Exclusive Interview: Stitched Up Heart At Carolina Rebellion

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(PCM) We were absolutely overjoyed to catch up with rockers Stitched Up Heart while out at the recent Carolina Rebellion festival and if this band is not currently on your radar, they without a doubt need to be!

We have not seen such energy and stage presence from a band in quite a long time. They were the perfect morning wake-up call for the already amped and energized crowd on a bright and early festival day. Stitched Up Heart are currently gearing up for the release of their highly anticipated debut album “Never Alone” available on June 17 via Another Century.

The music video for the band’s single “Finally Free” has been racking up the views via YouTube and the band are currently out on the road with Sick Puppies as part of the HardDrive Live tour. They will also be making an appearance at this year’s Rock On The Range festival in Columbus, OH performing  two acoustic sets on Friday at the festival (Noon & 5pm).

Stitched Up Heart will also be playing the Rock On The Range pre-party on Thursday night at the Park Street Saloon. The event is free entry and the band will take the stage at 10pm.

You can view our recent interview with Stitched Up Heart live from Carolina Rebellion below, where the band discusses their upcoming new album, music videos, festival appearances and more!

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Exclusive Interview: Sick Puppies At Carolina Rebellion

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(PCM) If you have been tuning into the rock radio at all these days that you have surely come across the stellar new single “Stick To Your Guns” from rockers Sick Puppies. It has been tearing it’s way up the rock charts and gearing up fans for the released of the band’s highly anticipated new album “Fury” set for release on May 20. The album is currently available for pre-order now.

The upcoming release of “Fury” marks the first new music that we’ve heard from Sick Puppies in nearly two years and to say we are excited is an understatement. We were able to catch the band’s recent performance at Carolina Rebellion opening up the festival’s main stage. Talk about a wake-up call! Sick Puppies gathered quite an audience and provided an outstanding performance! We absolutely can’t wait to catch the band again at the Rock On The Range festival coming up in Columbus, OH.

We were able to catch up with Mark, Emma and Bryan of Sick Puppies to chat about the upcoming new album and what went into the recording process. We also talked about the band’s touring plans for summer, changes in the music industry and more!

Catch up with Sick Puppies here:

www.sickpuppies.com
www.facebook.com/sickpuppies
www.instagram.com/sickpuppiesofficial
www.twitter.com/sickpuppies – @sickpuppies
www.sickpuppiesworldcrew.com

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Director Garry Marshall’s Special Mother’s Day Gift

Mothers-Day1(PCM) Garry Marshall is a man who definitely understands women.

This is why his female-driven romantic comedies, including “Pretty Woman,” “Runaway Bride,” “Princess Diaries,” and now, “Mother’s Day,” are such treats.

The 81-year-old Marshall attended a special Manhattan event hosted by social media and Sirius XM radio hosts Melissa Gerstein and Denise Albert, known as “The Moms,” to talk about his new film, “Mother’s Day,” which opened just in the time for the actual holiday. He was there with one of the star’s of the film, Kate Hudson.

The movie, which gets to the core of complicated family relationships, also boasts a star-studded cast led by Hudson, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Aniston – who all come off as both charming and realistic.

“Mother’s Day,” from Open Road Films, tells intertwining stories about Miranda, a television host (Roberts), Sandy, a divorced mom of two boys, (Aniston), and Jesse, (Hudson), who is hiding her marriage and young son from her parents because her husband is Indian, and she fears they will not accept them.

Other stories involve a widower with two daughters, played by Jason Sudeikis, and several other family members who come together in the week leading up to Mother’s Day, as well as Jesse’s sister, Gabi, (Sarah Chalke) who is afraid to tell their parents she is gay and married to her female partner. They also share custody of her partner’s young son.

Marshall has directed more than 30 movies, including, “Raising Helen,” “Beaches,” “The Other Sister,” He is also the creator and producer of numerous award-winning TV shows, including “Happy Days,” “Laverne and Shirley” “Mork & Mindy,” and “The Odd Couple.” His early career found him writing for such gems as “The Danny Thomas Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” and “The Lucy Show.”

