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"American Idol" Season 13 is in full swing, but Candice Glover, who won Season 12 last year, is finally releasing her long-delayed debut album, "Music Speaks" on Feb. 18. And Yahoo Music has the exclusive premiere right here, right now.
So, does Candice, the first female "Idol" champion since Season 6's Jordin Sparks, have any fear that she may be overshadowed by this season's crop of guitar-toting boys and girls?
"It was an issue for me," she admits to Yahoo Music. "I was like, 'People are going to forget about me.' But then, Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson [also took a long time to release her first album], and she's doing pretty well for herself!"
Candice's triumph was especially sweet, considering it was her third attempt on the show. But it was also bittersweet, as it came out of a season marred by judge infighting and low ratings, a season deemed by many critics as "Idol's" most disastrous ever.
[Related: Candice Glover Performs Live at Yahoo Music]
"I don't think it was that disastrous," says Candice, acknowledging that such critiques used to get under her now-thickened skin. "A lot of things used to bother me, like small stuff used to bother me, because when you put yourself out there on TV, you're basically open to the whole world, and people are going to say whatever they want about you and to you — because it's online! But I had to get to a place where none of that stuff bothered me, and now I'm just focused on my career and my album.
"I mean, everybody has those moments where they go through this 'I'm not good enough' phase, like, 'I'm not small enough, I'm not big enough or buff enough,' or whatever — guys and girls. But after a while you get to a place where you don't care what other people think. But at first, yeah, when I went on 'American Idol,' I had a big problem with that. And then social media stuff didn't help at all, because people say whatever they want to you. But you have to block all that stuff out and know that you have a gift and your purpose in life is to share your music and your talent with the world and help somebody. So that's the biggest thing for me."
Candice learned to stand up for herself on "Idol" when it came time to cover the Cure's "Lovesong" — her standout performance of the season, and one of the best "Idol" performances of all time. It was so iconic that a new studio version was added to "Music Speaks" as a bonus track by popular demand. But it almost didn't happen last year.
[Related: "Idol" Season 13 Recaps on Reality Rocks]
"Yes, [the show] didn't want me to sing 'Lovesong' at all. … Everybody was more supportive of my big voice, and so I said I didn't want to scream at America every week, I wanted to do something sensual and about love, especially because that was the week about 'songs you wish you'd written,'" Candice recalls. "So they were like, 'We think you should sing blah blah or this or that,' and I was like, 'No I want to sing this.' And then it worked out pretty well!"
Everything came together once Candice got the official blessing from the Cure. "I know that the song wasn't cleared at first for some reason, and then we had to go through clearance for the original artist. And they said that once the Cure found out that it was me doing it [the band gave the OK]. That happened a lot during the season; like, the artist wouldn't want their songs cleared, but after knowing who was singing it, they would say yes. So that's an honor, for them to be happy that I was singing their song."
As for original tracks on "Music Speaks," there are contributions by R&B diva Jazmine Sullivan, superstar producers Rodney Jerkins and Apex, hitmaker Ester Dean, and hot songwriting/production teams the Jackie Boyz and Rock City, creating a well-rounded sound that runs the gamut from tearjerker ballads ("Cried") to upbeat club jams ("In the Middle"). The recurring theme? They're all love songs, of course!
"'Cried' and 'In the Middle' are two totally different songs, but they're both about love, and I think most of the album is about that," says Candice. "I remember before I sang 'Lovesong,' I said if I wanted to make an album I would want it to be all about love, and 'Lovesong' was a big part of that. So I'm glad that I get a chance to sing about it, because I know a lot of people can connect with it, bad or good … and it's also close to Valentine's Day!"
[Related: Valentine's Day Coverage on Yahoo Music]
As for the meaning behind the album's title, it also ties into Candice's "American Idol" journey, from insecure girl to full-grown, confident diva. "It comes from my favorite quote [by Hans Christian Andersen]: 'Where words fail, music speaks.' Being so shy and insecure in the past, I wouldn't say a lot. I wouldn't speak; I would just be off in the corner. But there was always this one song that would explain exactly how I felt. So I feel like when you're scared to say how you feel, music speaks [for you]. So that's where I got that from."