While their fellow “American Idol” finalists wait for word later this month on their futures, season six champ Jordin Sparks and runner-up Blake Lewis are hard at work on their debut albums.
Both singers tell Billboard.com they’ve been using off-days from this summer’s American Idols Live! tour for recording, and both hope to have their efforts out before Thanksgiving. Sparks’ is untitled so far, while Lewis’ has dubbed his “Audio Daydream (ADD).”
“I’m feeling a little bit of pressure because it’s coming up so fast,” says Sparks. “But I have full confidence that we’ll finish it by the time we have to.”
Sparks has recorded four songs so far — including one with the production team Stargate — recording in Los Angeles, Omaha, Neb., and Chicago, with a session scheduled for this week in Pittsburgh. She plans to do the bulk of the recording back in Los Angeles after the Idols Live! tour finishes on Sept. 22.
“It’d kind of Kelly Clarkson’s pop edge, a little bit,” she says, “and I recorded a ballad-y type song, like a power vocal song, and then I recorded just a really fun, fast one. I’m trying to mix everything together. I’m loving all the songs I’m recording, so hopefully that will come off the album when you listen to it and you’ll be able to feel the emotion.”
Idols Live! tour mate Chris Richardson has been writing songs with both Sparks and Lewis for their albums, which wukk be submitted for consideration. Lewis says he’s recorded eight songs so far, working with producers such as Sam Hollander, Mike Elizondo and J.R. Rotem, with bt working on another track.
“It’s your favorite ’80s mix tape,” Lewis says, “very inspired by Michael Jackson, Prince, Erasure, Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, the Cure. It’s all over the map, really — very influenced by ’80s hip-hop, old school breaks, whatever.”
“They’re letting me down the album I’ve always wanted to make,” says Lewis, who’s written 11 of his own songs for the set.
Sparks and Lewis are both signed with Sony BMG by virtue of their “Idol” finishes, but the rest of the “Idol” crew is awaiting word on whether they’ll receive an offer later this month. Richardson, meanwhile, is also planning a “rock and soul” album he says will be “a mixture of Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz.” He’s also writing for Phil Stacey who, like Haley Scarnato, plans to make a country album. Gina Glocksen hopes to record “something pop/rock, like … Pink,” while LaKisha Jones has her eye on a gospel/spiritual album.