Former American Idol contestant Pia Toscano may have earned her spot in the limelight because of her pipes of steel, but it’s her private life that forever cemented her place in pop culture.
Pia was barely off the Fox singing competition when rumors surfaced about the beauty dating Dancing With the Stars pro Mark Ballas, and all of a sudden everything from who she was having lunch with to what she was eating was fair game to the media. For Pia, 23, it was a rude awakening.
At the 4th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting at L.A. LIVE & Opening of L.A. Kings Holiday Ice, we chatted to the Season 10 contestant about the price of fame, her new record, and why she’d like to do a horror movie.
Wetpaint Entertainment: Does anything faze you after Idol?
Pia: You know what? I was so nervous on Idol, throughout that whole entire process. I regret being so nervous. I feel like all my nerves got sucked out of me throughout that process. But I always get the butterflies before I perform, always. I kind of feel that, when that buzz goes away and those nerves go away, it's not as special anymore. So I like it.
Because you were the first contestant last season to garner an insane amount of attention, what was one thing you learned about being in the limelight?
Well, it was kind of a blur to me right away because it all happened so fast. You just really have to know who you are. You can't let everything that’s written about you get to you. Twitter became this huge thing, and when we were on the show we had to tweet all the time. And it's so great because it allows you to interact with your fans, but I remember when I first did the show, people wouldn’t always write the nicest things about you, and it hurts so bad. And I feel like people don't realize that we're human too and it hurts. But you just have to have leather skin and brush it off. It's so hard. I mean, I still get so hurt sometimes when I read certain things, but I'm human. I make mistakes just like everybody else. I may not always be spot on vocally. It happens.
I feel like the minute they let you out of the Idol pen, it was like, “Who is she dating?”
Absolutely. I'm a 23-year-old girl. I'm still trying to find my way. I'm just like anybody else.
So, on that note, is there someone in your life right now?
My schedule's way too busy for any smooching.
Single and mingling?
Not even mingling. (Laughs)
I heard you’re currently in writing sessions. Tell me what's going on.
Well, I've been working so hard on this album. I’ve been in new writing sessions and just putting my own stamp on things, kind of telling my story throughout the whole entire process.
What's the record going to be like?
It's going to be very diverse. There's going to be lots of different things. I feel like people aren't going to expect certain things, which I like. On American Idol, I was only on for a few shows unfortunately, so I feel like I didn't get to show America everything. There's going to be those ballads, but there's also going to be the up tempo’s, like Randy [Jackson] begged me for.
Which artist would you say that you're most like?
I wouldn't compare myself to any artist. I'm just Pia. But I always say, if I could define my style, it would be a mix of Rihanna, Alicia Keys, and Christina [Aguilera]. And not that I sound like any of those artists — it's not anything like that — but just their styles. Rihanna has edge, and I feel like the album has a little edginess to it, Alicia Keyes' soul and Christina's power vocals. I feel like there are ballads that are similar to what Christina would do. And I only wish I could be as successful and as amazing as those three girls are.
Do you consider acting an option?
Definitely. I absolutely consider it something in the future. I went to a performing arts high school, so I was able to dabble in acting, in musical theater and all that stuff. So I would definitely say down the road, it's something I'd love to do because I can be quite dramatic sometimes.
Do you see yourself doing a drama or a comedy?
Well, I have a very goofy side to me that I feel like nobody knows about. Most of the time I'm just being silly. And I love to laugh. I love making people smile. So comedy could be really cool, maybe a romantic comedy because I have that little love thing going on. And a horror movie would be kind of cool. You know why? Because I wouldn't have to act because I'd probably be super scared. I'm scared of my own shadow. I sleep with every light on in my house.