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Thread: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

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    AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a media call with Blake Lewis. I was extremely sad to see him not win the show but I am sure it’s not the last we will see of him.

    I was wondering, looking back on it now is there anything – do you have any sort of regrets, or is there anything you would have done differently?

    B. Lewis: Oh, never. I never have regrets. I had so much fun on this experience. The journey’s been amazing, and each week was a different experience, and it - ended it with a bang with Doug E. Fresh.

    Were you nervous at all about that?

    B. Lewis: Oh, no, not at all. The most calm I’ve been on this whole entire season was playing the Kodak Theater both nights, so.

    I’m just wondering, what can we expect from you after the tour? Is anything falling into place? Are you getting any ideas about an album or who you might work?

    B. Lewis: Definitely an album will be in the works, not exactly sure who yet, but little talk about it when I - I’ll be going to New York here and be talking to the right people to get that underway.

    So you’ve made it this far, and I know Jordin has her “This is My Now” song to kind of describe her Idol experience. What would yours be?

    B. Lewis: Say that again?

    What would your song be? Jordin has her theme song, “This is My Now,” but what would your song be to sum up your Idol experience?


    B. Lewis: Well, the most work I have put into any song was definitely the Bon Jovi, “You Give Love a Bad Name.” That one best – not necessarily vocally, but like for performance, that represents me and “Keep Me Hanging On, and “This is Where I Came In,” the Bee Gees. Those are the three songs that I arranged, pretty much, the most, and I put a lot of work into them.

    And I know I’m very familiar with your charitable efforts with Seattle Children’s and your whole initiative as far as that is concerned. Have you given any thought to how you’re going to expand upon that now that your notoriety is very much out there?

    B. Lewis: Not yet. I haven’t had a lot of time to think until I get all this press done and everything. So I’ll be talking with my best friend, Kristi, head of the Blaker Girls, and we’ll come up with something unique, to give back.

    My first question is going back to the performance with Doug E. Fresh. How exactly did you feel doing that? Like, did you ever think you’d get to the point where you’d be on stage with him?

    B. Lewis: You know, I met him a month and a half before when he came out with – he came out to support Akon and Gwen Stefani, so he was behind the stage at that. And I went up to him, and I just asked if he wanted to cipher after the show or something, so we went back in the hallway, and we did some question and answering back and forth with the beatbox. And it was a real magical moment, and I asked him if there was any chance that he could come on the show, and we can perform, even after American Idol in the…term. Let’s do it. He was all for it. And then flash forward to the finale, and I get to rock the show his ’86 classic beatbox song that inspired me, and it was just a real magical moment. So I was more excited than anything to end the finale and end my run as an American Idol with Doug E. Fresh, one of my main inspirations as a beatboxer.

    And my second question – do you think American Idol will be more hip, more contemporary because of what you brought to it, singing real current songs and beatboxing and all that?

    B. Lewis: Yes. I can only hope that it keeps a contemporary edge, getting more contemporary acts on the show, with the shows that they do have that people come and play or as a mentorship. There’s definitely a lot of classic stuff going on this year. I don’t know. I think if the show wants to have a continued success, I think they need to play more in favor to what’s out there, what’s current.

    During the finale on Tuesday, how did you feel about the judges discussing who won each round and calling you “The Desperate Farmer”?


    B. Lewis: Oh, man, since the beginning of the competition, I honestly - it’s hard to hear them in the first place, and I just bite my tongue, and I say thank you. It’s just three people’s opinion in that I really don’t like the criticism right after you sing a song. In any other circumstance…and being on stage, that would never happen, so I took it for what it is. I always just say, “Thank you,” and I go to the next song and sing my song, do the same thing over and over again. So it doesn’t really ever get to me. It’s nice when they say positive things, and when they say negative things, I just…my shoulders off.

    And they did praise your work a lot. What was your smartest song choice and why?

    B. Lewis: Smartest song choice - it really depends on the week. I was scared for country week, and I was lucky to sing, “When the Stars go Blue.” I think Bon Jovi, from the response, was probably the most successful song choice. I really loved the fact that I got to sing, “Keep Me Hanging On,” and remix that. Honestly, it really depends on the week. I think I had a smart song choice every week, but I do think coming out the gate singing, “Somewhere Only We Know,” and everyone thought I was just a beatboxer was a smart move on my part. That was the only part where I was like, I guess, strategical, using my strategery as good George Bush would say.

    I had a mute button on for some reason. Anyway, how come we haven’t seen the return of your character, Jimmy Walker Blue?

