After winning over "American Idol" fans over two years ago, 21-year-old singer/songwriter Josiah Leming is finally ready to release his debut album, "Come On Kid," Sep. 14 on Warner Bros.
"It was emotional, and it took a long time," Leming tells Billboard.com. "In order to make an album that everybody was happy with, and also that I felt good about, it took the good part of two years to kind of wrangle that in."
Video: Josiah Leming on "American Idol"
Leming tried out for "American Idol" season seven and earned adoring fans when he sang Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars," as well as an original song. After his lauded first audition, Leming went on to perform Mika's "Grace Kelly" in Hollywood, but was sent packing after a subsequent performance of Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" divided the judges. The journey to Hollywood was a big step for the Morristown, Tenn. native, who had been living out of his car for about a year in search of musical success.
"[The fanbase] was outstanding when I first got off the show; those people were hardcore," says Leming, who adds he doesn't feel any expectations for his music to fit the traditional "Idol" formula. "They have kind of learned that this is not a typical cookie-cutter pop project. It's very personal to me."
Leming plays piano throughout "Come On Kid," which was recorded in both Los Angeles and London, as well as some guitar and drums, and he wrote every song except for two co-writes. The album's lead single is "Maybe" and will be followed by the title track, with both songs offering a taste of Leming's off-the-beaten-path, pop/rock style and emotional vocal delivery.
Video: Josiah Leming performs "Maybe" live
"The inspiration for this album definitely came from life experiences," said Leming. "A lot happened in two years, between the ages of 19 and 21. There was a lot of growing up to do."
Leming signed with Warner Bros. in 2008, but he needed time to recuperate when his mother passed away in June 2009. The title "Come On Kid" refers to Leming's readiness to release his debut. "This is one of those things that you can reach a certain level of preparedness, but you can never know for sure that you're 100% ready," Leming says. "I'm hoping I am ready enough to be in a place where I can learn as I go."
With a tour already underway and plenty of fans still rooting for him, Leming's career has finally broken the surface, and he couldn't be more grateful.
"I'm able to do what I love, and keep money in my pocket, and eat, and have shelter, and not have to work on the side. And that's a pretty amazing thing."