Thursday, May 24, 2007
Blake Lewis Reaches Out To Gnarls, Will.I.Am After 'Idol' Finale: 'Call Me!'
Runner-up promises to break out his guitar for Idols Live Tour.
By Katie Byrne, with reporting by Jim Cantiello
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HOLLYWOOD — Blake Lewis might not have revolutionized beatboxing with his stint on "American Idol," but he surely revolutionized "American Idol" with his beatboxing.
The 25-year-old from Bothell, Washington, brought a flavor to the season-six stage never before seen on "Idol." His daring remixes and original song choices kept viewers wondering what he would do next. But the contestant's run came to an end Wednesday when teen queen Jordin Sparks claimed the "Idol" crown (see "Sparks Flies: Jordin Takes 'American Idol' Crown").
We caught up with Lewis after the star-studded finale to talk about his dream collaborations, what to expect from the Idols Live Tour and how two minutes isn't enough time to sing a good song.
MTV: How are you holding up?
Blake Lewis: Great. I'm great. I'm very excited. I couldn't have asked for a better night. Tonight was amazing.
MTV: Let's talk about your collaboration [with Doug E. Fresh]. Sorry, Bette Midler, but Blake's performance was definitely the hottest thing tonight. Was it a dream come true?
Lewis: That was Doug E. allowing me to hang out with him onstage, and that was an honor. Forever etched in my brain. It was one of the hottest times I will ever have onstage. It was just a dream come true. Hopefully I'll get to get him in the studio, and we'll have to do, like, a beatbox track, you know? Get something really down.
MTV: Let's talk about the album. Any news on that?
Lewis: You know, I can only hope in the next, like, two weeks or before the tour that I get signed and get management. Things take [their] course, it seems, from the show. Hopefully I get represented by the creative people I surround myself with and get to make the album I've always wanted to. I've tried to stay true to myself this whole entire time, and I think I've represented myself as creatively as I could with what I got on the show. So I'm excited to do that even more so singing my own songs I've written and, you know, just be me 110 percent.
MTV: We caught up with your parents on the red carpet (see "Sanjaya, Carrie Underwood Still Stealing Spotlight — On 'American Idol' Finale Red Carpet"), and they were telling us all about some of the stuff that you have written. Can you fill us in?
Lewis: My style's like if you took Jamiroquai and mixed it with Citizen Cope. It's like G. Love & Special Sauce. It's more groove-oriented, danceable, though. I love electronic music, I love hip-hop and loop-based music. I want to do that, but I want do that on a more organic tip. You know, have my drummer come in, but then edit the drums and program them and make them crazy and tweak them out. Make a really good danceable, feel-good album, but with a really good jazzy, melodic twist on that.
MTV: If you had any dream collaborator in the studio, who would you pick?
Lewis: B.T. He's my favorite producer pretty much ever. I've been talking to him. He hasn't seen "American Idol," but I opened for him a long time ago and he wanted to work a long time ago. And now we have the opportunity to maybe get together and work. It's not official, but I talked to him for a couple hours about it. ... There's so many amazing producers out there that are more underground. I like DJ Shadow, I love Dan the Automator. Will.I.Am is an amazing producer, and he lives in that realm of hip-hop, dance and pop. ... I'd love to work with anyone that would really want to work with me. I'd love to work with Danger Mouse and Gnarls Barkley and Cee-Lo. Robin Thicke ... The possibilities are endless. I'm putting it out there. If you want to do something, call me!
MTV: We saw on the show that you were always rearranging stuff. Would you ever be interested in producing stuff yourself?
Lewis: I have my own studio at home. I haven't produced, obviously, on a larger scale, but I'd love to. I love making things. I love going from the improv realm and the more jazz-based instant creation, you know, being in front of an audience and creating for them. My music comes from that. All my stuff is live, and then I take it home and I rearrange it, then I write to live music I did in front of people. I'd love to do that with other artists.
MTV: What can we expect on the tour?
Lewis: Tour! Oh, I'm very excited about the tour, because I get to use my loop pedals and my guitar. We're all playing instruments this time. That's never been done before. I think maybe Chris Daughtry played some guitar last year. But everyone plays a different instrument, like Chris Richardson plays drums; he's been playing drums for, like, 15 years. [Chris] Sligh plays guitar, Phil [Stacey] can play keyboard, I play guitar and keyboard, bass. For me, I'm excited because I'm gonna do a one-man band show because I have all my loop pedals from beatboxing and then I play guitar and sing over that, so I'm gonna do kind of like a little medley that I used to do — the only two songs that I used to ever cover. One of them I sang on the show.
MTV: Which one was that?
Lewis: [Maroon 5's] "She Will Be Loved." So I'll probably do that on tour. I have a really cool arrangement that I'd like to do.
MTV: Why didn't you do that [version] during the finale? It sounded pretty faithful to the original.
Lewis: Well, because it's television. We only have two minutes. I only sang half a verse of that song. That's upsetting to me. If I had my way, I'd want to sing a whole song and put my twist on it. So I'm gonna do that on tour. Creds