Joey Cook

This week’s exit interview with Joey Cook, the seventh-place finisher in American Idol Season XIV:
MJ	First question.  What were you planning on singing next week, your two songs, Arena Anthem choices?

Joey	I was going to do “Story of My Life” by One Direction, all acoustic with just a guitar switched up Joey-style, and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen.

MJ	Those are awesome.  And also, Scott Bradlee from Postmodern Jukebox Tweeted you last night, I guess, and you did do one of his arrangements in the show and also there are other Idols like Haley Reinhart and Casey Abrams who worked with that group.  Do you have any plans to maybe join them on their tour this summer or anytime in the near future?

Joey	Yes.  I mean, I can’t say yes or no to any of that.  I would love the opportunity to do that.  I absolutely love Postmodern Jukebox.  I didn’t even know, actually, that Haley and Casey Abrams were on tour with him.  When I did that version of Fancy, I had no idea.  He’s been a huge idol of mine for a really long time.  So, yes, that opportunity would be amazing by far.

MJ	Thanks.

Joey	Thank you.

Moderator	Thank you.  The next question in queue will come from Michelle Angermiller with Billboard.  Please go ahead.

Michelle	I just had to say that.  You are my top, one of my top picks.  I can’t lie.  Question for you.  The drama last night with Quentin standing up for you, what were you processing in your head with all of that going on?

Joey	I was trying to telepathically send him my good energy to tell him that everything is going to be fine, pretty much, yes.  Just trying to telepathically calm him down.

Michelle	He said he is going to miss you physically there, and he said that even though he can text and Skype you, it’s not the same as having your presence.  He just was going on, even last night about how upset he was.

Joey	That’s my best friend.  Me and him have been very close throughout this entire competition.  We met pretty early on in Hollywood week.  We really kept each other sane throughout this and kept each other grounded.  I think me and him have very similar motives with all of this in the sense of being unwavering in who we are through the competition and doing what it takes in the competition, but staying ourselves in the process.  We really helped each other out a lot with that while I was there.  I am going to be sending all of my good energy to him.  I know he’s going to do amazing on this and I love him dearly.  I cannot wait to see him again.

Michelle	We want to see you again.  Do you think there’s an opportunity that maybe, possibly, you might open a show or two on the tour?

Joey	Everybody keeps asking me that.  I have no idea if that’s even a possibility.  If it is, why not.  Let’s do it.  I’m open to anything.

Michelle	Alright.  I’m going to miss you so much on the show.  You have no idea.  Thank you.

Joey	Thank you.

Moderator	Thank you.  Next question will come from Dave Walker with the New Orleans Times.  Please go ahead.

Dave	Great.  Thanks for doing the call.  Do you have immediate plans?  Do you know what you’re going to do right now, what’s next?

Joey	Immediately, I am, tonight I’m flying back to Virginia.  I get to see my family for a little bit, which is going to be great.  And then I go to New York for some more press things and then back here for the finale.  I’ve got a bunch of little things lined up, but I am getting back home to New Orleans as soon as possible.

Dave	Okay.  One more question and I’ll let you go.  Did you talk to Quentin after the episode last night, and what was the conversation like if you did?

Joey	Yes, we talked during the commercial break during the episode, and we talked for a while after the show was done.  It was very much like—I pretty much just told him that what he did was beautiful, in my opinion.  I think that that was the perfect representation of him.

	Quentin is a very emotional person.  He is very all cards on the table.  There’s no sugar coating.  He doesn’t hide his emotion.  He’s honest.  He’s a raw human being, and I think what happened last night was the perfect example of that and how emotional of a person he is.  He got, maybe, got a little bit nervous about what happened, but I just told him I love what you did, you spoke from the heart and I think you reached a lot of people with that and brought light to what us as contestants go through during this entire process.

	Everybody sees this as a competition and as a television show, and this is our lives.  We spend every single waking moment together and then every single week somebody leaves our family.  So, yes, we talked about it for a long time last night and the separation anxiety that’s going to happen, but I think we’re both pretty happy about how everything went last night.

Moderator	Thank you.  Next question will come from Beth Kwiatkowski with Reality TV World.  Please go ahead.

Beth	 So, going off on what you were just talking about, I guess, do you understand why Harry Connick Jr kind of scolded Quentin or do you think that was a little bit uncalled for based on the situation?