    B. Lewis: There hasn’t been a lot of opportunities for Jimmy Walker Blue. It was – that’s just another part of me that I dove in, in more character acting, character, I think, spots. If I ever get to play Saturday Night Live, man, I do a lot of character work and a lot of voiceovers. I’m very into improv comedy and just comedy on the whole. So if there’s any part where I could go, like David Alan Grier has his improv show. I’d love to go on that. Anytime that I could do something like that and just – I feed off the live – that’s why I think I love performing, and that’s why I’ve had such a blast on this show is because I can – since it’s live, I can really feed off that energy. Back home, I had a character, Charles Siegfried. I was the host of a burlesque show and very British egocentric character where he loves the ladies, and he thinks the world loves him, and then Jimmy Walker Blue is just like a hip-hop hick, someone that would listen to Kid Rock 24 hours a day, so just weird, wacky characters. I grew up on a lot of Robin Williams, Mork & Mindy, a lot of Jim Carey movies.

    And do you do any celebrity impersonations?


    B. Lewis: Not really. I was more into impressions when I was, like, in junior high and high school, and then I, that’s when I also started becoming more of the musician. And so just recently, probably in the last two years, I got more into the characters working with my friends. There’s an amazing improv. My friend’s duo called Cupcake, up in Seattle, that I get to feed off them and ride their coattails and get to do neat little character stuff that’s all YouTube. So if you go to moistcupcake.com, there’s probably like six videos that I’m on in different characters.

    Moistcupcake.com - I’ll remember that.

    B. Lewis: Mostcupcake.com. It’s an improv that my friend, Ethan and Justin – their duo show. They do an hour and half of improv, and I get to be the Flava Flave, if you will, the hot guy in different characters and stuff. So I’m honored to work with those – my friends, and have real opportunities where I can be a goof.

    I wanted to ask you what would you say is probably the best thing about actually not winning the title, if there indeed is one for you.


    B. Lewis: Oh, man, you know, I never thought I’d get to this moment ever. So that’s a tough question to answer because I picked Jordin to be the winner in the top 24, like as soon as I met her, I picked her to be the winner. I’m so completely satisfied coming second on this show. I would have been completely satisfied coming in fourth or fifth or fifth or sixth. I always felt that my art wasn’t as mainstream as most people, so just me coming out of Seattle, kind of being more of an eclectic artist and into definitely more independent and underground music, so just coming on this show, I just gave it my all, and I wound up at two. And that’s huge. I really wanted to just get into the top ten, so I could go on tour and actually show people what I do on tour, and hopefully, they like that. So – I’m terrible at answering questions.

    I wanted to ask you really quickly was – tell me a little bit about what it was like to have the constant daily support from Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Rosie O’Donnell.

    B. Lewis: Well, that’s amazing. I don’t watch a lot of TV, and I’m lucky that I have amazing friends that keep me sane, and they let me know what’s going on because I never have time for anything, especially with the show. We were doing like 16 hour days. So my good friend, Kristi, she’s the head of the Blaker Girls; she’s my best friend. She keeps me informed of everything. So she told me about that, and I actually watched The View one day, and they were wearing like a Blaker Girl shirt. I’d love to go on that show. I love Rosie O’Donnell. I love – she just says whatever she wants. And that’s usually how I am. I’m kind of like Simon’s sense where I just – I’m pretty honest and blunt, and sometimes a little tactless. ….

    Well, I’m sure they would love to have you on there.

    B. Lewis: I’d love to be the balance between those two and go on that show sometime.

    I’m wondering, in a sense, do you wish you could possibly have had a song that suited you better rather than “This is My Now,” and did it possibly kind of do you in, in the end?


    B. Lewis: You know, that’s what a lot of people are asking, and I definitely say, yes. “This is My Now” is definitely not my style. It’s a song I would never sing if I didn’t have to, so it was definitely – it fit her, like, perfectly. And honestly, they should have had two songs, one that was tailored to both of us, but I’m so happy with being second place. I never thought I’d get here in the first place, so. But yes, it’s just definitely not my style. I would have rather had something like blues-oriented, jazzy. I think there could be like an uplifting song that’s not so linear. That one’s not very melodic, and I’m very all about melody, going around melodies and stuff, so.

    And you said you’re comfortable with second place or getting into the top ten. I’m just wondering, with giving up the coin toss, picking Jordin to win, I think even some of your friends said in The Seattle Times they prefer you didn’t win. Did you in a sense, thought it was better, maybe didn’t unconsciously want to win the competition?

