Chris Daughtry Talks Halen vs. Hagar, Beatles vs. Stones, and Daughtry vs. the Haters
"American Idol" Season 5 finalist Chris Daughtry is about to release a new album, Baptized, and while its new sound — poppier, cleaner, lighter, even downright folksy in parts — will likely win his eponymous band new fans, it's also inevitable that it'll alienate some aficionados of the angst-ridden, hard-charging signature sound of Daughtry's first three LPs. Already the album's lead single, the EDM-tinged "Waiting for a Superman," has polarized Daughtry's fanbase and sparked fervent Internet debate. But as Chris sits down with Yahoo Music to preview three other tracks from Baptized — the upbeat, almost Bon Jovian title track; the groovy "Battleships"; and a humorously nostalgic ode to the good ole days, "Long Live Rock 'n' Roll" — he doesn't show much concern for the haters.
"Concern? That's probably not the right word as much as the word expect. I kind of expect a few people to just not get it, you know?" he shrugs. "And I'm okay with that, because this is where I'm at right now. I'm very proud of the record. I always think about Van Halen, what were fans thinking when 'Jump' came out with all the synthesizers? Of course, back then the Internet wasn't around, so you didn't hear immediate hate. But my point is, I can't continue to put out the exact same thing. And the fans don't deserve that."
While the sound of Baptized may throw some listeners for a loop, Chris sees it as more of a natural progression. "I love the stuff that's out on the radio. I've always been a sucker for pop melodies," he insists. "I love the Katy Perry stuff, Pink, Imagine Dragons, even Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers, so [my album has] all these aspects of everything I love that's out there. I wanted to experiment a little bit with those kind of sounds and incorporate it in what we do."
Working without his bandmates or longtime producer Howard Benson this time around, and joining forces with such producers as Martin Johnson (Boys like Girls, Christina Perri, Hot Chelle Rae), Sam Hollander (Train, Neon Trees, Owl City), and Claude Kelly (everyone from Britney to Whitney), Chris took a radically different approach to Baptized. "I knew I needed to do something different for my own personal inspiration and get out of the same kind of pattern that we had done the previous records in. I needed to be challenged and to go somewhere different, and I didn't know where that was, but my whole motto behind everything I was writing was, 'If it sounds anything like something I've done before, then it's not being finished.' I was starting to trust it if it was making me go, 'Man, what are people gonna think of this?' That was kind of my barometer: 'If it's that different, that's probably a good thing.'"