Joey	I mean, nothing is really uncalled for.  Emotions are emotions, and I think last night was a very real moment on television that everybody got to watch.  I mean, no opinion on any of it really on whether anything was right or wrong or anything like that.  I just, I think that that was a very real moment, and I liked seeing it, personally.

Beth	Okay.  Were you fairly confident America would vote to save you since Rayvon was sitting in the bottom two for the third time?  I mean, it at least surprised viewers that Rayvon got saved again.

Joey	No, I knew.  I don’t know how, I just knew.  I had a gut feeling that morning that I was going to be in the bottom and the day before, actually, as well.  It wasn’t that I felt I did bad last week, it was just a feeling.  It was just I had a gut feeling and as soon as we got up for the saves and all that kind of stuff.

	I love everybody in this competition, and I want everybody to do well, and I know what I’m doing after this.  I want everyone else to go further in the competition, and I am happy with the result.  I think it was perfect.  I think Rayvon deserves it.  I think Rayvon is eating this competition up right now.  He is proving every single week that he’s not ready to go and everybody’s kind of opening their ears to it.  So, no, I felt it while it was happening; I felt that it was happening, so I don’t think that I was really surprised.

Moderator.  	Thank you.  Next question will come from Judith Little with YES TV.  Please go ahead.

Judith	Early on in the competition, Scott Borchetta, who is mentoring this year, had said that “They’re not just looking for the next anybody, they’re looking for the next somebody, a real authentic artist,” and he talked about you and Qaasim who now are no longer in the competition.  How do you think this show has helped develop your voice vocally and helped to kind of mold you into a big artist in front of the American audience?

Joey	This show has done more than I could ever, ever ask for in my entire life for me.  They exposed me to millions of people.  I went from playing on a sidewalk before this.  It really is just completely surreal, and I’ve never had vocal lessons before.  I’ve never had somebody tell me what arm movements I’m doing while I sing.  I’ve never had any of these things before and getting access to all this information and being able to work with my vocal coach, and being able to learn things.

	I’ve learned more about music in the past two months than I have throughout my entire life thanks to this competition and thanks to the best of the best that we’re surrounded by.  They really just opened up a can of worms with this for me.  The sky is the limit at this point.  I could not be more grateful for everything.

Judith	And you mentioned last night your introduction to music through some of the stuff that your mom listened to growing up, but we still haven’t heard the story as to how you got into the accordion.  Can you share that with us?

Joey	Oh, it’s a two-part story.  There was a girl who showed up at my house in Richmond, Virginia one night.  We were having a housewarming party; we had just moved into a new apartment and she showed up.  She was a really little girl, maybe like five foot, 90 pounds.  Just itty bitty adorable little thing.  And she had this giant backpack on, and she pulls an accordion out.  She doesn’t really talk to anybody throughout the whole party.  Pulls this accordion out and sits in the corner and starts playing these really sad waltzes on it and starts, like, singing commentary about everybody at the party.  Like complimenting people’s dresses.  She’s like “Your dress looks lovely on you, Ma’am.”  Just really sweet things and I was like that’s a really beautiful instrument.

	Then a few months pass and I had a dream one night and I could play the accordion and I was like, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this instrument since I saw it, and I’m having dreams about it.  I need to go find one.  I found one at a music collective called [indiscernible] Collective in Richmond on north side.  I asked them if they had an accordion and went in the basement, picked it up and just started playing it.  My friend came down, and he was like, that’s really cool, I didn’t know you could play the accordion.  I said this is actually the first time I’ve ever physically touched one in my life.  It just, it went from there.

	I started playing piano when I was young, so all of it transferred over pretty well, but it was all very natural for me to start off with.  It was kind of like a calling kind of thing.  It was good.

Moderator	Thanks.  Our next question in queue will come from Aileen Streng with Prince William Today.  Please go ahead.

Aileen	Did you say you’re coming home tonight?

Joey	I am.  I’m getting in at 1:00 in the morning or some crazy thing like that.

Aileen	That is so fun.  Have you made any plans or how long are you staying?

Joey	I have to go to New York on Sunday morning, I believe.  But my plan is to sit and eat popcorn with my mom.  That’s the plan.

Aileen	Really the questions I was going to ask you have all been answered.  Just, again, I hope that you have felt the love from home, and it’s great that you’re coming back.