Marshall said he made the new movie to tackle complex and difficult issues such as interracial relationships and same sex marriage. As is the norm in his films, “Mother’s Day” is touching, but also extremely uplifting.

He said that grown children and their parents often drift apart, especially after fighting over their differences. “You might have had fights with one another, but your mother is the first one [in your life] who loves you so you’ve got to make up. So that’s what we do in this movie; and we do it in a funny way.”

Q: Garry, please tell me about your mom.

GARRY MARSHALL: My mom was a dance teacher and taught dancing in the basement of our apartment building in The Bronx. She wore slacks, nobody wore slack in the neighborhood, and she was a working mother. She told us when you’re sad, you go and make someone laugh and that will cheer you up. That’s what I have been doing all of these years.

Q: So would you say that was your mom’s motto?

GM: Yes, my mom had a great sense of humor she used to repeat to me, ‘never be boring, never be boring.’ And I was six years old and I asked her, ‘what’s boring mom?’ She said, ‘you’re father.’ I am kidding; they were happily married for many years.

Q: How would you describe Kate? You two seem like you have a nice bond.

GM: She’s very cute, this girl.

Q: Kate’s children came to Atlanta to the set of this movie – 12-year-old Ryder and four-year old Bing.

GM: Oh, yes. I would say that Bing is as cute as a button.

Q: How do you get all of these amazing people such as Kate Hudson all of the time to join your cast?

GM: I call up and say ‘Hey Kate, we’re doing a movie.’ We did a wonderful picture together “Raising Helen” and I happen to know somebody she knows, her mother Goldie [Hawn], who worked with me on the movie “Overboard.” So I say ‘come let’s make a movie.’ We had a good time.

Q: Tell me about Kate’s character, Jesse, in the movie.

GM: Gladly. Kate plays a character, I’m sure you have gone through it, where her mother says ‘him, that’s who you are going to marry? Look at him. You’re going to bring him home for dinner?’’ And they have fights. You might have had fights with your children. But the mother is the first one [in your life] who loves you so you got to make up. So that’s what we do, and we do it in a funny way.

Q: “Raising Helen,” your other movie with Kate was also a mom-themed movie as well.

GM: I do a lot of chick flicks.

Q: I would say that you do them really well – you may have invented them. But what inspires you on these women themes?

GM: What inspires me? I’m a Scorpio. I’m Italian. I have a sister and I have daughters. I grew up in an apartment in New York where your grandmother and grandfather lived in the apartment and you are all bunched together. So I am very comfortable with women and I think they are the most interesting things in the world.

Q: How do you characterize your movies?

GM: Nobody flies and nobody explodes.

Q: What else are they about?

GM: Well, we deal with some tricky subjects in this movie that a lot of people don’t try to do and we got them in. We do them. And I deal with hopeful endings: that’s the key word. You end feeling good. You got to make a gag reel. I love the gag reel. The longest end credits in the history of movies, you will see a few of the gags and mistakes at the end, after the picture is over.

Q: Do the studios immediately embrace movies like this with more emotional content?

GM: No. You’ve got to fight them to make this happen. They told me when I did Beaches nobody wants to see a story about women, girls and friendship – nobody cares – it’s not a buddy picture. I said, ‘Don’t you understand women fight, yell at each other and say the worse things to each other and then an hour later they go shopping.’ [He laughed]. Men have a fight; they say one cross word they don’t talk for 20 years. Women are far more fascinating to me.

Q: What’s the biggest change for you making this film?

GM: The biggest change is that they all have cell phones. My seven-year-old grandchild knows how to work the internet. To get your kids to look up. I never go near the internet, it scares me. I’m very hip; we shot this movie with drones. I didn’t do it, my son shoots it. But I have six grandchildren and it is a whole different thing of raising kids today. They are so fast because they use the internet. There are four stories in this movie and the kids can follow it in a zip. They know all the characters and they register so much; it’s amazing. I can’t follow it half the time. But this movie I can follow. I lived it for a very long time.

