Qaasim Middleton was the latest American Idol XIV contestant to be eliminated last week. Here is a transcript of his exit interview with the media:
Moderator: Thank you. We have Emily Katharina with the SciFi Vision.com. Go ahead, please.
Emily Thank you. Hi, Qaasim, thank you for talking with us today.
Qaasim No problem; thank you for calling.
Emily Oh, thank you so much. So, I was wondering, now that you’ve been eliminated, very sadly, what was your favorite experience during Idol?
Qaasim My favorite thing was just the fact that I met all of these wonderful people and the network and the connections and the fact that we got to laugh and just really take over the game one step at a time. I got so much to give you all; you all don’t even understand. I’m so excited, man. You have no idea.
Emily Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, did you have a favorite person that you worked with during your time on Idol?
Qaasim Well, okay, I love everybody. The person who was my mentor, my coach, outside of Scott Borchetta, was Kenya Hathaway. And Kenya Hathaway, other than my mother, has been really helping me out vocally and keeping me really whipped into shape, and really just keeping me focused and just showed me all the ropes about everything that was going on in this industry and just—and she just really was amazing and amazing help and amazing asset to my progress as a human being and as an artist.
So I’m really happy that she did this for me, so I can’t wait to see her again and see all the rest of my Idol family again, you feel me?
Emily Oh, wonderful. Well, good luck to you.
Qaasim Yes, ma’am, thank you. God bless you.
Emily Thank you. You too.
Moderator Thank you. Our next question is from Judith Little with Yes TV. Go ahead, please.
Judith Hi Qaasim, how are you?
Qaasim I’m good. How you doing?
Judith I’m great. It’s nice to chat with you again.
Qaasim Yes, ma’am.
Judith I have to tell you, your Canadian fans have been loving your performances every week.
Qaasim Yes, ma’am. Thank you.
Judith And you know you can’t get through this interview without us asking you about that infamous mic drop, when you were saved a couple weeks ago.
Qaasim Yes. Like I said before, it was just really within the moment. I wasn’t thinking too hard about it. I just felt like that’s what needed to happen.
Judith Okay. And you’ve been so open about your faith throughout this process. How does that play a role in your everyday life, and also while you were experiencing this crazy Idol journey?
Qaasim Oh, with God? Yo.
Judith Yes, exactly.
Qaasim Yes, God, it’s all about just, you know, staying true and being centered, you know what I’m saying? If you don’t give the glory—you’ve got to give the glory. That’s what it is, because all things happen for a reason and all due praises to Him. So, He definitely has given me a light and a path to allow for myself to grow and He’s making me a better human, making me a better communicator of the arts.
Because everything is on this earth to communicate in one way or another, and I’m just really happy to have gotten this experience and met these wonderful people and gotten this much exposure, you know, and these networks and connects. It’s just such an amazing experience, so I can’t wait to just keep going now.
Judith Great. Thank you so much. Congratulations and good luck.
Qaasim Yes, ma’am. Thank you so much. God bless.
Moderator Thank you. We’ll go next to Stephanie Piche with Mingle Media TV. Please go ahead.
Stephanie Thank you. Well, congratulations for making it this far. We’ve really enjoyed watching you. My question is, what have you learned about yourself during this process?
Qaasim I learned that I’m very resilient. And I am pretty good at singing and dancing at the same time. But it’s just I’m still learning so much more.
And, you know, this experience has packed in years and years worth of training in such a small little amount of time. And we all—I was talking to Quentin about this, like, on Saturday, and I was just telling him how I realized that our song learning skills, like, and our memory skills have gotten so good over the past several months, because we were constantly being hounded to learn new songs, to be able to perform them in front of the public, if we don’t know them already.
So it’s just like, I feel like I did everything in my power to possibly do what I needed to do for the show, and I felt like I contributed a heavier amount to the show in regard to the people. I feel like they’ve also contributed a heavier amount to me, so it’s just like a wonderful experience, you know what I’m saying. I’m just so blessed, man, you have no idea.