    B. Lewis: Gee, I never looked at it as winning and losing. I just tried going out and performing really well each day. But in the sense that I’m kind of glad I didn’t win just for like contractual reasons. I think if you’re first, you might have to come back for like three years or something and do stuff, which is great, though, at the same time because American Idol is such an amazing show and an experience, so I honestly didn’t care one bit of winning or losing because I thought – I called myself a winner just by getting in the top ten.

    I write for young readers, so I wondered if you could tell us a little bit about what you were like, what activities you were involved in and so on when you were in middle school and high school.

    B. Lewis: Okay. Well, middle school, I was in choir. I was pretty much in choir, like elementary, anything with performing, in junior high. And after junior high, that’s when I really got into performance art and singing and art and anything that had to do with creating. I love anything that has to do with creation, whether it’s building with your hands or doing pottery or photography.

    But as far as on the music side of things, high school was really good because I got to take acting, do some acting, and I had a performance class and then choir. And then the one real neat thing that was really good about the live art form and my experiences is once a month we had like an open mic, and that was where I really – I first started beatboxing. My first time performing beatboxing in front of a crowd was at open mic during lunch at my high school. And I think that was a really good moment for me that I can always – I can always look back on that moment, and that’s where it all started for me as far as being a musician on a stage because it was the first – you could do anything in an open mic. You can read poetry. You could play the bongos. It didn’t really matter. The nice thing about that is because open mic, they can like it. They don’t have to like it. It’s just kind of one of those moments. And if these high schools had, I think, more open rights during lunch, like once a week, I think it would be really cool once a week, and I’m definitely in support of that because me going after high school I played this open mic all the time, all amazing musicians that I’ll always be playing with for the rest of my life.

    I did this open mic at this bar for – I don’t know – like a year and a half, called The Jet Deck. I met so many amazing musicians that I’m still playing with today.

    And then my second just follow up, you have a hip personal style, and you mentioned that you used to make your own pants, and I know you like vintage clothes and stuff. Could you tell us, did you shop at vintage places, or did you work with a stylist for your Idol look?

    B. Lewis: Through the Idol experiences - they have stylists for us, but coming into the show, they told me they liked everything. They loved my style. So Miles Higgins was the stylist for the guys and stuff, and him and I hit it off really great because he already knew that I had my sense of style. He just – he’d come with me or not, and we’d – it only takes me like ten minutes to shop because I instantly know. I know who I am, so I can just go pick it out right away. Make sure – the thing for him is he knows whether it’s going to look good on camera, so it was really good to have that eye as well.

    And then the last thing, the finale, the last couple shows, I met Ashton Michaels on one of our Ford video shoots, and he turned to me, and he’s like, “Wow, we have like the same style.” And I was like, “Wow, what are you wearing? That’s amazing.” He’s like, “I made it.” So we hit it off right away, and I went to his shop, his boutique, and he started making clothes for me.

    It was out of context when I said I made my own pants. I said I started to try to make my own pants. I don’t have a complete pair that I have made yet. I’m still working on it. And now that I met Ashton, hopefully, he’s going to – we’re going to get the right pattern, and he’s going to show me how to make my own pants, so.

    And you got an allowance each week, right? The contestants get an allowance to buy their outfits.

    B. Lewis: Yes, depending on the week.

    One of the things is you went from B-Shorty and Bothell, you know, like this - at Toast and Nectar and all these places, this authentic struggling artist, and now, you’re the crown prince of pop karaoke. A lot of people are going to say you sold out. Did you?

    B. Lewis: Definitely not. I represented myself and stayed true to myself through this whole entire process. So selling out is definitely not – I love the term though. I never had a huge fan base, so I don’t think you can sell out until you even have a fan base. I don’t think you can sell out until you start going off in directions that you wouldn’t normally do and sacrificing some of your integrity as an artist. As soon as you hear me start singing like more songs like “This is My Now,” then you can say I sold out.


    And you’ve also – I think it was Sir Mix-A lot who proclaimed you the kind of Sea Town. When are you going to be back to visit all of us, come survey your kingdom?


    B. Lewis: Oh, man, hopefully, soon. I hope – it’s beginning of June I get to come back, I think, for a week maybe. I don’t know. On the schedule here with press and everything is really tight, not as busy as the show, but I’m still trying to get home for at least a couple days before I have to come right back here to start tour rehearsals.

    Which American Idol previous contestant’s career you sort of want to follow.

    B. Lewis: None of them. I want to set my own path. Yes, pretty much that.

    And what kind of music do you want to do?


    B. Lewis: I want to make?

    Yes.

