Season 5 "American Idol" third-placer Elliott Yamin is one of the series' all-time biggest independent success stories. His 2007 self-titled first album, on Hickory Records, debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 chart and was the highest new artist debut on an independent label in Soundscan history, eventually going gold. Now Elliott is back with his third post-"Idol" album, aptly titled Let's Get Back To What Real, and amid the chaos backstage at last week's "Idol" results show, he spoke to Reality Rocks about its recent release.
"I basically had no budget, no label for it. I got to co-write, co-produce the whole kit 'n' kaboodle, and I got back to real music, real musicianship, real songwriting. I never got to make records the way did with this project," Elliott said proudly.
"I've never been under [the 'American Idol'] umbrella. I've never been signed to 19, or a part of their management team, yet they've always kept me in their good graces," Elliott pointed out. I've been able to be part of 'Idol Gives Back' a few times, a couple of trips to Africa, which was mind-blowing. If you have told me when I was standing in line in Boston [to audition] that I would get those kind of opportunities, I would have laughed at you!"
When asked what advice he could offer to other Idols thinking of going the indie route (including, possibly, recent castoff Colton Dixon), Elliott mused: "You know, the market is getting so over-saturated with shows like 'American Idol,' 'The Voice'--there are so many competition-based shows now. When you're voted off, the iron only stays hot for, like, a half a millisecond, sometimes. We live in a very ADD society. So it's important to make the best of your opportunities, strike while the iron is hot...and never lose sight of who you are as an artist."
Elliott Yamin is proof that there is definitely life after "Idol." Enjoy his slightly noisy--but very REAL--backstage interview below.
- Colton Dixon's exit interview
- Backstage at "Idol" with Kris Allen
- Backstage at "Idol" with Taylor Hicks