Stephanie Well, keep doing what you’re doing, because you have more good things coming. Thanks for your time.
Qaasim Yes, ma’am, I definitely—yes, ma’am, thank you so much.
Stephanie Okay, take care.
Moderator Thank you. (Operator instructions.) We’ll go next to Donna Campbell with the Sun Herald. Go ahead, please.
Donna Hi, Qaasim. Everyone in Moss Point, Mississippi sends you their love.
Qaasim Oh, thank you.
Donna And I saw your mom and Khalil every week in the audience, and your grandmother was home in Moss Point every week watching, and she was getting her church friends to vote for you. So how important was your family? How important have they been in this journey from the beginning?
Qaasim If they weren’t here, I wouldn’t have gotten this far. They kept me centered and they kept me focused and they kept me envisioned on the path that I needed to do. And they realized that, you know, this is such a beautiful opportunity, you know what I’m saying?
I didn’t go up to this competition with the mindset to beat everyone. I came in with the mindset to do as well as I possibly could and be better than I was before. And that’s literally what I feel like I’ve done. I’ve grown. I feel it, you know. I spiritually feel that the energies are different. I’m much more mature with me.
And I can’t wait to keep going, man. I got so much to give to you all. I have so much to give that God’s given me and I just can’t wait to show you all what I’ve got.
Donna Well, we can’t wait to see it.
Qaasim Yes, ma’am.
Moderator Thank you. (Operator instructions.) Our next question will be from Sarah Batcheller with Cupidspulse.com. Go ahead please.
Sarah Hi, Qaasim. It’s so great to speak with you.
Qaasim Good to speak to you, too. How are you doing?
Sarah I’m great. How are you?
Qaasim I’m wonderful.
Sarah Good. Now, since CupidsPulse.com is a relations
, I’d like to know, how has being a musician impacted your dating life?
Qaasim Well, I have a girlfriend.
Qaasim I’ve had a girlfriend since last year. It’s about to hit a year right now, and she has been such a huge impact and a wonderful human being in my life. I don’t really talk about her as often, because I like to kind of keep that stuff private. Especially since the market and the industry that I’m going into, but it’s really been, you know, it’s really just been a wonderful experience, you know.
Sarah Well, wonderful. Thank you. And last week you sang “Stronger”, a classic Kelly Clarkson breakup song. What inspired that song choice and were you thinking of anyone in particular?
Qaasim I was thinking about my Idol save, and I was thinking about how I came back strong from that. And ironically, that performance wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. It was too many factors that played into it, and I’m not going to really go too deep into it, because I don’t want to sound like I’m giving excuses, but it should have been better. But everything happens for a reason, so I’m good, and that song is the theme song of my life, because I’m good.
Sarah Good. Well, thank you and congratulations.
Qaasim God bless you. Thank you so much.
Moderator Thank you. We have MJ Santilli with MJ’s Big Blog. Go ahead, please.
MJ Hi, Qaasim. How are you?
Qaasim Hey, I’m good, how are you?
MJ Really good. I was wondering, what were you planning on singing next week?
Qaasim I was planning on singing “Will It Go Round in Circles” by Billy Preston and “She’s Out of My Life” by Michael Jackson. No, I’m sorry, not “She’s Out of My Life,” “Drift Away” by Dobie Grey.
MJ Two good songs. We’ll miss hearing you sing those. I was wondering, as a follow-up, how did you feel about the judges trying to push you out of your comfort zone. I mean, they were constantly, sort of, talking about your vocals and how they should be up front and center.
Are you more accustomed to sort of being the whole package, as a dancer and singer? Was that kind of a normal thing for you to just sit down on a stool with a guitar and perform?
