GRAMMY Camp® Journalists got the chance to interview some of the Top 10 American Idol season eight contestants at the Staples Center in Los Angeles before the Idols Live concert. Scott Macintyre, age 23 from Scottsdale, Arizona, was the “Top 8” contestant of the show and told me about his plans for the tonight’s show and his career post-Idol.
Ellie: Are you excited for tonight?
Scott: "Absolutely, it’s gonna be a crazy show because all the industry is out here, probably a lot of celebrities. I don’t know exactly who’s coming but it’s always kind of the intensity…this and New York are the most intense shows of the tour. It’s kind of crazy but I’m looking forward to it. I’m originally from Redondo Beach, south of L.A., so it’s great to be back in California. I’m excited."
Ellie: I’ve heard that the contestants bond pretty quickly. What’s it like backstage with the American Idols?
Scott: "We all imitate each other, to a very far extent. Everyone’s rubbed off on everyone else. We’re kind of the only group in a while, from what I’ve heard from the producers of the television show, that’s actually talked to each other and made fun of each other literally as we’re walking on stage. So normally you’d kind of be in your concentration bubble trying to get ready, which we did, but there’s always a lot going on. We had a good time."
Ellie: Does that help keep you from getting nervous?
Scott: "I think it can, especially on the television show, it’s very different from the live show. On the TV show, we’re all timed down to the second so on a commercial break I’d go on and sit down at the piano and literally count down the seconds. There’s no stopping, there’s no room to just take a breath and say, ‘Relax, breathe now, start the song.’ The cameras won’t wait for you. It’s a similar situation here but there’s a lot more leeway and I think having so many people in the room with you takes a lot of the pressure off."
Ellie: How do you like performing live versus television?
Scott: "There’s a lot to be said for the show just because it goes out to millions of people, but I would perform for 10,000 people live over thirty million people through a camera any day. It’s just a totally different experience for me. It’s not so much about television and about drama and about production, it’s really about the music. It’s just as important to connect with the person in the front row as it is to the very back of the stadium so it’s great for me because I can just work my way around, work the different sections of the stadium. It’s not so much about the small camera lens that’s pointed at you."
Ellie: What are your plans for after the American Idols Live tour?
Scott: "Actually, I have a lot of plans. The first thing is, I was really excited to be able to start work on my album as soon as I left the show. So that will be coming out after the tour this fall. It’s going to be all original music and lyrics. I’ve also been approached by a book publisher to write a book. Actually a pretty renowned publisher that most people would recognize their work, so the book could take a number of different angles on my life, but that’s something I’ll have to think about and sort out in the coming weeks and months and figure out what I want to do about that. The other thing is that I’ve been a songwriter for my entire life and I’ve worked at it year after year and obviously I do it professionally now where, when I was a kid I was just starting, but I always had that creative side to me. I’ve actually been approached by some major music publishers as far as representing me to write for other artists and bands. That’s definitely going to be an exciting part of what I do from this point forth. I’ve always kind of done that; I’ve written for myself, obviously, but I’ve written music in genres as diverse as punk rock, R&B, country, and then my own stuff is kind of the singer/songwriter pop/rock. I’ve gotten very good at keeping each genre separate, because if your country song starts sounding like your punk song, you’re in trouble. So, it’s going to be very exciting. I’m looking at my options right now but I would love to co-write with some of the people that are out there. That’s very exciting for me that there is that new choice. I have a lot to think about, but right now I’m just enjoying it. I’m trying to use all my spare time to talk to those people and follow up, figure out what I’m doing after the tour because there’s a lot to do but at the same time I’m just enjoying the moment. I’m so grateful to be here, it’s a dream come true. It’s everything I ever hoped it would be and I’m very aware that not many people get to start by touring stadiums. I had done some touring as an independent musician and recording artist before the show, on a smaller level, so it’s pretty amazing."
Ellie: If you could co-write with anyone, who would it be?
Scott: "I would be open to a lot of different options because there are a lot of writers that are not artists, people that write for the likes of Beyonce and things like that. I would really love to co-write with some artists out there such as John Mayer and Gavin DeGraw; I really respect what they’ve written and how they’ve performed it and they’ve actually influenced me, those two specifically, in a big way, as far as how I present my ideas in a song. I’d love to perform with them if we ever stumble across that circumstance, but writing with them would just be incredible, especially John Mayer. I feel like he has so much to say in his music and I love the way he does it, it’s very concise. Bruce Hornsby is another one that comes to mind, from a different era. I sang some of his music on the show and he wrote me a nice note after and I wrote him back, so he seems like a nice guy. I’ve loved his music over the years as well. When I was about 15 or 16 years old and I was just starting to write pop music and to sing more seriously, someone goes, ‘You know, your piano solos sound like Bruce Hornsby.’ I had no idea who he was so I went home and my parents looked him up and my brother gave me a CD of his for my birthday and that became one of my other big influences. So you never know, I’d love to write with a lot of different people, but we’ll see where it goes. If people want to hear what I’ve written and what’s coming up on the CD, I have a lot of original music on my My Space."