Q: Technology has really changed our lives.

GM: Yes. We used to say no TV, now you say give me the phone.

Q: It seems like you truly enjoyed the experience of making “Mother’s Day.”

GM: You meet a lot of people when you are making movies, so whether it’s a hit or not you usually have a great time and meet people you are going to know the rest of your life. You get up five o’clock in the morning with these movies, so it’s nice to see people that you know. We opened this movie and the first kid in the movie is my seven-year-old granddaughter running around the hotel.

Q: Do you have tips or advice on getting an actress like Kate Hudson to be in your movie?

GM: You have to make friends with someone like Kate, first.

Q: Why is that?

GM: It has always been difficult to get these movies made. When my sister Penny [Marshall], who you know as Laverne, went to direct her first film they said they didn’t like women directors. They felt that a woman’s mind did not come up with ideas that appealed to a mass audience. That’s all Penny had to hear. The benchmark in movies is a movie that makes $100 million. Penny not only made one of those, she made two, “A League of Their Own,” and “Big.” I’m very proud of her; she was the first female director to break the $100 million mark. So you got to keep going and now you push that internet button and they give you start up money or something.

Q: I can see that you loved working with Kate on this. Do you have a fond memory of working with her actress-mother, Goldie Hawn? What’s your favorite movie that your mom, Goldie Hawn, made?

GM: Oh, yes. Her mom is an amazing lady. After “Overboard” we had a cast party and your mom said to me ‘Can I bring a friend to the party? She’s not in the movie.’ I said, ‘Sure, bring friends.’ Who did she bring – Elizabeth Taylor! [He laughed]. I was stunned. What a wonderful woman!

Q: Do you have anything else you want to add about the movie, “Mother’s Day?”

GM: I hope that you enjoy the film. It touches a lot of subjects. Everyone has problems, but I think you will come away and say ‘okay we have hope that we can solve the problem.’

The post Director Garry Marshall’s Special Mother’s Day Gift first appeared on Movie News & Reviews.

Active Voices: The Brandon Easton Interview

Active VoicesThe Creatives are heard again as Active Voices makes its Age of the Nerd and YouTube debut!
First up in our new home is Writer/Director Brandon Easton, who might be the busiest person we know. Not only will he be writing part of Marvel Comics Civil War II arc this year  (which happens to bring back a new version of a favorite 90’s character), but he also will penning Transformers: Deviations for IDW Publishing.
Never one to stand pat, Easton has just spent the last year as a staff writer for ABC’s much loved and lamented Marvel drama, Agent Carter. That’s on top of his Eisner nominated issue of Watson and Holmes as well as his well-received graphic novel Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven.
Let’s not forget he wrote, produced and directed 2014’s inspiring documentary Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century.  This is one creative with knowledge and experience like the deep side of the Pacific.
His take on the state of comics, television, movies is must listening. In this interview, Easton holds court on topics ranging from A to Z, or more precisely, from Batman to WWF Wrestling. Funny, thought provoking and relentlessly insightful, Easton makes Active Voices re-debut a thing to behold.
But now’s the time for you to find that out for yourself…

Active VoicesActive Voices on File: Brandon Easton’s comic book work includes Arkanium and Transformers: Armada for Dreamwave Productions, Shadowlaw, released in January 2012 to an immediate sell-out from Arcana/Platinum Studios for which he won the 2012 Glyph Award for Best Writer; Miles Away, a teen superhero series from Antarctic Press, and multiple titles for Lion Forge Comics, including a critically-acclaimed Andre the Giant graphic novel biography.

