AI7 Interview with Ramiele Malubay: Out Goes the Tiny Idol
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Thursday, I had the opportunity to participate in a media call with Ramiele. She sounds like a very pleasant girl and I wish her the best of luck with furthering her musical career.
You were so cheerful last night and I wondered maybe if you could just tell us a little bit about what you were feeling, if you were really surprised and then once it sunk in what you were feeling?
R. Malubay: Well, I kind of felt like I was (inaudible) not to be like all negative or anything because I really am not that kind of person. I just felt that a lot more went into all these things. Thatís all and you know (inaudible) going home, but itís okay; all of us have to leave some time. There is only one winner.
And how far did you really think that you could go? Was your goal to make top five or to win? Thereís a lot of competition there.
R. Malubay: Iíve always just get by weekly because I didnít want to think that I was going to be (inaudible) because if you think of it that way your experience is totally erased, like every little second of it could be erased and I didnít want that to happen so my goal to go as far as I could. And I made it onto the tour, so Iím really excited for that.
How tall are you?
R. Malubay: Iím four eleven.
Youíve probably heard about the tremendous success that Jasmine Trias has had in the Philippines after Idol. I wanted to ask you, first of all how old were you when you moved from the Philippines to the U.S.?
R. Malubay: I was five years old.
Have you considered kind of following Jasmineís path and have your career both here and in the Philippines?
R. Malubay: Well, I definitely wanted to go back home because, I mean, itís home. And I wanted to see what I could do over there. Iím pretty sure Iíve learned some things over there and following in her footsteps, she left a lot for me to follow so Iím really grateful for her for being the first Filipino American Idol, to go beyond the show and doing big things.
How much has this dominated your life since August, I guess, when you first auditioned?
R. Malubay: Itís pretty much taken over my whole life, but itís a good thing. Itís actually the first real big thing thatís happened in my life and itís been an experience, a good experience. Itís exposure, itís a future and Iím very grateful for the judges to get me as far as I did to let America judge.
I noticed your family was there every week. Was that a hardship? Were they flying back and forth? Did they temporarily move out to L.A.?
R. Malubay: No, no. My dad would fly every week; I donít know why. Itís so much money. My parents were really supportive. My dad would fly every week and my sister, it was actually her first week here for the big stage and she kind of missed the elimination day. But my family is really supportive and theyíre really proud of me.
You mentioned that you wanted to be the first Asian-American winner of the show. Did you feel any added pressure, though, to kind of represent Asian-Americans?
R. Malubay: A little bit, I felt a little bit of pressure. But just to see how the fan base would grow and stuff and itís just flattering. It was really exciting, but then again, I was like, oh I have to do well not only for myself now, not only for my parents, but for people of the same race and the people supporting me. And I got as far as I could and I hope nobody is disappointed.
You seem to form really close friendships with the other contestants. Was it hard to compete against when you were actually so close with them?
R. Malubay: Honestly, we never really thought of it as a competition until like Wednesdays when someone has to go home. Someone is going home tonight (inaudible). Itís really weird; weíd like help each other. Weíre a big family; weíre not out to get the other person kicked off or anything, you know? When we help each other we really help each other. Itís genuine and it comes from the heart.
We donít sugarcoat things just for the camera, do you know what I mean?
Can you please describe how you chose and learned this weekís Dolly song, ďDo I Ever Cross Your Mind?Ē
R. Malubay: I actually didnít know the song. And I didnít know any other songs besides ďI Will Always Love YouĒ, the song that everybody knows. But I taped it and I listened. It was either that or a ballad. And I listened to the song and I wanted to challenge myself to see how I could take a song and kind of make it my own even though it wasnít in the same genre, like the kind of music that I tended into.
And Iím proud of myself that I actually moved on stage performance wise. I felt that I grew that night.
And what did you, Brooke and Kristy say to each other while you waited for the results last night?
R. Malubay: We were just hugging each other. We were roommates; we all lived together, along with Syesha. We were just talking to each other, like, Brooke was like, you know I love you guys no matter what happens. And Kristy was like, Iím here, guys. I love you guys. I kind of knew it was me when they went to go sit down.
Why did you decide to take on Heartsí ďAloneĒ a couple of weeks ago because Carrie Underwood had done it; she had made it a signature song in Season 4. Did you know that there was some risk involved there?
