Being on Season Six of American Idol and making it into the Top 5 was an incredible experience for me. I'm currently working on my album, songwriting, and co-producing with some extraordinary people. One of the first songs I recorded, "All Alone," was
leaked all over the internet before it was even completed.
The song starts out kind of soft-hearted but by the time you get to the chorus, the aggression and pain begins to come out. I wrote it as a cautionary tale. If you mess up in a relationship, you will be left all alone. I think it’s something people can relate to.
As I've come to learn, being part of the Idol phenomenon can be a double-edged sword. The exposure and the fan base you acquire can really push your career forward, the doors open for you. On the other hand, there are labels that don’t take you seriously. You always have to fight that perception, but looking back on the experience, I’m very grateful for the opportunity.
I was born in Belgium, the son of a career Air Force officer,I've been writing and performing songs since I was in my teens and grew up in the Virginia Beach, VA, area, a hotbed for musicians, including Timbaland, the Neptunes, Missy Elliott and Chris Brown. I'm also very into sports and played football, basketball and baseball in high school.
Over the years I learned to play guitar, drums and keyboards as well as sing and write. At 17, I won a local talent contest, where one of the judges was producer Teddy Riley, who immediately put me into a studio to record. Just before going on Idol, I was asked by Timbaland to work on what would become the best-selling Shock Value album in his Virginia Beach-based Thomas Crown Studios, but had to take a pass to be on the show.
Being on Idol taught me how to display my talent and connect to an audience. You learn who accepts you for what you are and who doesn’t, because you either continue on the show or you’re voted off. I tried to stay on as long as possible, so I could show everything I could do as an artist.
I love songwriting and have worked with a number of fellow Idol alums. I co-wrote a pair of songs for Blake Lewis’ debut album (“What’cha Got 2 Lose?” and “Human”), as well as for Jordin Sparks and Phil Stacey. After I performaned songs by Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts, I received feelers from the country community to work in Nashville.
My first priority is to be a performer, but I love to write. I may write a song in the studio that’s not right for me, but would be wonderful for someone else. Being known as a songwriter builds my credibility as an artist. You want to show people everything you’re capable of.
My debut album will reflect artists I consider my favorites, including Maroon 5, Jason Mraz, James Brown and Michael Jackson and Phil Collins.
I hope, over time, people will know me for something other than Idol. I just want to do something different, something that will surprise people.