Here is a transcript of Jacob Lusk’s conference call with the nation’s media on Friday morning:
Was the pressure getting to you?
JL: “I was getting a little tired, and really trying to do different things that I thought he would like…and that America wanted different things. At the end of the day, I definitely went out and said ‘I’m going to give it my all, I’m not going to hold anything back.’ And that’s what I did.”
Did you sing the highest note you’ve ever sung on Idol? Has you ever broken glass?
“I have broken a glass, but not with my singing. I’m kind of clumsy! But I have definitely sang a lot higher than that.”
Comment about America not looking in the mirror if you made the bottom 3 (When he sang “Man in the Mirror”).
“That comment had nothing to do with me and my vocal performance. I’m not the greatest singer in the world, at least I don’t feel that I am. That was really more about my song selection and it was more about what was going on in the world at that time. The Japan disaster had just happened a couple of days before. For me, it was about all of us taking an internal glance. It had nothing to do with people voting for me. It wasn’t about that. It was about me wanting people to really look…look at ourselves and look what we could do to change the world, because the world is in a disastrous state right now, with disasters happening all over, It’s up to us to make a change. It especially starts with me. It had nothing to do with me being voted in or voted out. It was kind of sensationalized a little bit…a whole lot.”
Did America understand where you were coming from?
“I think sometimes the didn’t know what to do with me, but I think a lot of America got it. I think they got that I was the R&B crooner, soulful gospel guy. And those lines oftentimes blur. A lot of those great R&B singers like Luther Vandross, Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston got their start in the church–even Mariah Carey has a lot of gospel roots. I think they got it. I just didn’t have the greatest performance on Wednesday, and I wasn’t really in my element. That’s probably the reason why I was sent home.”
Did Jimmy Iovine’s negative comments hurt? Was it soul destroying?
“I wouldn’t call it soul destroying. It definitely hurts a lot to have someone who is supposed to be mentoring you…and it feels like every time you turn around kind of tearing you down. But what you have to remember is that you’re not doing it for him. You’re doing it for the people out there in America and they’re the people who are voting. It definitely hurts, it’s definitely hard to have someone beat you over the head with a baseball bat and then say ‘alright go out here and sing for your life.’ What I do and what I’ll continue to do now that the show is over for me, is to really give my all and continue to show my heart and to continue to do my best and touch people. That’s what it’s about. It’s about touching people with music. It’s not about how great I can sing, or how many riffs I can do or how good Jimmy thinks I am, or how bad he thinks I am. It’s about me putting out great music that America loves.”
Talk about taking the audience to Church last night (especially after the cameras stopped rolling).
“I made a joke months ago, I said ‘Ray if I ever get off this show, if I ever win, whatever happens, we’re going to church.’ It was kind of a joke. I finished singing and I didn’t want it to be a sad crying moment. I did cry after the show was over. But with these people here I said ‘We are not going to cry, we are going to rejoice.’ Because I made Top 5 and there’s an amazing group of 4 people left to choose from. I didn’t want any sad faces, no crying. I wanted joy.”
How great was it to have your family on stage?
“It was not planned. I didn’t even know they were up there until I looked up and I saw Jlo getting her church jig on, and Steven and Randy. It was not planned. It just kinda happened.
Nigel, Debbie (the stage manager) and your grandma were dancing…
“Definitely my grandmother. They (his family) were just proud. They were happy. I wanted to do this for a very long time and I always said I wanted my grandmother to see me make it, and she did.
Talk about what you’ve been through in your lifetime?
“My mother and father divorced, and my father died when I was 12 years old. I’ve been through a lot of different schools. I was picked on real bad when I was younger, beat up, had been through bad grades, and then having good grades, and then moving out on my own. Being the prideful person that I am, been homeless. I’ve gone without. There’s been times where I didn’t have any money, didn’t know what was going to happen or what I was going to do. Moments like that where you really just feel like giving up. Especially in this industry it’s so hard not to have any support sometimes–times where I just didn’t think I was going to make it. But, I kept going and I’m here.”
Talk about your relationship with church music.
“You can’t take gospel singing out of a person. Some of the greatest soul and R&B singers of all time–Chaka Khan, Patti Labelle, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey–do a lot of church gospel-inspired riffs. Beyonce–it’s all in there. Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, Teddy Pendergrass–they all have done that so it’s something that you can’t run from. It’s a soul thing. It’s not even necessarily a church thing a God or a Christian thing. It’s something that you just kind of feel, it just kind of oozes out. That’s what really goes on.”
Talk about your “God Bless the Child” performance in Hollywood.