R. Malubay: Oh, yes. I watched her performance. I just thought that the first week that I had I was trying really hard to bring that back. So if it didnít work, then it didnít work. That was my whole goal, though, to bring back the first week.
What song were you planning to sing next week if you hadnít been eliminated for the Idols Gives Back week?
R. Malubay: Oh, I wasnít sure yet.
R. Malubay: Yes, because it was like a really big week. So it wasnít like we could just pick any song; it had to be inspirational to us.
Did you live in the Tampa Bay area once?
R. Malubay: Yes, I lived in Zephyrhills.
Zephyrhills? And how old were you when you lived there?
R. Malubay: I went to Zephyrhills High School. Well, I went to Stuart Middle and I was there for all of middle school and half of high school. I moved to Miami when I was in the end of my sophomore year.
You finished high school, or you didnít finish high school here?
R. Malubay: No, I finished it in Miami.
You performed at the annual Filipino Festival here?
R. Malubay: Yes, actually itís this weekend.
Whatís next for you? Have you thought about what youíll be doing now?
R. Malubay: Well, I really wanted to pursue something and sing in L.A. for a while. And Iím going to try if I see something here. And if that doesnít work, Iím definitely going back to (inaudible). And I also wanted to try acting.
I was just wondering I guess if you have any predictions as to who you might think will take the Idol crown?
R. Malubay: I think that we all went into this being totally different from each other and then growing so much more to perfect our differences and I donít know really know whoís going to take it this year. Other years you could kind of tell or project, but itís really weird this year. Everyone is frickiní good; they sing so different, but on the same level of greatness so I really donít know who would be taking it home this year, but whoever it is, it wouldnít be a surprise as to any of them to be winners.
What did you learn from your experience while you were on Idol?
R. Malubay: I learned to be more of a humble person. I learned just to take things in more, like appreciate the little things and to be more courteous to people and to acknowledge every person that worked on the show because it doesnít work that every single person helps you out. And I learned so much from the band and the mentor, even though it was just like one mentor we got this week, and the vocal coaches that we had. Itís just amazing to be able to work with those people.
What advice do you have for future contestants?
R. Malubay: Be yourself. Totally be yourself and enjoy every single minute of it because if you think too far ahead youíre going to miss the fun stuff, when you look back. And Iím just glad that I took everything in and I didnít regret anything.
I know you were really good friends with a lot of people on Idol as we mentioned and you kind of seem like you were the little sister on the show. Is that the case?
R. Malubay: Yes. I mean Iím older than Archuleta and he walks by me all the time and pats me on the head like Iím his little sister.
Did you actually have any problems, like on the Idol stage or during group performances or with the wardrobe or anything because of your height?
R. Malubay: Well, no. I just hate wearing heels. If I donít need to I really wonít. But thatís why last night I was like, screw it, Iím going to wear flats tonight. I wore flats last night and I was like the worldís going to see how tall I really am. And standing next to Carly in that long line, (inaudible).
Well, it was really fun to see you on the show every week, so weíll miss you. Can you talk a little bit about like after the show is over, like last night, Iím kind of envisioning all the singers get together and have a little party. Is it like that? What is it like?
R. Malubay: Well, we usually just get together afterwards and talk. But with Idol Gives Back (inaudible) you know, I saw them, I said goodbye. When I went back home to pack they had a card for me, Kristy, Brooke and Sye. And it was the cutest card with little jokes and stuff. Iím going to miss living with them. But Iím not leaving California so Iíll see them.
Is there anything that youíre going to not miss about being on the show week to week? Living with other people or having to share a bathroom, that kind of thing?
R. Malubay: I mean, Syesha and I are like sisters, so the whole sharing the bathroom; weíve been together since Hollywood Week, so itís not really a problem. Iím just going to miss everything. Iím not going to not miss anything. I wish I wasnít leaving, but Iíll still see those four.
You mentioned that you learned to be more courteous when you were on the show. So let me just ask you, because most people tend to become jerks after they get a taste of fame. Do you think you sort of had a harder edge to your personality before you were on Idol?
R. Malubay: No, no, no. I went into this really clueless of what was going to happen, but itís just that you see how fame kind of gets to certain people. Not necessarily any of the Idols; just how fame hits people and you donít want to be that person, you know, she changed. So I pride myself on staying the way I was walking into this completely lost and walking out the same way.
You didnít have as much experience as some of the other performers this year. Did you feel you had some catching up to do?
