Exclusive! American Idol Alum Anoop Desai on His Fave Contestant and Sexytime Soundtrack
How has your life changed since American Idol? [My life] has changed pretty drastically. Before Idol, I was in grad school. Singing was something I did as a hobby but it was never really a serious career choice for me. I’d never really entertained that notion. Now, of course, I’m coming out with 30 songs. I’m writing and producing. It’s something I never really tried to do. But now that I’m doing [music] it’s changed my life completely. I wake up in the morning and I’m doing something that I don’t think of as work. It’s fun. I’m very, very lucky to have that as a job.
Who are your favorite contestants on Idol so far this season? You know I haven’t followed [Season 10] that much. We’ve been getting ready for the Zero.0 release but from what I can tell it’s a great year. I know there’s a kid named Scotty McCreery who’s from right down the road from my hometown in North Carolina. So you know, I’ve got to give it up for the North Carolina boy.
What do you think of the new judges? From everything I’ve heard and from the feedback I’m hearing, it seems [the new judges] are a wild success. I think Idol will always be a show about the talent that’s on the show. The latest water cooler topic might be about what Steven Tyler said, but at the heart it’s still about the contestants on the show. As long as there’s still quality talent, Idol will still be a great program.
Be honest, what song are you sick of American Idol contestants covering? (Laughs) There are two songs that if someone does it really well, then it’s really impressive. But if someone doesn’t do it well, then it hurts you more than it helps you. First there’s “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley and then there’s anything from Dreamgirls. Those are songs that take a lot of ingenuity to make work because those songs have been done perfectly. I wouldn’t say I’m sick of [these songs] but I almost cringe when I see people doing them. I see so much potential when people do them and I see a lot of potential for them to go very sour.
What song would you add to the American Idol song roster? From what I hear this year, there’s a lot of popular music being sung. I think that’s the way to do it — reinventing songs that are in that are in the Top 100. I’d like to see relevant music being remade in a new way.
Do you have any advice for Idol contestants? I think the biggest thing is to be yourself. The most innate part of talent is reality — it’s the ability to be yourself and be able do that better than anyone else. Someone who was a mentor on [American Idol] told me, “you have to be you before you can do anything else.”
We have to ask, are you dating anyone right now? No, I’m not dating anyone right now. I’m single. I just moved to Atlanta so that’s exciting. It’s a whole new community to get to know. I’m looking forward to meeting new people. [Editor’s Note: Did you hear that? Here’s your chance, ladies!]
Do you have a romantic playlist? What song would you woo a girl with? You know, there’s always the classic “Crazy Love” by Van Morrison. That’s a beautiful song with a great message. You can never go wrong with classic soul — like with “My Girl” and “Let’s Get It On.” There are a lot of great classic songs that everyone knows. So if you can pull them off, that’s always great.
Do you have any favorite break-up songs? What song would you get over a girl with? (Laughs) This is hard. I haven’t had to listen to those in a while. This is the classic one that I love: Collin Hay’s “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Get Over You.” That's a beautiful song. Also, I like a lot of Elton John and Journey.
What's the most embarrassing song on your ipod? It might be “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus.
Can’t get enough of Anoop Desai? Be sure to grab his album Zero.0 when it drops on March 23rd. It will be up for download on his official website and Billboard.com.
We’ve got the scoop from Anoop! We recently had a chance to chat with American Idol Season 8 finalist Anoop Desai. These days the singer is hard at work on his three-part music project Zero Trilogy, but he took the time to answer our burning questions. Read on as Anoop spills some juicy deets on his forthcoming album and reveals which AI contestant he’s cheering for this season.
Don’t forget to head back to Wetpaint this Wednesday, March 9, when we exclusively release a brand new song from his forthcoming EP Zero.0!
What can you tell us about the Zero trilogy? What was your vision for the albums? My vision was to get at the core of a lot of moments that have affected me — they’re never completely happy, they’re never completely sad, and they’re never completely anything. I wanted each song to be a conversation about the essence of a single moment, hence zero... So for each song, I really tried to explore each one of these moments in a different way and to experiment.
How would you describe your musical style? It’s lyrical and that’s the only way I can put it... Something that I’m very proud on these albums is that I wrote them myself. I think I’ve really come into my own as a writer. I think people will grasp on to a melodic style.
Production-wise, there’s something for everyone. That will definitely be proven when you all get the next song. When you think of the song “Want Your Love,” the song we’re going to release is going to be a complete 180. When you get the album you’re going to see the extremes a good melody can be taken and that’s what I’m proud of.
Who are your musical influences? I’m all about experimenting. This album is all about experimenting into dance and a little bit of dub step. It’s also going to back to the rendition of a capella songs, going back to guitar ballads, and everything in between. In my mind what I’m trying to do is reconstruct pop music. There are so many different rhythmic and melodic elements that go into pop music today and so I’m trying to get into all of them and experiment. I’m excited to get into the extremes of sounds, in emotion, in everything.
How soon will get to see you perform live again? Will you be going on tour? We’re going to be doing some promo tours for Zero.0 in April and hopefully with the success of this we can parlay that into live performances, performances on shows, and that sort of stuff... It’s really about how my fans and my team manages to share my music. If people promote [my music] and people love it then it’s a lot easier to turn that into tour opportunities. We’ll definitely be doing some dates in April. I know we’re doing some stuff in Boston and we have a date in Ohio.
Any thoughts hitting the West Coast? If the music takes off like we think it will then it’s definitely a possibility. I’m dying to get to the West Coast. I’m also dying to get to Japan, India, the Philippines. I would love to go everywhere.
What four words would your use to best describe yourself? Oh man, these are always the toughest questions. Motivated, curious — I always want to be a part of and try new things — social, and introspective at the same time.
Here’s a fan question for you! Describe the perfect kicks and the perfect kiss. I always like my shoes to be pretty interesting so I like wild colors — the ones that no one wants to wear. I like purples and greens and blues in my sneakers. They would definitely be high tops because they go with baggy jeans, they go with skinny jeans, they go with everything else.
The perfect kiss is a complete 180 and I don’t know how to answer that. I guess it depends on who it’s with.