So, Casey Abrams now will forever will be the No. 6 contestant on Season 10 of American Idol after he was eliminated Thursday night.
Following is a transcript of his conference call with the media on Friday morning…
Q: How are you feeling today?
“I’m feeling really good, actually…maybe I’ll break down crying some other time, but right now I feel really good about what happened last night and what’s happening today.”
What about the Haley ‘shoutout’ at the end of your sing out?
“I was saying goodbye to my very special musical friend…that’s all it was.”
Are you and Haley a romantic couple?
“No we are not.”
What instruments do you play besides the bass and the electric bass?
“The guitar, the piano, the melodica…those are all the ones I played on the show. I also like playing the drums, the sitar, the accordion, the clarinet. I took lessons for about a month on the sitar. Everything else is self-taught.”
Any formal voice training?
“I’ve had vocal training in Colorado, I’ve had some singing lessons many years in the past…4th grade, something like that.”
What about last night’s singout?
“What was going through my mind was ‘Let’s make this good.’ I was completely on random mode. I didn’t plan on ending up on Haley, it just happened that way. Nothing was planned. Sometimes the best performances in jazz when you improvise and play a different solo each time is the best feeling in the world.”
Talk about bringing Jazz classics to Idol.
“I couldn’t feel anything less than amazing, I feel that I’ve done something pretty cool in this competition. But so has everyone else from the Top 13. Look at Paul bringing all this folky stuff, Jacob bringing all the gospel stuff. I think we’re all doing our part to make American Idol a little bit more different than last year and the years before.”
What would a Casey Abrams concert be like?
“Pure craziness is probably the title. There’d be everything. The last two performances, “Harder to Breathe” and “Nature Boy” sums me up–let’s just rock this hard and have some fun and lets slow it down and lets play some smooth jazz…there would probably be more instruments than you’d expect.”
Who is the better kisser, Jlo or Steven Tyler?
“Steven Tyler. Jlo just let me kiss her, but Steven Tyler actually kissed me back. It’s a different story.”
What has American Idol done for your confidence as a performer?
“Everything. I used to not like to sing in public and now I feel like I’m singing a little bit too much. I’ll sing in hallways with random people I don’t even know. Maybe it’s a bad thing, I just feel a lot more comfortable on stage and I feel like I can do anything on stage now.”
How do you fee you connect with the audience?
“If I were a street performer, I’d want everyone who is walking by to look me in the eye and feel a story that I was saying.”
Are you a kissy/huggy type of guy off-stage?
“That’s a good question. No I’m not a big kisser. When I’m on stage and peoplel are watching, I tend to do things nobody would expect. I think people were going to expect I was going to kiss Jlo again, so I tried Steven Tyler and I tried the whole audience. “
How did you feel about Jimmy talking about your growling (‘The family dog does not vote on this show’- Jimmy)?
“Honestly, it’s hilarious, it is good advice. I listen back and I think I was growling just a little bit too much. I think I was having more fun than actually paying attention to what was going on musically. You’ve got to have a good balance, and I don’t think I had that balance that time. I think Jimmy Iovine is funny.”
How is your stomach ulcer problem?
“I kept getting injections of that gold old medicine that really helped me out, and learned how to deal with the stress a little more than I had been. The show has been helping, because I learned how to talks to people, communicate. Talking to Jimmy Iovine and really standing up for myself it relieved stress. I usually just hold it in, but the fact that I told people how I felt has made me a different person.”
What would you have sung next week?
“I was thinking from the sixties, maybe like, I was going to do “Eleanor Rigby” with an acoustic guitar and just sit on stage. And maybe for now–we weren’t really sure about what ‘now’ meant, so I was going to try “Smooth” by Santana or maybe a Blink 182 song just for fun.
What will your first post-Idol album sound like?
“It could be rock, it could be jazz, maybe a mixture of both. I have a feeling it’s going to be that–a mixture of rock n roll and maybe some jazzy chords.”
The last couple of weeks the growl was back. Were you ignoring advice?
“It is kind of how I sing when I don’t think about it. I think that’s a good place to be when you don’t think about how you sing. I think maybe the Maroon 5 song needed it, and maybe the “Hi Dee Ho” song needed it, but maybe I gave it a little bit too much. It’s a gray area-it’s hard to define what’s a good growl and what’s a bad growl.”
The Nirvana song seemed really aggressive. What’s that pain about? What inspires you to get into angry mode?
“I laugh at everything, I’m a more happy person than most people. Maybe it’s just, I have to my acting skills. Or maybe I have this aggression that I just keep inside me. I don’t know. I feel like I’m very laid back. It’s not aggression maybe–I want to do something different on stage than just be all chill.”
Were you and Haley ever dating?
“We were never dating.”
Did you expect to get this far after the judges used their save on you or did you think you’d be out in a week or two?