Qaasim Well, this is the thing. I started out, I’ve been singing and playing guitar since I was ten, and I just started doing the singing and dancing thing in December. Like really, like hardcore, so I haven’t even gotten a year in when it comes down to singing and dancing at the same time, so this is all new to me, and I was experimenting with how good I could be on the stage of American Idol, and that’s why I’m really happy, because I realized I’m pretty good at it. So, I could probably pack stadiums in about a year or two, you know, so I’m really excited. I’m ready to go.
I’m a singer/songwriter and I play guitar and the stronger performance is really supposed to showcase that side of me a bit better than what it did. So, that was really my comfort zone, more so than the new stuff that I’ve been doing. But I feel very comfortable with this new stuff that I’m doing now, so I’m finding myself in so many different, new ways. I’m really comfortable with where I’m at, and I can’t wait to show you all some more stuff.
MJ Yes. American Idol must have been a very eye-opening experience for you, then. I mean, the growth. You must feel like you’ve grown a lot.
Qaasim Yes, definitely. I met some wonderful people who made me a better human being and I got so many different colors that they know that I got that you all don’t necessarily—you all haven’t seen yet, like I’m an MC, I’m a producer, and I’m an actor. I did The Naked Brothers Band, and so, like, that helped when it comes down to the professionalism of the craft of everything that we’re going through.
My brother and I got some video game ideas coming out for you all soon. We got movies coming out. Just dance videos. So many different things. You have not seen the last of me. At all.
MJ Oh wow.
Qaasim Trust me on that.
MJ You’re very imaginative. It sound like you’ve really got your juices flowing. And thanks. Thanks for answering my question.
Qaasim No problem. Thank you so much.
Moderator Thank you. Our first follow-up will come from Donna Campbell with the Sun Herald. Go ahead, please.
Donna Hi, Qaasim. Now, after last week’s judges remarks, and especially Harry’s, were you expecting to be in the bottom two, and what did you think of Jennifer’s comments last night, because you dropped down on one knee after she said you own the stage.
Qaasim Well, because I was getting a lot of flack for the fact that people think that I’m not that great of a singer, but I’m a great dancer, and my thing is, I wouldn’t be—if I wasn’t a good enough singer, I wouldn’t be on the show, you know what I’m saying? So I really appreciated her vouching for me and letting the public know that I’m actually a great singer. Those are her words; not mine.
But I do have some chops, and I really want to showcase those on some original stuff that I got coming out for you all soon. And just so many different other colors that you probably wouldn’t have gotten a chance to see on American Idol, but on Qaasim’s story, I’ve got so much to give you all, man. I was really excited.
Moderator Okay, was that all, Ms. Campbell?
Donna Oh, yes, yes, I’m sorry. I’m fascinated every time I hear Qaasim talk, and I hear that “y’all” in there, and I just love it.
Qaasim Oh, yes, my mom, yes, you know what’s up.
Donna You get that from Toni.
Qaasim Yes, I get that from my mom, from Ms. Toni Seawright.
Moderator Okay, thank you. And then next we have a question from Michele Angermiller with Billboard. Go ahead, please.
Michele Hello, Qaasim, how are you?
Qaasim I’m wonderful. And yourself?
Michele Oh, great. How many of your Naked Brother fans did you meet in the experience? Did a lot of people that were watching you and knew that you were from the show? Did you get any kids coming up to you outside the show that recognized you from that?
Qaasim Yo, the first time I ever got a sign, like people told me that they recognized me from Naked Brothers Band off of, like, my Instagram and my Twitter, and I was like, “Oh, thanks guys, I really appreciate you guys for recognizing me.” And I know I talked about it, like, on the show a few times, but those times never really got aired, because I don’t know if it was like a clearance thing or something, but at the same time, it’s cool, because the first time I ever got a sign was yesterday. Somebody came up and was like, I’ve been a fan of yours since NBB, and I was like, “Ah, wow, thank you, I really appreciate that.”
So, it’s nothing but God, man. Everything happens for a reason, you know. I know what’s up. I know what’s up and I know that you all know what’s up. The game is about to be completely changed. We’re about to really wreck the whole theme. I got so much. The family got so much. The contestants have so much to offer and we just—I consider this a new breed of talent to come out and just do damage.
