Janelle Arthur Eyes Traditional Country Route After 'American Idol'

Janelle Arthur

Following her elimination last week, Billboard (and other reporters) caught up with Janelle Arthur who was still in shock about making the top 5, "especially given the caliber of female talent this year." Arthur discussed her plans for making music after Idol, revealed that she’d like to bring roots country back, and addressed whether or not Nicki Minaj returned her boots.

What do you have planned? What does your future album look like?
I think my album will definitely be more on the traditional side of country. I definitely think that there is room for some more rootsy country music to come back into play. A lot of the females right now are now are doing the pop country thing and I definitely want to do what makes sense right now for me and my life and my raising. I think that definitely something more traditional country but then at the same time finding that balance and making it more current.

What are your thoughts on there being a female idol for first time in 6 years?
I’ve been wanting there to be a female Idol for a long time, even though I have loved all the guys that have won. I definitely know that it’s time for a female to win and the best part about it is that I'm such good friends with all of these girls and American can’t go wrong with any of them. I’m very happy that it’s going to be a female this time.

You got some nice words of encouragement from Dolly Parton. What was your reaction to what she said?
I am feeling very thankful. The fact that she reached out to me and that she took the time to do that and tell me she was honored I did her song and the fact that she wanted to say something to me about that really meant the world.

How are you and the other contestants this season managed to remain such good friends despite the fact that this is such an intense competition?
I think this group of girls in particular…we’re not out to get each other. It’s just strange. All of us are just really laid back. It’s crazy. The girls and I were talking and I think we were more laid back than some of the guys. They had a little more energy than some of us I think. I think we all just really love each other and we’ve gotten to know each other so well during this whole thing. We don’t think of it as a competition. We have respect for each other.

You are a big Keith Urban fan, which you mentioned earlier in the show. Are you planning to keep in touch with him and look to him as a mentor throughout your career?
I really hope to. I really hope that he would want to be a part of that. I don’t know if he would. I hope he is wanting to stay in touch with me and that would really mean a lot. Thursday night, I told him I was definitely his biggest fan that was there on the show and I just really look up to him so I would definitely hope to keep in touch with him, if not work with him in the future.

You said that you would like to get back to roots country. Is there a specific country artist that you’d like to model your career after?
It's so hard because it’s kind of a mixture because you have to find that balance between what is old school and what works for today. I think if you could mix Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Jewel, I think that would kind of be what I’m going for.

Could you ever see yourself doing a collaboration with one of those newer country acts though like Taylor Swift?
I absolutely could. I would love to collaborate with an artist, not just a country artist on the traditional side but I just know for my main album, that’s what I definitely want to do for myself.

Who would your dream collaboration be?
I would love to collaborate with Vince Gill. He’s number one on my list and I love Shania Twain and of course Dolly. Dolly is sort of a no brainer for me.

You went with "Dumb Blonde" last week. Do you think that song may have been too obscure for the Idol audience?
That was the only song of Dolly’s that I had this sort of current arrangement in my head that I’d come with about a year and a half ago so it made sense for me to show my artistry again even though they didn’t really talk about it. So yeah that was one thing that I just knew that I wanted to do it. I think this was such an awesome opportunity to bring this to life and why not bring that up when it was my time to do a Dolly Parton song and that was the one that I wanted to do?

What was the best piece of advice that you received from the judges when you were on the show?
I remember Mariah saying to me not to let anybody get me down. That’s always how you have to be in this business and that’s how I’ve been able to even continue to do American Idol. That’s how I was able to come back for 3 years was because I didn’t let it get me down and it’s so important to continue to not let people get you down and just do your thing.

Did you get to speak with Scotty McCreery the week he was on and get any advice from him?
I did get to talk to him actually…when he was leaving the building. He just told me, "Wow I remember you from season 10" and he said, "I’m hearing some good stuff about you in Nashville" so that made me feel really good.

What would you like to say to all the fans that voted for you this season?
I would just like to say that my fans have not let me down one bit. You all got me here to the Top 5 when I didn’t even think it was going to be possible for me to make it past group day and so it’s really been an incredible journey and I just really hope to continue to make great music. I’m really excited about all the new ideas that I’m having coming up in my head and also with all the new connections I’ve made with the different writers in Nashville and so I can’t wait to get some great music out there for all my fans.

Lastly, did you ever get your boots back from Nicki?
Yes. I did get my boots back from Nicki but I think they had to chase her down and grab them off her feet.


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