Regular Reality Rocks readers know I love me some Josiah Leming (yes, I am a Leminghead, I admit it), and that I've pretty much been obsessed with the kid ever since he first reared his blonde head on "American Idol" in 2008. But I don't love him for the reasons most "Idol" viewers probably love him--you know, the heartstring-tugging back story, the whole living-in-a-car thing, his easily induced sobbiness, etc. No, I love Josiah for the reason most real music lovers--as in, the indie snob types who normally turn up their noses at all things "Idol"-related--will soon come to love him. For his music.
See, when Josiah auditioned in Season 7 with his own song, a goosebumpily beautiful ballad called "To Run," I immediately recognized him as a major undiscovered talent. So it figures that the judges wouldn't keep him around--a kid like this, with his stellar songwriting skills and a wonderfully skewed mind of his own, would have never been the easily pliable puppet that 19 Entertainment and BMG desired.
It turns out Josiah was better off narrowly missing making Season 7's "Idol" top 24. I certainly wasn't the only person in the music business who realized what a gifted singer-songwriter this piano boy was, because one of the industry types who was equally impressed was Warner Bros. Records' Perry Watts-Russell, a man who's worked with the unimpeachably credible likes of Radiohead, Muse, the Dandy Warhols, Secret Machines, MuteMath, and Damien Rice. Not even an "Idol" fan--he'd never seen Josiah on the show--Perry signed the boy, nurtured his talent instead of rushing out an album to capitalize on Josiah's "Idol" insta-fame...and now, after a couple of well-received (if under-the-radar) EPs, Josiah is finally releasing his full-length debut, Come On Kid, on September 14.
A collection of 11 broodingly Anglophilic angst-ballads and piano powerpoppers that will surely win over "Idol"-shunning doubters and effectively make Josiah the ex-Idol it's "cool" to like, Come On Kid is a truly excellent effort. The kid's done good. So I was thrilled when the boy wonder came to Yahoo! to play three songs from the album, along with a cheeky bonus track: a non-album ode to an exotic dancer titled "I Got A Lover." (Hope that one ends up on album number two.)
Check out Josiah's fantastic semi-acoustic performances below, along with an informal Q&A between Josiah and the Yahoo! Music staff. And come on, kids: Go buy Come On Kid (which features "To Run," by the way) and prove Simon Cowell wrong, while you're at it...