Fans of American Idol's golden era surely remember Josiah Leming, aka Season 7's "crying kid who lived in his car." Although Josiah was shockingly cut during that season's Green Mile episode, the outrage over his controversial early elimination helped him grow his own organic fanbase and establish a career that has outlasted those of some actual Idol finalists.
However, it's been a while since we've heard from Josiah, who's now 25 years old and residing in Las Vegas. After signing a short-lived record deal with Warner Bros. in 2008 and releasing two EPs and one full-length album with that major label, he's taken the independent route. He hasn't released any new music since 2011, but now he's back with a new single, the aptly titled "Long Gone," premguitar right here on Yahoo Music.
"I found myself pretty uninspired for a while," Josiah tells Yahoo Music's Reality Rocks, reflecting on his hiatus. "I tried some things musically that didn't suit me, and I went on some long tours. I struggled with music for a while, not knowing if I should maybe pack it in and try something else. I was making a decent living, but it was taking constant focus on the business side of things to make that living. A lot of people say, 'What can you do to break through in the music industry?' or 'How do you want to market yourself?' — and I just don't think in those terms. I don't see myself as part of any music industry. I just make the stuff; there's no business transaction driving the process. I think, 'Does this sound good or bad?' I don't know too much about the difference between good and bad music, I just know what I like.
"I got really tired of my songs and playing them, and I didn't feel like I played any instruments good enough. It started to possess me, drive me mad. I removed myself for a good three or four months from music altogether, and just lived a different life. Eventually I found myself picking up a guitar again, and really loving it, and I knew there was a record in me."
As for Josiah's yet-untitled forthcoming third album, he explains the reason for its delay: "Recording it was a nightmare. I recorded the songs, rerecorded them, then rerecorded them again. I was pretty certain from the start I wanted to produce it myself, and play all the instruments. What I didn't want to do was actually record it on my own. It takes an organized mind to make sure that comes out right, and a lot of discipline too. I don't have much of either of those things. I spent about six months developing all the ideas, then jumped into a studio in Los Angeles with a guy I met that I felt good about. There are a few older songs that it was very important to me not to mess up. With the new ones, it was 'Is this good enough, are you sure this is good enough?' Once the record was done, ready to be released, I ended up scrapping it. It was a hard thing to do, but it wasn't good enough. I left L.A. and rerecorded the whole thing again on my own."
Josiah's long-awaited third album doesn't have a release date yet, but "Long Gone" serves as a nice preview of its more guitar-driven, less piano-heavy sound. If you like what you hear, the song is available on iTunes HERE, and check out more of his video on his YouTube channel.