    B. Lewis: I guess my music. I’ve been making – been doing it for seven years. I have an album that I’m hopefully going to try and get out here. And it’s very – electro-pop, good pop music in the sense of Duran Duran, Michael Jackson. I’m very a child of the ‘80s, so it’s definitely going to have more of a dance theme to it with a little bit of more melodic jazzy like Maroon 5, Jamiroquai, but definitely more on the hip-hop and electronic side of things.

    So I was wondering, are you planning on moving to LA, or what would you – or do you plan on still saying in the Seattle area?

    B. Lewis: Well, I think I’m going to move to LA for awhile when I – so I can be around the label and all my management and just – and some good friends out here for a little bit. I’ve been meaning to move to LA for about five years. I’ve always wanted to come to California and move here. Sorry. Wanted to come here just for the new experience, the new environment change. But I’ll probably only live here for maybe like a year or two because Seattle’s my home, and I don’t think I can be away from all my friends and the musicians that I play with and my family.

    I was also wondering, because you were talking about the acting thing before, is that something that you want to do equally with music after you get your first album done?

    B. Lewis: I don’t think equally. If opportunities arise, and it allows me to do some character work or something, I think it would be fantastic. I would love to, but I want to put my heart and soul into my music and into my art form as a vocalist, a beatboxer. So that’s –

    Is there any sort of – I’m sorry. Is there any sort of actor or comedian/singer that you sort of like the career?

    B. Lewis: Well, not actor/singer. I mean, Jim Carey’s a huge inspiration to me. And he’s very – he’s just so much a performer as a comedian, and he’s – I think his serious acting is amazing. He can sing. He sang on like three or four of his movies. He’s just very talented, and I just hope my career as a musician and as a singer/songwriter can keep going strong for a very long time. If acting comes calling, and I get the right opportunity, the right script, or even just do voiceover work for maybe like a Pixar movie or a DreamWorks movie, I think that’d be a blast. I love being goofy and love doing different voices, and I’ve been doing it since I was a kid, so.

    You said earlier there was a like a show that you’d love to be on, but I couldn’t hear what show you said it was.

    B. Lewis: Oh, well, the David Allen Greer’s…show, and Saturday Night Live has been my favorite show since I was kid, since In Living Color came off the air.

    You seem like quite the ladies’ man. Is that charm something you’ve always had, or did it grow onto you as an adult?

    B. Lewis: Definitely not the ladies’ man. I’ve been in some very serious relationships, and I think that’s pretty funny. No, I was definitely like a nerdy kind of a loner in high school, and I didn’t really have that many relationships. So I think – I’ve gotten more confident in my relationships or in my journey in finding the right woman.

    Are there any song choices you wanted to sing, but you couldn’t get clearance for?


    B. Lewis: Oh, yes, this whole entire time on the show. I didn’t get to sing some of the inspirations that have made me the musician today. I wanted to sing some U2. I got Maroon 5 at the last minute because they hooked me up. They gave me a solid, so that was cool. Yes, no, I finally did at the end of the season, like I got to sing Thicke, Maroon 5, and Sting is a huge influence in my music, so The Police.

    Moderator: Okay, thank you. Did you have any closing remarks then, Blake?


    B. Lewis: Oh, no, thanks. Yes, just I’m very overwhelmed by all this. So yes, just tell all my fans and all your magazines that I loved all the support and the energy that I’ve gotten from this whole entire experience and just thank you very much.

    Thank you to FOX for allowing us to participate in this media call.

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    Re: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    Thanks. That was an interesting interview. Blake is the best.

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    Re: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    Thanks, Yardgnome! Blake is interesting!

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    Re: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    Interesting is the right word. It's not like any of the other past interviews... make of that what you will, I guess.

    Thanks for that interview, Yardgnome.

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    lei
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    Re: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    Quote Originally Posted by Yardgnome;2423774;
    Last week, I had the opportunity to participate in a media call with Blake Lewis. I was extremely sad to see him not win the show but I am sure itís not the last we will see of him.
    Thank you for this, Yardgnome! I was sad too. He was such an interesting contestant who hopefully helped Idol break out of its terribly narrow confines. Anyway it was good to get to know a little better what's in his head.

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    Re: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    Loved this interview. I've seen bits and pieces of this in articles but not all of it. Thanks, Yardgnome!

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    Re: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    for Blake. I miss this guy!

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    Re: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    Great interview with Blake! A radio host here in Orlando got some great interviews with the AI6 contestants during the finale. mix1051.com/pages/551062.php

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    Re: AI6: Interview with Blake Lewis: A Beat-Box Beat Down

    Thanks for the interview! Guess Blake really isn't too good at doing interviews. How cute. And I shall stop before I sound too much like a fangirl. :p
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