R. Malubay: I knew that they all had experience or some of them had experience, but I had as much experience as I thought I was going to need and when I went into this you just learn so much more. And weíre all on the same playing field, do you know what I mean? Theyíre learning what Iím learning and I feel like I knew what I needed to know and they knew what they needed to know.
But itís not like I was on any uneven playing field. I was totally okay with the way things were.
On the Fox News this morning you were talking about what good friends you and Danny Noriega are and that youíre going to be roommates. Is that something youíre going to do immediately or is that after the tour and can you talk a little bit about your friendship?
R. Malubay: Iím not sure yet when weíre going to move in together because of the tour and whatnot. But I do know weíre really close. I still talk to him every single day. Weíre going to move in. Weíre a friend duet.
Is that you want to support each other in your film, your music career; Iím sorry, you said you also wanted to be an actress, is that your plan?
R. Malubay: Oh, weíre supportive no matter whether he moves in because he said I was in Miami. We just got so close. You donít really get to share that kind of experience with just anybody, so he and I, itís like we clicked and we want to be there for each other. And Iíll be fine and heíll be fine and weíll take care of each other.
Right back at the auditions, Paula and Randy were very, very keen on you and very enthusiastic and that kind of stuff, but Simon was maybe a little bit cooler. I think he said something like being a bit like a hotel singer or something?
R. Malubay: Oh, yes. He said I was like a hotel singer the very first audition I had.
Do you think that he was kind of cool on you from the beginning or do you think he warmed up to you as it went on or do you think you proved him wrong?
R. Malubay: Oh, he likes me, I know he does. Heís a very nice guy. Backstage when I left the show he came and he was like, oh, cry on my shoulder. And I was like, oh, okay. And he was telling me, it was the song choice; it was the song choice. Iím like, Simon, I know it was the song choice.
Oh, okay, so you changed his mind then?
R. Malubay: Yes, heís a really nice guy and I really do believe in my heart that he says the things he says, sometimes he overdoes it; itís TV, but he just wants us to be better. He didnít just pick up to pick us; he saw something in us, obviously, and he wanted us to do well.
So, you mentioned earlier that you were trying to kind of recapture that first week and thatís one thing I was surprised by. You came out really, really strong and then it seemed like something happened. Was it nerves or what sort of happened that escaped you after that?
R. Malubay: Honestly, the first week I didnít know that it was such a big deal. Up until people were telling me you did really well and Iím like, did I? So, I let that get to my head and Iím like now I need to try to be better than that and when you over think things like that too much, you just over think it so far that you donít know how to handle yourself anymore. Sometimes you just over think it and then the song just gets out of hand. Itís not in your control anymore.
So did that play into maybe some nerves once you got on stage, feeling the pressure of that first performance?
R. Malubay: Kind of. And also I was just terrified actually on stage. But now Iím going to be on tour and I have to be on a lot of stages.
I wanted to ask you about your confidence as the show progressed because I know a couple of times that was an issue that the judges brought up.
R. Malubay: Yes, my confidence dropped or something.
Yes, was that sort of a struggle for you to maintain confidence as the show progressed or how do you think that played out for you?
R. Malubay: They were just saying my confidence dropped and I was like, what are they talking about? And when I got to the what are they talking about kind of mode, it was like thatís when that whole over thinking thing came about, like what am I doing? Who are they talking about? What do they want from me?
Like kind of psyching yourself out?
R. Malubay: Yes and you really should do that. You should never second-guess yourself. You should always go with your first; I shouldnít have done that.
And I also wanted to ask you about, somebody who didnít make the top 12, but was from Houston, Katie Malloy.
R. Malubay: Loved her.
Yes, she had said that she had become friends with you while you guys were on the show together.
R. Malubay: I love her. She is the sweetest person and they gave her so much crap, but she stood through everything like a warrior and I love her. I actually talked to her a couple of days ago and sheíll always send really sweet texts like lifting up my spirits and I really hope I can go and visit her, do something with her. Sheís do talented. I believe sheís so talented and sheís going to get far.
I wanted to ask you about the level of pressure because, obviously, it affected one of your fellow contestants, Dave Cook, quite a lot. I just wanted to know if you felt the same kind of pressure, if that wasnít that much of a surprise to you that he felt overcome by it.
