Kara DioGuardi Sets Tour Dates, Talks 'Idol' vs. New 'Platinum Hit' Show
One year removed from the "American Idol" judges table, Kara DioGuardi is ready for a hectic 2011: the songwriter will perform live, release an autobiography, star in a Bravo reality show, and spend time writing new material with artists like Carrie Underwood.
DioGuardi tells Billboard.com that she has lined up a trio of live dates -- April 20 at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, April 27 at New York's Highline Ballroom, and April 28 at Nashville's Belcourt Theatre -- at which she'll perform some of her biggest songwriting achievements, including Celine Dion's "Taking Chances," Enrique Iglesias' "Escape," P!nk's "Sober" and Ashlee Simpson's "Pieces of Me."
"Over the last few years I did these shows where I sang the hits I had co-written and kind of gave the stories behind them," says DioGuardi. "So it's part speaking and singing, and then I sing them in acoustic fashion. They're all stripped and broken down to the way they were written."
The style of the live shows will mirror the structure of DioGuardi's upcoming memoir, "A Hell of a High Note," out April 26 on Harper Collins. Written in the second half of 2010, the book delves into DioGuardi's personal life by treating the songs she's penned as pieces of her history.
"Every chapter is a song, and it's not exactly telling you about the song but how it came out of my life," she says. "If the title was 'Sober,' it doesn't talk only about how the song was written; it talks about my battle with addiction, with an eating disorder...It's not like a whole chapter on how 'Sober' was written, but at the end it gives a reflection on it."
After the book release, DioGuardi will once again appear as a reality TV judge on "Platinum Hit," Bravo's songwriting competition set to premiere in June. Shooting for the show wrapped last December, and DioGuardi -- who analyzed the work of hopeful songwriters and gave them tips on how to improve -- says that it was a "very natural process" for her compared to her "Idol" stint in 2009 and 2010.
"This was taped -- it was a lot more relaxing and you could say a lot more. You didn't have [to say] a 30-second soundbite," says DioGuardi. "I could point out things within the song that they really needed to understand in songwriting, and you could see the improvement the next week, whereas on 'Idol' you couldn't really do that. It was, 'I liked it, I didn't like it.' You couldn't help them pick songs, you couldn't tell them which part of their range to work on, because the audience just wouldn't have understood it or cared."
"I haven't seen it. I probably will tune in when it goes live, but the auditions… I'm more interested to see what they do live, and what the talent's like then," she says. "I've been just doing all these other things, but I hear it's going really well, and I'm happy about that. I hope they find a great few people this year."
Along with helping other writers, DioGuardi plans to stay busy with new projects of her own. The songwriter has credits on upcoming songs by Colbie Caillat, Jason Derulo and Luke Bryan, and she's soon going to join Carrie Underwood in Nashville to work on her next album, after previously co-penning the country star's singles "Undo It" and "Mama's Song." "We wrote those two songs in one day," says DioGuardi. "It was the craziest session I've ever had. To write two songs in five hours that both charted was ridiculous."