American Idol fans may be eagerly awaiting the fall releases of the debut albums by Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, and Allison Iraheta, but there's another season 8 contestant who's been quietly and quickly working on his own new album since he left the show earlier this year: eighth-placer Scott MacIntyre.
Judging from my recent chat with Scott backstage in L.A., at the Staples Center before the big Idols Live concert on July 16, he's pretty excited about his new, self-recorded project. And judging from his surprisingly solid performance at the concert later than night--doing two piano-pop songs, Keane's "Bend And Break" and Vanessa Carlton's "1,000 Miles," both of which were perfectly suited for his troubadour style--the album might be worth putting on your Idol shopping list, too, along with Kradison's records.
Below is a video of my chat with Scott, along with an accompanying transcript, in which he discusses the thrill of being able to express himself properly outside the confines of televised competition and hints at what his album (also out this fall) will sound like:
REALITY ROCKS: So we're here with Scott MacIntyre, and I want to know how the tour is going.
SCOTT: The tour is fantastic. I have no complaints. I couldn't be happier. It's an amazing time, an amazing time.
REALITY ROCKS: I imagine--and I've said this to some of the other Idols--that on the show sometimes you're forced to do things that you normally wouldn't want to do...
SCOTT: [laughs] I love how you say "forced"!
REALITY ROCKS: Okay, so "forced" is a bit negative. You're asked, required...
SCOTT: No, no, we're forced. Just kidding! It's all neither here nor there.
REALITY ROCKS: You know, you have to do stuff that as an artist on your own, you would not do.
SCOTT: Absolutely. We kind of have to do...the producers have the last word on a lot of things, you know--sometimes including song choice. So it's really a tough situation to be in sometimes. But I love this tour because it's not about television, it's not about the drama or producing a television show. It's really about great music.
REALITY ROCKS: And it's about the music you really want to perform.
SCOTT: Yeah, it's about music, and the fans that have come to hear the music--it's really about connecting with them. And I think that's all what we came here originally to do, you know?
REALITY ROCKS: So when you were picking your own songs [for the tour], when you get your own mini-set, how did you go about picking the songs that would best represent you?
SCOTT: You know, I took a look at what I had done on the show, and what I was producing as far as my music--I do have a CD coming out in the fall, my first post-Idol CD. I was very fortunate to begin working on it as soon as I left the show. So it's about midway through production right now. I kind of looked at that and at the music I'm writing all the time, and you know, I really wanted to give people more of a feel of what they can expect from me as an artist, and as a songwriter, in the coming months. And so my set is a little more contemporary than what I did on the show, a little more edge to it. It includes artists like Keane, Vanessa Carlton. It's that type of vibe. The Gavin DeGraw/John Mayer type of feel.
REALITY ROCKS: I was very happy to hear you were doing a Keane song ["Bend And Break"]. I love Keane!
SCOTT: Yeah, it's a great song. I sat down and listened to a bunch of different music, and that song really stuck with me, just that soaring melody. I fought back and forth between a couple different songs to start off my set with, and I couldn't deny that that song was just very me. It was very Scott MacIntyre. It has a great, memorable hook; it's very beautiful. So I'm just trying to give people an idea of who I am as an artist without all these filters--without Country Week, without Michael Jackson Week, without Motown Week. It's very interesting when you try to make those genres work for your personal style. This is really the first time we all have the chance to show people who we are without all those filters and, you know, all those little twists and turns.
REALITY ROCKS: Tell me more about this album. It seems you might be the first of the top 10 to get an album out!
SCOTT: Yeah, it may very well be--we'll see. 'Cause I know Adam and Kris are both in very different places; sometime they're farther along than the other one. So we'll see who gets it out first! But you know, [my album] is a lot along the lines of artists I was mentioning--you know, that John Mayer meets Gavin DeGraw meets Keane. I've really always straddled that genre between singer-songwriter and pop-rock. There's always a little bit of adult-contemporary influence, but it's very piano-driven, very, you know, kind of hip. A lot of it is kind of very cleverly, sparsely produced. It has an acoustic feel to it, but I love, at the same time, the driving rhythms and the powerpop type of feel. It's all original music. I write a lot about relationships, sometimes about my challenges, sometimes about the last thing you would ever expect a songwriter to write about. But if you can spin it into an emotional three-minute song that's convincing, that means something, then that's really where you succeed and where you achieve. So I'm very excited to share it with people. You know, it's amazing to have so many people out there waiting to hear the music I write and the music I produce. But people can actually hear kind of some foreshadowing of what the album will sound like: I have some original music up on my MySpace. You can find it at myspace.com/scottmacintyre. That's M-A-C-I-N-T-Y-R-E.
REALITY ROCKS: Cool, I'll check it out.
SCOTT: I think you'll enjoy it.
REALITY ROCKS: Cool! Well, thank you so much, and have a great show tonight!
SCOTT: Thank you! Enjoy the show!