R. Malubay: Well, Iím not sure; he had clearly announced that he had high blood pressure, but he was fine. He went to the hospital and heís fine. And everybody goes about things totally different and we all break down in totally different ways. So I believe that my breakdown was crying every week for everyone leaving. Thatís how I handled the pressure, just letting it all out.
When was the last time you visited the Philippines or have you ever visited the Philippines?
R. Malubay: I think it was two years ago. We try to go every other year. Iím so like due for a visit right now.
When was the last time?
R. Malubay: Um, 2006.
Oh, 2006. Do you plan to come back here?
R. Malubay: Yes, I do, I really do. Probably for Christmas because I havenít spent Christmas in the Philippines yet.
And how do Americans react when you say your favorite singers are Regine Velasquez and Lani?
R. Malubay: Well, they give me the face of well, whoís that? And some of them know who they are. But they question it a little bit and then they go on to the next question, but I wanted to let it be known that those are my idols as well.
I wanted to ask you about song selection. How did you go about choosing your songs each week?
R. Malubay: Itís more so on not like, oh, I know this song. I would try to just look at the song and seriously see what I could do with it and if it was in my range or if I felt like challenging myself that week.
Were there any songs that you had really wanted to sing, but for any reason you werenít able to?
R. Malubay: I really wanted to sing Ė Iím hoping I can do it on the tour Ė ďA House Is Not A HomeĒ because I think that song is gorgeous.
I was so glad to see somebody like you in the show because you were one of the only people who didnít really have a professional singing experience. Do you feel like maybe you were overmatched overall on the show?
R. Malubay: Oh, no, definitely not. I feel like it was all an even playing field. We all had our weaknesses and our strengths, but when it came down to it, we had the same vocal coaches. We had the same kind of training while we were there. The only difference was the experience that we had before going into it, but Iím pretty sure Simon, Randy and Paula wouldnít just pick up thinking all of us were completely amateurs or all of us had so much experience. We were picked for a reason.
I was in the studio last night and right when you and Kristy Lee had been picked and the two of you were sitting there they cut to a commercial and this woman sitting right in front of you guys fainted. What was your reaction when that happened?
R. Malubay: It kind of was like, oh, my goodness. I didnít know what happened. I was just looking at her and I was like what happened? Sheís okay, though. I think that girl is okay. They rushed her to the hospital. Me and Kristy were like, wow, what happened?
I just wanted to know what kind of album we might expect from you, such varied musical taste? And we didnít really get to see I guess a lot of what youíre about, given that you had to do certain songs for certain eras. What can we expect?
R. Malubay: I grew up listening to a lot of what my parents listened to, a lot of 60s, 70s, 80s Ė a lot of 80s Ė and I would love to just make an R&B solo album and kind of just make it a little bit more upbeat and add my flavor to some old songs or covers or something.
Have you asked Danny to do a duet with you?
R. Malubay: Oh, me and Danny will do a duet regardless.
At the Idol Top 12 party one of the things you told me was that you said that you hold the record for changing your song the most often and that your family kept giving you different song advice during the competition. Was that the case in the past couple of weeks as well?
R. Malubay: No, they stopped giving me a whole bunch of different choices and I was like, come on, let me be. Yes, it was me picking the songs and I was just trying to tune everybody else out so I wouldnít get so stressed and so psyched out.
But previously you had let your family be part of that process? Was that a good decision?
R. Malubay: Yes, I had asked for their opinions and then they just started getting upset if I didnít choose and I was like, okay, Iím sorry, never mind.
Are you guys allowed to have any access to computer, to message boards, to see your fans?
R. Malubay: Weíre allowed on the Internet; weíre always allowed on the Internet, but itís our choice whether or not to look at all those things because either way, good or bad, it sways your opinion on things and I just didnít want to look at it.
You chose not to look at any of it?
R. Malubay: Yes, I really didnít want to and then there would be people who would text me and stuff and oh, I read this and this and this and thatís when me and Syesha decided weíre going to tell people we donít any negative comments so if you have nothing nice to say weíre just not going to talk to you guys.
Say nothing at all.
R. Malubay: Yes, because it really does help in the competition.
Was there one point when you felt like youíve made some progression? Was there one criticism or one vocal coach or one person that you thought, okay, Iíve gotten over a hump here, Iíve made a big jump?
R. Malubay: Well, personally for me it was this show, because of that whole performance aspect because Iím really bad at walking. I guess others would probably just say the first performance.
Thank you to FOX for allowing us to participate in this media call!
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