew who I was as a singer. I think I’ve found a really good sound and did what I wanted to do. I wanted to make timeless, classic music and make it soulful. I got to work with some amazing people and players and got to involve a lot of my players who I’ve been playing with over the past four or five years in my band.
Where did that soulful sound come from?
My mom (Claudette, who died in 2008) was my first musical influence. She was a singer herself. She never made it professionally, but that’s how my brother and I were born in L.A. She left Virginia when she was the same age (28 years old) I was when I left for Hollywood week on Idol. There are so many parallels, but that’s one of them. She came out to find herself and become a singer, but it never panned out her. She introduced me to soul music and doo-wop sound and standards from the 1940s and 1950s and 1960s when I was an infant. It was kind of ingrained in me. I want to say it was in my DNA, but my brother has no musical talent whatsoever and neither does my half sister.
“American Idol” was five years ago. How crazy was that whole experience?
Any type of adjective you could think of wrapped up in one. It was a whirlwind kind of experience. I had an absolute blast. It was the best time of my life, man. My life changed drastically for the better almost overnight. It really prepared me for what I was getting myself into. I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. All I know I wanted to take a chance, my first and only real shot to become a recording artist and establish a career for myself. I had so many jobs and I come from such a working class family. So much happens and life happens and can pass you by sometimes. “Idol” came along and offered me that opportunity to really go after it. People always asked me, “What did you expect?” I really didn’t know what to expect. That was the beauty of it. I was flying by the seat of my pants as most of us were or all of us were. I learned a lot about the business and how it works. I learned a lot about myself also. I really realized my talent and my gift. I’m forever grateful for that experience and what it has led to.
What has been the most surprising thing about your post-Idol career?
I get to do what I do. That surprises me still to this day. I haven’t become too jaded. The support really surprises me. There’s a lot of support out there and people just dig what I do, which enables me to do this. I have learned the world is a big place and music is that one language that we all speak. Getting to go to Japan a lot and the Philippines and getting to see different parts of the world all through me opening up my big mouth, which my mom told me I always had, and singing. It’s something I’ve been doing since the doctor said push. I’m really fortunate.
Thank you Michael Hixon for this amazing article!!!!!