Joey	Of course.  I’m so excited to come home.  It’s going to be great.

Moderator.  	Thank you.  Next question will come from Cheryl Makin with Gannett.  Please go ahead.

Cheryl	I wanted to ask you, over your journey when you look back at this, what can you pick out as your favorite performance?

Joey	Let’s see.  My favorite performance that I gave?

Cheryl	Yes.

Joey	Would have to be “Fancy”, just because of the experience of hearing that song in my head and hearing, obviously, it started with the Postmodern Jukebox version, but it  kind of grew into something more than that towards the end there.  I couldn’t just do that version of the song, I needed to still tweak it and mess with it.  And being able to communicate with the band of I want a big drum hit here, and I want it to get really, really quiet right here and then just get really loud.  You know, explain to them what I was hearing in my head and then having them be able to play that sound back to me, was just a mind-blowing experience.

	So, favorite performance of mine.  Favorite performance, generally, would have to be Quentin’s “I Put a Spell on You” or Tyanna’s performance from last night because she killed last night with her Tina Turner song.

Cheryl	That was pretty cool.

Joey	That was so cool, oh my gosh.  I was dancing my little butt off to that.

Cheryl	That’s awesome.  Continuing in that vein, you got to meet a lot of people, not just the other contestants, but you got to meet some awesome mentors.  Is there any in particular that you really took to heart what the advice that you gave you?

Joey	I think everybody kind of realized that I’m super in love with Boy George.  We made it very obvious on the show.  Obviously, meeting him was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  He has been supporting me ever since; he Tweeted at me last night, and he's just a really, really amazing person and had some amazing advice for me.

	I think, generally, my vocal coach, her name’s Kenya Hathaway, she pulled some sounds out of me that I did not know that I was capable of, and she really pushed me as a vocalist to be more confident in myself and to recognize that I am a singer.  I’m not just a musician.  I’m a vocalist.  I’m a good singer.  She really, really gave me some outstanding advice and, yes, she’s a goddess among women.  Everything she said to me, I will remember for forever.

Cheryl	That’s really fantastic.  It’s been a life-changing experience for you.

Joey			Oh, the most life changing.

Cheryl			And congratulations on your engagement.

Joey			Thank you.

Cheryl			That’s pretty awesome and life changing as well.

Joey			It’s been a crazy couple months.

Cheryl			It has.  It has.  Good luck on everything you do.

Moderator	Thank you.  Next question will come from Emily Katharina with  Please go ahead.

Emily	Hello.  I was wondering, in an interview you mentioned how you kind of missed reading and passing off books with your now finance.  I was wondering since now you’ve been, unfortunately, voted off, I was wondering if you have any plans for some spring reading, and what you’re planning to read.

Joey	Yes.  I actually started a new book last night.  This was a really great question for you to ask right now.  It’s called the Zeitoun by Dave Eggers.  It’s about New Orleans, and I love Dave Eggers so much.  I think he’s a genius.  He’s one of my favorite authors of all time, and I found a book that I hadn’t read yet by him about the city that I live in.  So, match made in heaven and I have a long flight tonight, so I have a feeling I’m going to get a solid chunk into that book before I get home.  It will be great.

Moderator	Thank you.  Next question in queue is Sarah Batcheller with  Please go ahead.

Sarah	 And we were wondering, how did Evan propose?

Joey	Evan proposed with, he called my family and made sure my mom was going to be there for the show and my best friend, my childhood best friend was also there.  We went to—in the hotel we were staying at; there’s a place called Cindy’s Garden, which is like a little garden with a bench and everything.  It’s really beautiful.  I only had ten minutes of time because we were running around doing photo shoots and stuff, but he stole me away for ten minutes and did the one knee thing.

	He actually started with all this really heartfelt stuff, like we’ve been through so much together, and it’s been five long years.  I wasn’t—I was like are you about to break up with me right now because you should wait until the show is done.  He was like, no, actually it’s the opposite, the opposite; don’t freak out.

	But, it was really sweet; it was really heartfelt.  He is the love of my life.  I adore him and always will.

Sarah	What does the elimination mean for your wedding plans?  Will you two start planning the wedding now that you have more free time?

Joey	Yes.  Most definitely.  I definitely wanted to do the wedding before December.  December is going to be our six years together, so we wanted a summer wedding.  I think we’re going to try and knock it out this summer and do the bash.