As a guest writer for New Paradigm Studios’Watson and Holmes (a reinterpretation of the Holmes mythos set in modern Harlem, NY) comic series for which he received a 2014 Eisner Award nomination for Best Single Issue or One Shot for issue #6. The Eisner Award is considered to be the “Academy Award” of the comic book industry. His work on Watson and Holmes also netted several Glyph Award wins including Story of the Year, Best Writer and the Fan Award. His screenwriting work includes Warner Bros. Animation’s 2011 ThunderCats TV reboot and Hasbro’s Transformers: Rescue Bots, as well as season 2 of the ABC TV series Agent Carter.

In 2014, Easton produced, directed and wrote the documentary Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century that highlights the inspirations, struggles and creations of a new crop of African-American speculative fiction scribes. Brave New Souls was screened at Eagle Con at Cal State LA, Stan Lee’s Comikaze Expo and is slated for multiple festivals and comic cons across the U.S.  Brandon regularly incorporates his life experience and knowledge of social science into his projects; delivering potent dramatic sequences built from the intersection of race, class and gender. Check out the trailer at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6p9hBVcGmc. Download the documentary at https://gumroad.com/l/VZMe or stream it via Amazon Instant.

Last year, Brandon was named as one of the eight finalists in the prestigious Disney/ABC Studios Writing Program where he was chosen from over fifteen-hundred applicants to receive a one-year position as a writer at the Disney company. In early 2016, Brandon was nominated for the 2nd annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics for Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven.. His latest project is writing Transformers: Deviations for IDW Publishing and Night Thrasher for Marvel Comics Civil War 2 arc.

 

Follow Brandon on Twitter: @BrandonEaston

Check out his podcast: http://writingforrookies.podcastpeople.com/

Listen to him and Brandon Thomas on THE TWO BRANDONS podcast on iTunes and like them on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/THETWOBRANDONS/

The post Active Voices: The Brandon Easton Interview appeared first on Age of The Nerd.

Exclusive Interview: Good Charlotte Make A Triumphant Return! New Album Set For Release This Summer!

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(PCM) After taking approximately a five year hiatus, rockers Good Charlotte are triumphantly making a return to the stage and are gearing up to drop their highly-anticipated new album “Youth Authority” on July 15! The band is currently in the midst of performing a string of small club dates to set the pace for what is sure to be a fairly hectic rest of the year!

The first of these intimate tour stops took place at the TLA in Philadelphia, PA and ironically enough it is a venue that holds an incredibly special place in the history of Good Charlotte. The band played one of their very first shows ever at this venue in the City Of Brotherly Love, and also the now defunct alternative radio station Y100, here in Philly was one of the very first radio stations to spins the band’s very first single “Little Things”.

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The current TLA show sold out in mere minutes and the venue was packed to capacity as fans who were lucky enough to score tickets were able to enjoy cherishing a milestone in the band’s history, as this show marked Good Charlotte’s first return to Philly since their initial hiatus. The fans were enthralled with the show for start to finish and as vocalist Joel Madden remarked for the stage “Pop Punk is not dead, it was only taking a little nap.”

The band immediately kicked things into high gear opening with their pulsing hit “The Anthem” before plowing through a solid set that spawned their entire discography. Fans were clamoring for songs off the band’s debut album and Good Charlotte were more than happy to oblige. We were thrilled to hear songs such as “My Bloody Valentine”, “Motivation Proclamation”, “Girls & Boys”, “Riot Girl” and “I Just Wanna Live” to name a few and the band appropriately closed out their set with our tongue-in-cheek favorite “Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous”.

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Good Charlotte appeared and sounded completely refreshed and even managed to throw two new songs from “Youth Authority” into the set with “Makeshift Love” and “40oz Dream”. Words can not even express how excited we are to check out the rest of this album and catch the band live again when they head out for a few dates on the Vans Warped Tour later this summer.

We had a chance to catch up with both Benji and Joel Madden of Good Charlotte to talk about the upcoming album, changes in the music industry, the generational appeal of their music and so much more!  When speaking about this intimate run of tour dates Joel Madden told us “At this point in our career we feel very genuine about what we do and we are only really kind of doing what we want to do, so I always say, let’s just play these shows that mean a lot to us because I don’t even know how many shows we have left in us. With the touring I say let’s just do the sh*t that really matters us, so we did these four shows and it just feels special every night”.

