American Idol alum David Hernandez is letting us into his kingdom. The pop singer unveiled his first album in seven years, the self-released Kingdom: The Mixtape, on Monday (Oct. 1).

With collaborations from fellow American Idol alum Blake Lewis, he promises to encompass an extensive range of genres -- powerful ballads (including “Break,” which documents his struggles with addiction), soul and R&B-leaning tracks, and a couple of dance numbers. It also includes a cover of Hailee Steinfeld and Grey’s “Starving."

“I hope listeners hear a piece of my soul in Kingdom: The Mixtape,” David Hernandez told Billboard of the album. “I hope they get where I am coming from, really see me for who I am, and that they, too, can relate to the songs. I want the mixtape to be healing, enlightening, and revelrous.”

The album’s artwork, fittingly, depicts a crown being held by a robotic hand -- a metaphor, he says, for his complex relationship to the music industry.

“I’ve listened to too many people’s opinions about when to release, how, what images and content are appropriate," he adds. "I was just over listening to what other people think I should do. One day I finally stepped back and realized I had a great body of work that deserves to be heard, now.”

Listen to the album below:


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