“That’s what I was really afraid of–that’s why I knew I had to work hard. I was like ‘this would be kind of embarrassing if I got cut the next week’ so I really tried to work hard. I didn’t really expect to make it to the top, I expected to maybe make it this far. This is exactly what I expected. I can’t be mad at that.”
How did he learn about jazz artists like Oscar Peterson?
“Idlewylde Arts Academy. I went to boarding school there. I was actually one of the only day students who went to a boarding school. I learned from Marshall Hawkins, one of my jazz teachers. He taught me the fundamentals. He showed me all this great music. He taught me piano and upright bass. That’s why I know a lot of the artists I know.”
What kind of stresses were you under being in the competition?
“I was scared of looking stupid on stage, because I didn’t know a certain song. I wasn’t stressed out this week, because I really didn’t know both of the songs that I was supposed to sing. I think I had more fun with Haley because I fed off of her energy. I would have been more stressful–which may have helped going into this week, just trying to learn the song and make it a little bit better. But I didn’t stress out.”
Tell us about your time in Chicago (Casey lived in Chicago from 1st-4th grade).
“I had some fun there. I was there when the Chicago cows were there. I lived a block away from school, so I’d walk to school. That’s where I learned to play the recorder, which later got me into clarinet, which later got into ever single type of music. The recorder really started a lot. I saw these big Xylophones, I got on those. I love the bass notes. I think that might have struck something in my brain ‘aww bass notes’.”
Did you talk with Crystal Bowersox last night?
“I think the fact that we’re a little bit different and go off the beaten path–we had a nice conversation. She gave us a really nice gift. She gave us these cool little microphones. She was really nice. She waited outside when I was in a little conference and she just waited so she could just give me the microphone. It’s the little things–she didn’t let stardom ruin her. She’s awesome and I loved her performance because it was so different. She had an organ solo, and the slide guitar–it was just so fun. She’s awesome.”
Did you think you would be leaving last night?
“I don’t know what it was, I feel like maybe everyone was just so incredible, that time. I feel like my performance was pretty good, but seeing Jacob kill it, and seeing Haley kill it, seeing Scotty and Lauren kill it, and Durbin obviously. It just made me feel–these guys are incredible, these guys could carry the show, I don’t really need to be here. So, If I go home tomorrow I’m prepared.”
Will American Idol hurt your being accepted as a serious musician?
“I’ve always worried about that, but my goal is to bring that kind of music into the popular culture. I don’t think the serious musicians have to take me as a serious musician. I just want to get them better known. It’s stuff like that–I want to be the middle man–’I want you guys to be heard by a popular crowd.’”
Have you ever thought that you might be cuter without the beard?
“I thought about it, but I don’t think it’ll work. I think the beard makes the face–I feel like if I shave I just don’t have a chin anymore.”
If you were to take one treasured memory away from Idol, what would it be?
“Definitely the people you meet. There’s a lot of people that can get up on that stage and sing. There’s even people who got cut that really can sing. But it’s this experience living with all these other serious singers and musicians that really make the experience what it is. That’s what I’m going to miss most about it, to be honest.””
How did you feel about last night’s results format? How did you feel standing there with Scotty?
“A little bit of nervousness, but it was more like ‘let’s just get this over with, let me sing, just call my name already.’ I just had this feeling, as soon as Jacob and Scotty were there, and Jacob went off, I was like ‘Oh OK, well. No one’s going to do anything to Scotty, so I’ll see you guys later.’ That’s how I felt.”
What did the judges tell you at any point in the season that will stick with him forever?
“I remember during a results show Steven Tyler kinda looked over at me and he did this motion–he pretended he had a razor and he started shaving his beard. I followed that. I’ll remember that because it was very nice of him. I remember him last night, after my dress rehearsal he came up and said some really nice things and some constructive criticism, so did Jennifer Lopez. Randy said some nice things backstage too. He said he’s going to teach me how to slap bass. I really need to learn how to do that. He’s been air bassing. It’s been useful.”
Tell us about the difference between living in Chicago and California.
“It was kind of depressing at first, it’s friends. I loved the vibe up there, I didn’t have any problems whatsoever. I think I liked it a little better because you got to go exploring and each day you find a different hiking trail you can go up. Town is just 10 minutes away through the forest in my back yard. In Chicago you have to drive everywhere.”
What is your favorite instrument?
“I didn’t mention it, but I really like the cello. I don’t think I play it the best, I love the sound, because it can be like a violin or a bass. It’s got that versatility. It’s beautiful.”
Did you get better advice from the judges off camera?
“Off camera, it feels better because they’re looking you in the eyes and they are standing right next to you. When Jennifer Lopez is like ‘Hey, I’m sorry I said that to you yesterday, I just really want you to stop growling…I do it out of love’ stuff like that makes me feel a lot better.”
Casey’s final words:
“Don’t take yourself too seriously. Take music seriously, but not yourself. That’s all I got to say.”