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Madden went on to tell us that what stood out during the recording process was “just the sheer love of us getting back together to make a record and the first song that came was a song called “Life Changes” and you can just feel the energy and that we all truly wanted to be back in that room together”.

You can listen to the full interview below:

Photography credit: Andrew Wendowski

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Catching Up With American Idol Winner Trent Harmon

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(PCM) The lights were dimmed for a final time and host Ryan Seacrest made one last dream come true, as Trent Harmon, 25, from Amory, MS, was named the 15th and final American Idol in the history-making series finale live from Dolby Theatre.

Harmon is the 15th Idol hopeful to win the prestigious American Idol title, joining the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scott McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candace Glover, Caleb Johnson and Nick Fradiani.

President Barack Obama kicked off the finale with a videotaped statement that paid tribute to the series and its impact on the nation. During the show, Season Four winner Carrie Underwood and Idol judge Keith Urban sang “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around”; judge Harry Connick, Jr. sang “What A Wonderful World” with New Orleans student Marley Fletcher; judge Jennifer Lopez performed her new single, “Ain’t Your Mama”; fan-favorite contestant William Hung sang the chorus of “She Bangs”; and in a surprise appearance, former judge Simon Cowell returned to join Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson in paying tribute to host Ryan Seacrest.

The finale also saw epic performances by the Top 10 finalists alongside Idol alumni superstars, including Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson plus Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery, Phillip Phillips, Candice Glover, Caleb Johnson, Nick Fradiani, Ace Young, Allison Iraheta, Amber Holcomb, Blake Lewis, Bo Bice, Brandon Rogers, Bucky Covington, Carly Smithson, Casey James, Chris Daughtry, Clark Beckham, Clay Aiken, Colton Dixon, Constantine Maroulis, Danny Gokey, Diana DeGarmo, Elliott Yamin, George Huff, James Durbin, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Justin Guarini, Katharine McPhee, Kellie Pickler, Kimberley Locke, Kree Harrison, LaToya London, Lauren Alaina, Melinda Doolittle, Pia Toscano, Sanjaya, Skylar Laine, Tamyra Gray and more as they returned to the stage that started it all to celebrate the Grand Finale.

We caught up with newly crowned American Idol Trent Harmon the morning after his big win to discuss his time on the show, the competition and just what he plans on doing next!

On who he would have loved to sing with on the finale

TRENT HARMON: Elton John

On what his plans are for his upcoming album

TH: I sing blue-eyed soul. I talked it over with Mr. Scott, and he said Justin Timberlake is thinking about making a country album. So, define country in 2016. I think it could be whatever you want it to be, so we’re going to try to make an album that country supporters would pick up. Country supporters, they go to shows, they go to festivals, they buy CDs, they download stuff. If you can make it in country, you can have a career.

On how he is feeling after the big win and it being such a highly emotional moment 

TH: Well, I’ve got sleep scheduled for next Friday at 2:00, but I really feel like it hasn’t sunk in yet. It hasn’t really sunk in because this morning when I hopped out of bed, I jumped in the shower, I started doing my warm ups and started practicing my song, and I realized that today I don’t have to do that anymore.

I’m kind of realizing that I can decompress a little bit at a time, and I don’t know how long it’ll take. It may take a week or a month before I really come down out of, I hate to say, like a PTSD, but I’m still kind of in that mode where I feel like at any moment I could get cut, but I can’t get cut anymore.

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On if he were surprised by his win and what he said to La’Porsha during their final hug on the finale stage

TH: When I auditioned in July, I didn’t expect to win, but I prepared to win at every facet of this competition.

I told La’Porsha no matter what name comes out of Ryan’s mouth, we’re going to hug until they separate us. I don’t care whose name gets called, Porsha, we just won a car, and you don’t win cars every day, so we’re going to be okay, Porsha.

