Kris Allen’s debut self-titled album initially sold 80,000 copies, the lowest debut of all eight Idol winners.

So, how did Allen, who will perform at the free SUMMERTHING! concert on June 27th in SF’s Golden Gate Park, feel about that initial effort?

“There was definitely enough creative control for me and all that,” Allen told Idol Chatter last week during a tour stop in Mobile, Ala. “But it was quicker than I wanted it to come out. We had four months to make an album and it didn’t happen exactly the way anyone wants to have it happen. but you have to get it out as quick as you can.”

Allen is on the touring grind now, but he is anxiously awaiting the day he gets back in the recording studio.

“Right now I love playing to live audiences. Just because it’s fun and you can get the crowd involved and all that stuff. And I haven’t done a recording scene the right way so I can’t wait to do that as well. It’s just like being in a studio for months and months and months, working with the same people over and over.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Idol Chatter, here are some of the other topics Allen touched on:

Since he was in Mobile, Ala., what was his reaction to the oil-spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico:

“I would love to help out, but I am so far disconnected from it. I know very little about it. I just know that it’s a bad, bad deal and I don’t even know what people can do about it.”
On a concert date he had in Napa last fall:

“Yes, I was out in Napa in November (2009). It was one of the best weekends of my life. We were at a couple of different wineries. A bunch of radio stations out there sponsored it and we were doing some shows.
On passing the torch as the current Idol champion:

“I’m obviously really, really happy about what happened, it was great and awesome for my career. But I’m happy to pass the torch to Lee (DeWyze) and I think that he’s gonna be a great Idol himself.

“I don’t think you ever want it (the Idol stigma) to fade away just because it was so huge in making me who I am today. I definitely think that you can do what Kelly (Clarkson) or a Chris Daughtry did and make it yourself.”
On sharing the vocals in his latest single “The Truth.”

“He (Pat Monahan) wrote the song a while back and I think it was pretty emotional for him and he kinda left it alone and he was nice enough to let us use it on the CD and when we made the single he … it was a decision to let him sing on the record and I think it went well. I had the opportunity to hang out with him not too long ago and we got the chance to sing the song together and it went well. It was cool.”
On being on-stage with all past Idol winners (except David Cook) at this year’s AI finale:

“I didn’t know how that was going to be, but everyone was so cool. I really didn’t get to talk to Fantasia, she got there a little late. Everyone was really cool. I got to talk to Ruben for awhile, he is just a down-home dude. It was really cool.”

On critiquing his own performances:

“I’m pretty bad. We’ll do a show and the whole band will come away and think the crowd loved it. But I’ll say I coulda done so much better. I’m pretty hard on myself. It takes a lot for me to go out there and say that the show was really good. Have I done the perfect show yet? No, maybe it’ll be out there (SF).”

On who he thought – of the Top 10 – was the most underrated in Season 8.

“I think if you go back and look at the whole season there were a lot of people in there that were really, really talented and didn’t get the praise they deserved. I think Anoop (Desai) had the best voice of all of us. I think Matt had talent-wise … he was so far above all of us. There were a lot of really good people.”

When he composes a song, what comes first the lyrics or the music?

“Usually the music comes first. But it depends though, it’s usually me just playing around on my guitar and something will happen. It’s not the easiest thing in the world that’s for sure. I love it. When you write a good song and you know that it’s good and it’s something that means something to you it’s a very rewarding thing.”

Has he ever gone back to perform at the church in Arkansas where he sang as a youngster

“I just played in the church, I wasn’t the musical director. I’ve been back to go to church, I think Easter was the last time, but I haven’t performed there. I’d love to go back there and perform.”

Does his wife go on tour with him?

“She is on the road with me now. We drove through Little Rock and picked her up and she’s gonna be with us for a week. She probably won’t be coming out west.”

Does he get to sightsee in any of the cities he visits?

“Sometimes if we have a little bit of free time I like to go out and see a city. We don’t get to go a whole lot at all, but every once in a while we’ll be able to see the city. But if there is something they ask us to do in a city, we’ll do it.”

On what effect his trip to Haiti had on him.

“I went to Haiti in February. I’ve been to a lot of different places the last seven years of my life and that (Haiti) was the most devastating thing I have ever seen. It was tough to imagine that it was going to take to get better. But I think that is what we have to realize over here – that we can make a difference. They still need a lot of help now.”

When he’s in the car driving and his song comes on the radio, what is his reaction?

“That is so weird. I definitely don’t turn it up. I usually change the channel. I have a hard time listening to myself sing. I mean it’s awesome don’t get me wrong. But no, I don’t sing along. Not at all.”


June 14 – Nashville, Tenn.

June 15 – Hattiesburg, Miss.

June 17 – Oklahoma City, Okla.

June 18 – Murphys, Ca.

June 21 – Albuquerque, N.M.

June 23 – Tucson, Ariz.

June 26 – Bronx, N.Y.

June 27 – San Francisco, Golden Gate Park/ Alice’s Summerthing

June 28 – Fresno



When: noon-4 p.m., June 27

Where: Speedway Meadow, Golden Gate Park, SF

Tickets: Free

Sponsor: Alice FM 97.3

Featured artists: Lifehouse, Kris Allen, One eskimO