The days when Idols like Kelly Clarkson and Taylor Hicks battled bitterly for songwriting input on their albums seem to be long gone. Season 7 winner David Cook wrote or co-wrote all but two of the cuts on his post-"American Idol" debut (counting his bonus tracks); Season 8 champ Kris Allen had credit on 11 of his deluxe album's 16 songs, including one song, "Red Guitar," that he wrote years before he even auditioned for "Idol"; and now latest winner Lee DeWyze has set a new Idol-songwriting record by penning all but one of the tunes on his post-"AI" debut, Live It Up, and being the first "Idol" winner since Season 1's Kelly to actually have a co-writing credit on his first single ("Sweet Serendipity").
I recently got to visit Lee in his super-secret L.A. practice space, a dimly lit lair where he and his newly curated band were rehearsing his many originals for the upcoming round of nonstop promo surrounding the November 16 release of Live It Up. A musician to the core, Lee seemed unwilling to set his guitar aside even for a 30-minute conversation, clinging to it throughout the interview and even eventually strumming it a bit as he discussed the songwriting process. I didn't complain.
So after my epically failed bagpipe-joke icebreaker (sorry, couldn't resist--and yes, I do want a bagpipes-remix bonus disc on future Live It Up pressings), it turned out to be a great two-part discussion of music, offering real insight for fans about Live It Up's creation. Enjoy!