Michele Now, this whole thing with the news of the tour and the top five or whatever, I’m assuming we’re going to be seeing you opening in New York, right. Is that going to happen? Like I’m sure your fans around here are probably wondering when they’re going to see you.
Qaasim I don’t necessarily know too much about the tour other than the fact that its supposed to be only the top five make it through, because usually it was top ten, but, I know that I’m going to be doing some big stuff on my own as well, so whatever happens, you know I’m down for some big things. We’re about to really hoo boy.
Michele Well, you’re hilarious. You would have been so much fun on tour. The possibilities are endless with you.
Qaasim Yes. Thank you so much.
Michele What are your originals going to be like?
Qaasim I’m sorry, one more time?
Michele You said you have original songs. What are they like?
Qaasim Well, it’s very similar to the stuff that you all heard me doing on stage, plus some really mellow stuff, so everything that you all heard me do, plus some more hip-hop in it and stuff. But it’s funk, rock, hip-hop, soul, alternative. That’s my genre and I’m sticking to it.
Michele Thank you, hon.
Qaasim Alright, God bless you.
Moderator Thank you. We have a follow up from Judith Little with Yes TV. Go ahead please.
Judith We were just wondering, obviously when they announced that Rayvon was saved, you could see that Quentin was very emotional about it, Rayvon, all of these people who you’ve become friends with over the past couple of weeks doing jam sessions with them. How do you see your life panning out in the next couple of weeks without your Idol friends beside you on the journey? And what were those few minutes like after that announcement was made?
Qaasim I was just like, oh, shoot, it’s over. I mean, my time on this show is over, but I was like, yo, I’m really excited because now I get to start working on my own stuff now, you know what I’m saying, because the show is almost like a popularity contest. You’ve got to do something to win over the crowd in your own best way and your best light. You’ve still got to do a killer job onstage, but it’s like, you’re accommodated to the people who you want to vote for you, and sometimes that means that you may not necessarily be completely true to you. Sometimes you can. It depends on whatever song choice you have and whatever the theme is. It’s a lot of factors into it.
But I’m glad I get to rest and to work on my craft and just really start boosting my career up, because I plan on being one of the big stadium artists that you guys know today, like Prince and Michael Jackson, James Brown. Just, I got so much—Bruno Mars—shoot man, shoot, let’s go. I can’t wait. Let’s go.
Judith We can’t wait either. Can you tell us, what’s your favorite Idol memory from the last couple of months? I know there’s lots of stuff that has probably happened behind the scenes.
Qaasim Yes. Me and Daniel would play video games all the time on our down times when we weren’t really rehearsing or having to worry about too much. And those memories of me, Daniel, Michael Simeon, Adam Ezegelian, who trained me in the video game, Riley Bria, Rayvon Owen and Quentin Alexander, everybody, like, Adanna Duru, we would all play video games. We played these games and just kind of, like, allow for ourselves to feel, like, at home and feel centered and feel like we’re not—it’s like an escape away from all the drama and the stress that the show can possibly give to us sometimes.
Judith Alright, thank you.
Qaasim God bless you.
Moderator Thank you. And we also have a follow-up from Emily Katharina with SciFi Vision.com. Go ahead, please.
Emily Oh, hi again. I was just wondering, you know, your faith seems very important to you and it seems to be just an integral part of you. I was wondering if maybe, potentially, you have a Christian album in the works?
Qaasim I’m sorry, one more time?
Emily I was just wondering, since your faith seems to be such an integral part of you and so important to you, I was wondering if maybe you have, perhaps, a Christian album in the works?
Qaasim A personal album in the works?
Emily Yes, a Christian album or anything of that nature, worship music?
