With speculation already underway about whether “American Idol” winner Kris Allen’s future in the music industry will go boom or bust, the singer wants everyone to know that he’s defining success on his own terms.
“The only thing I really want to do is just be respected in the music industry,” Allen tells Billboard.com. “Whether that means selling albums or winning Grammys or just people liking my music, that’s all I really want to do.”
Allen may not be selling albums just yet, but he certainly is selling singles. His recording of “Heartless” was at No. 4 on iTunes Top Songs chart Friday afternoon (May 22), and his first single, “No Boundaries,” which was co-written by “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi, tops the list.
Covering Kanye West on the show was an easy decision for the 22-year-old singer. “I was just like, “What if I did this song and made it my own? I’m not gonna ask anybody about it; [I’m going to] be bold and risky.’ As for “No Boundaries,” Allen says that performance was a bit tougher for both him and Lambert. “That song is hard to sing, and I don’t think me or Adam were happy with our performances at all. [But] the track actually sounds really good.”
“To have your first single not be something you wrote or were a part of writing is a little weird,” adds Allen, who writes his own material and hopes to present it to 19 Entertainment as the recording of his solo debut gets underway. “But you can’t complain.”
Few “American Idol” contestants have been as quietly consistent and humble as Allen. Upon winning the Season 8 title Wednesday night, he told host Ryan Seacrest, “It feels good, man, but Adam deserves this. I’m sorry.” Two days later, the singer’s view hadn’t changed. “I still feel that way. I feel that Adam deserved it just as much as I did. He was the most consistent person all year; he was seriously one of the most gifted performers I’ve ever met.”
That said, Allen made it clear that he also believed he deserved to win. “I think it could’ve gone either way, and American couldn’t have gotten it wrong.”
Among the highlights of his “American Idol” experience, Allen said his performance of “We Are the Champions” with Lambert and Queen ranks the highest. “We went through it twice, I think, and then we just did it. Seriously, it was the best moment of the year for me because it was just like the exhale…and we just had a great time together–I mean how can you not have a great time when you’re singing and Brian May is right next to you?”
Though Allen also enjoyed his country duet with Keith Urban, he doesn’t plan to go that route on his debut album. “I don’t feel like I would go the country way. That’s not my type of music, and that’s not the feeing that I want in my album…when I went on the show and did ‘Ain’t No Sunshine,’ that’s the kind of stuff I want to do. Stuff that moves people.”
As for the degree of creative control he’ll have over the record, Allen says it’s all up in the air for now. “I do write my own music, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to use any of that stuff on the first CD or not. We’ll see.”