“It had been a long week, 250 people had been whittled down to about 100. I was tired, drained and a person actually went up right before me and sang “God Bless the Child” and killed it, so I was scared, I was shaking in my boots. I went out there, I don’t know if anybody noticed, but I changed one of the lyrics of the song. When I ended, I said ‘God bless the child that’s got his own. I need my own. I was tired. I didn’t want to go back home to my normal life, and I had to have my own. That’s really really where I sang it from. Everybody has theirs. Jl0 has hers, Steven had his and I wanted mine. That’s where I sang it from. I didn’t want to struggle any more. I didn’t want to wonder where my next meal was gonna come from. I didn’t want to wonder where I was going to live or if I was going to have money to pay rent and now I don’t have to worry about that ever again.”
Who would you like to perform with on the finale?
“I would love to perform with Whitney Houston, Patti Labelle, maybe Chaka Kahn, maybe a little Prince, somebody like that–someone like that. Maybe if it were gospel, Yolanda Adams–just so many people. But I would want somebody who was big, big, big, big–big R&B soul singer.”
Are you interested in acting?
“My primary focus is an album, but I definitely want to look into doing some theater, maybe some Broadway as well as some film. I haven’t done any film. I’ve done some off-Broadway plays and some gospel stage plays, but I definitely want to do some Broadway and some film, for sure.”
What would your album sound like?
“You’re going to hear some traditional R&B, which I feel is missing from the scene. There aren’t any Luther Vandrosses, Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye singers out right now. There’s a lot of pop and bubble gum. I think that’s what I bring naturally, I don’t have to try to do that. You’re going to hear those “Huse is not a Home”s and those “Superstar”s and those love ballads. You’re going to hear that. Definitely some inspirational music as well. That’s going to encourage people to keep living and keep fighting.”
Were you surprised to be eliminated?
“I had expected it–not because of my bottom 3 finishes, but because of the judges’ feedback and my performance this past week. I was the only one who wasn’t in his element last week. Everyone else was in their element and I did songs that weren’t in my genre, that weren’t really my thing, trying to do something different. This wasn’t the time to do that, I feel that’s why I was voted off, not because I was horrible, or because they didn’t like me, or they liked somebody else better. Those 4 people who are there did amazing and were in their element Wednesday night, and I wasn’t.”
What was your reaction when Lauren Alaina wound up in the bottom 2.
“To be honest, it’s 5 of us, so anyone of us could be in the bottom 2 or the bottom 3. And especially with everyone being so amazingly talented, I think that the vote is just about split evenly. It’s such a close race, that anybody could win. Any one of us could have got sent home.”
Talk about escaping poverty in Compton and Los Angeles.
“When I was 17, I thought I was grown into everything. I moved out of my mother’s house, trying to be independent, and a know it all. I moved to L.A. and got my own place, really roughed it out and became a man. The only way to get out of a certain situation is to educate yourself, and that’s what my plan was. I graduated from high school. I was student body president, I was a speech and debate captain for the WBFL league, and I took AP classes. I said ‘if I want to get out of here, I gotta go to school’ and that’s what I did. I went to college and took some music classes and that re-invigorated my passion for singing, and then I started working with Nate Dogg–that’s how that progressed.”
Talk about the contradictory advice you got from the judges.
“I definitely got some contradictory advice, but I think that what Randy always tried to tell me is that it was up to me and I have to be myself. Any time I’m being myself, they can’t say anything. That’s where it really comes down to is being yourself and being the best that you can be. When you’re great, you’re great. When you’re good, you’re good. Nobody can argue with that. That’s what I have to do.”
Will you try to avoid the Gospel label? Is it difficult to cross over?
“I don’t believe it’s difficult at all. A lot of legendary artists have done it. I’m not forsaking my gospel–that’s where I grew up. That’s what people love to hear me sing. It’s just a balance. The thing is to find a middle ground that hybrids both of those.”
Has anybody reached out to you from the Gospel or R&B world?
“I have not as of yet, but I’m pretty confident. I’ve heard some things through the grapevine. I think I’m going to be fine. There’s a world out there who is desirous of what I believe I have to offer. It’s just about me really going out there and giving my heart and soul. there someone somewhere out there who’s going to want it. I’m excited to just to give that. There’s some grumblings in the grapevine that I have heard.”
Did Jimmy Iovine talk to you after the show?
“I have not spoken to him or seen him after the show. All is well. I have no complaints. He has his opinions, and he’s definitely entitled to them. I’m excited and I feel good about where my career is headed. It’s now time for me to get to work, time for me to put out those great R&B records, time for me to go on auditions, and get on Broadway and maybe do some film. I definitely see some duets in my future, hopefully Chaka Kahn, Patti Labelle, maybe a little Whitney Houston for me. Definitely exciting.”
His closing remarks:
“I want to say thank you to everyone who supported me. I don’t take any of it for granted. I’m definitely looking forward to putting out a great record. I’m thankful for the comparisons to Luther Vandross. I’m so honored by them. I want to put out a record that will not only make his fans proud, by the new fans I’ve acquired and make them proud as well.”