LIFE AFTER "IDOL"
Elliott Yamin takes breakthrough CD on the road
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 08/31/07
BY LARRY RODGERS
GANNETT NEWS SERVICE
Like several "American Idol" runners-up before him, soulful singer Elliott Yamin is trying to make the most of his experience and exposure on the blockbuster reality show.
Yamin, who has been touring in support of his self-titled debut CD, hopes to follow in the footsteps of Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, La Toya London, Kellie Pickler and Bo Bice, who all have parlayed finishes in at least the top six into successful record deals.
"The exposure that you get from the show is just out of this world," says Yamin, who finished third last season.
"Everybody and their mother knows the show and what it's about, and you become this household name overnight," adds Yamin, whom "Idol" kingpin Simon Cowell called "potentially the best male vocalist" to have competed on the program.
In its sixth season, "American Idol" attracted 40 million viewers during some of its broadcasts.
Yamin's album debuted in March at No. 3 on Billboard magazine's Top 200 chart and his single, "Wait for You," received healthy airplay.
"It's one of our most requested songs," says Mark Medina, program director at a local pop radio station in Phoenix, Ariz. "There is a lot of momentum for him (Yamin)."
The single also did well at the station's sister station in Los Angeles, Medina says.
Unlike several of his predecessors, Yamin, 28, is creating a career independent of the "American Idol" machine.
Series producer 19 Productions has inked recording or management deals with all the "Idol" winners and several finalists. But the company passed on making an offer to Yamin.
And that's just fine with the singer, who was born in Los Angeles and spent his teenage years in Richmond, Va.
"I wasn't insulted by any means. I really wanted nothing to do with them, to be honest," says Yamin, who has relocated to Los Angeles since his "Idol" run.
Despite the praise he drew from Cowell, as well as judge Randy Jackson, who was impressed by Yamin's duet with Mary J. Blige in last year's season finale, Yamin says the show's structure conflicted with his independent streak.
"I didn't really care for the way they treated us while we were on the show . . . I made the decision early on that I didn't want to continue with them," Yamin says.
"I didn't want to be anybody's puppet - I'm not saying anybody else is. But I wanted to seek a deal and seek everything independent of "Idol.' "
Yamin negotiated a sweet deal with Sony/ATV to release his debut on an independent label, Hickory Records, and receive a 50-50 share in profits — an unheard-of level for a new act. Yamin also shares ownership of the five songs on the album that he helped write.
"I don't know anybody else from the show who got the kind of deal I got. They (19 Productions) didn't want me and I didn't want them. So it worked out great for both of us," the singer says.
Yamin acknowledges that his exposure through the show played a role in his recruiting some heavy-hitting collaborators for his debut, including the duo known as Stargate (who have written for Beyonce and Ne-Yo), DJ Lethal (Evanescence, Limp Bizkit), Michael Mangini (Joss Stone) and Derek Bramble (David Bowie).
"It's a totally new ballgame for me," Yamin says. "I hadn't had too much experience with writing prior to this, so I have a lot of work to do, a lot or learning."
Hmmm...some interesting words from Elliott...I would gather that there is no love lost between him and 19.......I Elliott though!