Qaasim Oh, well, okay, the thing is, I’m very spiritual and I accidentally wrote a Gospel song. It wasn’t supposed to be one, but I accidentally wrote one. I was writing it—not to say that I wasn’t trying to, like—I was just writing it to write it and it came out to be a Gospel song. But the theme of it, the way it comes off—Gospel is speaking the praises and the Word of God, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the stylistic format that you would hear from the more popular Gospel artists.
I am an artist who would normally sing secular music, but I have a spiritual intake toward the stuff that I talk about—or sacred, rather, a sacred intake to what I’m talking about. So, you will hear some stuff that talks about the Creator and giving the praises to Him, so yes, definitely, just like some projects or a song or two. But all the stuff that I come out with is going to be a reflection of how I feel to the Creator.
Emily Awesome. Well, I’m looking forward to that.
Qaasim Yes, ma’am. Thank you.
Emily Thank you so much.
Moderator And we do have a follow up from Michele Angermiller with Billboard. Go ahead, please.
Michele I just realized before you were talking about making video games. Would this be some kind of Naked Brothers video game or like would it just be an app or something? That’s really interesting.
Qaasim Ironically, there’s already a Naked Brothers Band video game out that came out years ago, like during the second or third season of the show. The stuff that we’re going to come out with is much—is going to be like next generation gaming. That’s literally what it is because we’ve got next gen consoles and next gen thinkers with next gen pixilation, so everything has to be up and up and we have so much to give and so much to brainstorm about for this. So, I can’t wait to really show ya’ll what we’ve got.
Michele Let’s just say, it seems very interesting. That’s very forward thinking, because apps and video games are where all the kids seem to wind up.
Qaasim Yes, I mean, because I’m a gamer. My uncle, Carl, is a professional gamer. He gets paid to do this, so he’s been training. He lives in Japan right now. And shoot, man, my grandmother, she’s beaten over 200 and something video games, and I’m serious about that. It’s no joke. She kicks my behind at video games sometimes with her gamer score and everything that she gets within the games, so I’m like, alright. And she’s like into games like Uncharted.
She was the first person, I believe, one of the first people in the tri-state area to beat God of War 3. The reason why I say this is because usually there’s a GameFAQs up, right; a GameFAQs that teaches you how to finish a certain level if you get stuck. There was nothing up when she was beating the game, so she had to figure out everything on her own, and I was like, oh shoot, grandma, you know you a G, right? She was like, I know.
So, yes, man. I got into gaming really hard when I was younger. Like I fell in love with games when Killer Instinct was one of my favorite games when I was younger, and, like, I just really got into that, so it’s a whole other scene, a whole other demographic.
I learned a lot, actually, from video games. As much as people read books and read magazines or read novels, like a whole bunch of different things, not to say that I don’t read, but when I wouldn’t read, I would play video games, and I usually played video games more. And I would play video games that would give me insight on what to do with life and information about the past, so it’s just a whole other market and I’ve learned so much from video games that I feel like I could dish out some of my own now.
Michele Well, good luck with that. That’s smart. That’s diversification.
Qaasim Yes, ma’am. Thank you so much.
Michele Oh, you’re welcome.
Moderator Thank you. We have a follow up from MJ Santilli with MJ’s Big Blog. Go ahead, please.
MJ Hey, Qaasim. I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about what it was like to work with the original American Idol, Kelly Clarkson?
Qaasim Oh, she is a blessing on this earth, man. She’s really raw and really true, and just very supportive of every single one of us. I really appreciated her, the fact that she appreciated what I was doing to her song. And just I can’t wait. Hopefully, I get a chance to do something with her in the future, you know what I’m saying, the near future. I want to do some big things, man. I got so much in the oven right now. It’s cooked. I’m baking it right now.
Moderator Okay, and with that, we are going to wrap up this conference call for today. Thank you, everyone, so much, for joining us.
Qaasim And by the way, guys, thank you all so much. Follow me on my social medias, my Twitter and Instagram @QaasimOfficial, and hit my Facebook up. Let everybody know that I’m doing silly stuff and great stuff and amazing stuff. I got you all, man.