Moderator	Thanks.  Next question in queue is from Krista Chain with TV MegaSite.  Please go ahead.

Krista	You talked a little bit about your immediate plans of going home and then going back for the finale, but what are some of your future plans?

Joey	Well, I would like to record my album big-girl style.  That’s my plan, as I have an album I recorded, it’s called, Hey I Love You, Songs and Stuff on the Ukulele by Joey Cook.  I recorded the entire thing on my iPhone using voice memo in my basement in one take.  So, it’s not really quality.

	I’m very proud of it.  It’s my heart and soul in an album, but I would like to take that album, and I would like to get a band.  I want a band.  I want a full band.  I want a horn section.  I want all of it, and I want to do it in a big studio.  I want to do it big-girl style with the headphones and the pop filter and everything.  I want to do it right.  I have it all together, I just need the, I’ve always just needed the resources to do it professionally and I think I’ve gotten to that point, which is so exciting.

Krista	My other question was, out of the mentors is there anyone that you would have liked to have worked with in the future?

Joey	Oh, gosh.  There are so many people.  I kept telling them Prince, but that’s like completely unreasonable I think.  I want to work with Prince.  David Bowie, I want to work with David Bowie.  There are so many people, Erykah Badu; I would love to be able to talk to her and get some advice from her.  Really, there’s so many people out there that I would love to work with and hopefully do, one day in the future.

Moderator 	Thanks.  The next question will come from Stephanie Piche with Mingle Media TV.  Please go ahead.

Stephanie	My question for you is through your journey, what have you learned about yourself?

Joey	I have learned that I’m capable.  Yes.  I think before this competition I knew what I was doing and I was confident, but I wasn’t confident in individual things.  I was confident as a musician.  I wasn’t necessarily confident as a vocalist, and this show has shown me that along with playing instruments and writing music and everything like that, I’m a singer.  That’s what I do.  That’s what I’ve always done.  It took me a long time to realize it, but it’s really just given me confidence.  It’s proven to me that I am good enough, that I’m capable, and that I’m deserving of whatever it is to come.

Moderator	Thanks.  The next question will come from Joy Parris with Rich Girl Productions.  Please go ahead.

Joy	My first question to you is about your style.  I’m always excited.  I never know what you’re going to come up with.  Can you share with me your personal style, like did you always have this style, did this evolve?  Can you give us a little bit of input about that?

Joey	I’m so sorry, can you repeat that?

Joy	Your personal style, your dress of style, and your hair, I mean, just love your look so can you share with us about your personal style and did you find that you maintained that style while you were doing the show?

Joey	I mean, having access to the stylists was just amazing.  They ended up being some of my closest friends.  Me and Quentin just hang out in the stylists’ room.  That’s pretty much what we do at CBS Studios.  But having access to that, and they were just so excited about having me and Quentin on the show this year because they could put me in these crazy dresses and dress me up like a space cadet and I was 100% open to it and ready.  It was so exciting.

	But just the way I dress normally is really, I just look for things that I love.  I think the way my mom explains it, she’s been explaining this since I was in high school, is that where everybody else, when they get dressed in the morning, they look in their closet, and they find one of their favorite articles of clothing, and then they build around it.  Me, when I look in my closet in the morning, I find every single one of my favorite articles of clothing and wear all of them at one time.  That is the goal.

Joy	That’s fantastic.  My other question, really quick, is now that you have all this experience and all these mentors, and things you learned, do you have a different perception of yourself as a performer?

Joey	One hundred percent, yes.  I’ve obviously remained myself throughout this, can’t really be anybody else.  I’m kind of stuck being myself.  But, no, I definitely have a different vision of myself as a performer and what I’m capable of.  I mean, prior to this, I was completely happy playing my ukulele to a small room of ten people, singing my songs to them, which still is a beautiful thing.  That is a very personal connection that you have in a space that big with a little amount of people, really connecting to people.

	But it made me realize that that’s not it.  That’s not all I can do.  I can Quentin-out and have pyro and all of these crazy things for a performance, and it enhances the performance.  I always kind of thought of it as a little bit corny.  I think prior to this I didn’t really understand.  Now that I’ve been soaked in the world that is American Idol, I see myself so much differently as a performer, visually, with what I can do with the show and what a backdrop means for a performance and just all of the little things like that.  I think it made everything larger than life for me.  It’s pretty exciting.

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