On the hard work that went into being an American Idol contestant

TH: I wake up, go to bed, wake up in the middle of the night. If I am awake or asleep I am rehearsing. If I have two minutes to myself to do anything, I am in rehearsal mode. I didn’t know what I was doing, but that’s what it took. I was too dumb to know that I was in go mode all the time. But it paid off.

On when he found out he could do falsetto with his voice and old classic singers he is influenced by

TH: I just really learned that I could do things with my voice that I didn’t know I could do, probably, middle to the last few years of my college experience, so just in the last two to four years. I think I always heard the notes in my head while I’d be listening to Smokey Robinson and The Miracles or I’d be listening to The Temptations.

My grandma always played a lot of Temptations and a lot of Michael Jackson, Jackson 5, back in the day when I’d be at her house and we’d be cooking, and I would hear those notes in my head that I would want to sing, but I never tried to sing them, and one day they just jumped out of my mouth.

On what the song “Amazing Grace” means to him

TH: I keep “Amazing Grace” in my back pocket no matter where I go, whether it’s a Christian event that I’m at or if it’s not. If it’s just a secular event. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because I know the words to it or because the words mean something to just about anybody whether you have any religious beliefs or not. That song means something.

There’s a reason it’s called a classic. There’s a reason that all these songs that we do are called classics. I would consider that one a classic, too, and I’ve just sung it at so many different things that have meant so much to me; that one’s just special to me.

That was the first one that my mom said, “Hey Trent, sing this part right here.” And I sang it, and she said, “Well, can you switch over and sing this part right here?” And that was when she realized that I could sing harmony. When I was four or five years old, and she realized something that I didn’t even realize at that early of an age.

On what he was surprised to learn about himself during his journey on American Idol

TH: I’ve always thought to myself that if I could ever get to the point, there’s so many intangibles that are encompassed within this reality singing competition. It’s not so much singing, there’s so much that goes into it. I would say singing would be less than 10% of it. But I knew that I could hang in the singing department, but I didn’t know that I could do interviews.

Nobody has really coached on how to talk to people in a public setting, and so sometimes, like right now, I’m talking to you having a conversation, and I’ve never done this before in my life. That has really surprised me, and it surprised my parents too. They said Trent, you’ve talked to more people through interviews than you’ve talked to us in your whole 25 years of life. Who taught you how to do that?

On the most surreal moment of the entire Idol experience

TH: I think whenever I turned around and I saw my mom and dad and my sister and my puppy dog walk out onto the stage two weeks ago, it was strange because it was like, I’m out here. I know that I’m out here doing this, but when they walked on the stage, I was like wow. We looked good as a collective unit; as a family. We looked like we were doing stuff in the Harmon collective unit. I’m doing something for my family. So that was pretty surreal.

On advice he has received from past Idol contestants and winners

TH: I guess, thankfully, most of the Idols that I got to talk to, they appreciated. They said, “Man, you seem pretty genuine. Don’t ever, ever quit that. Don’t ever get out of that head. Don’t ever, ever quit that.” And they didn’t give me very much advice in the moment.

I was lucky enough to exchange numbers with a lot of people that I never thought I’d have their name in my phone book, and they said look here, text me. And I could tell that they meant it. They said text me at any time of the day or night, ask me a question.

I got to exchange numbers with Jordin Sparks, and Ruben Studdard. It was just surreal for them to reach out and say, hey man, you’re the last one. We want to help you any way that we can. And I think they mean it.

On a possible move to Nashville

TH:  I’m sure that I will float between Nashville and Mississippi and Arkansas for quite a while. I’ve been doing the float between two states for the last four or five years, and I’ve gotten pretty good at it if you manage your time wisely, but I’m down to live wherever I’m happy. If that happens to be in Nashville for the next few years, then I’ll live in Nashville. If that happens to be Belize, then I’ll live in Belize.

On his relationship to country music

TH: I was just telling Mr. Scott last night. I said, man I don’t think you fully realize how much country music I listen to because whenever I really got the opportunity to pick the song myself, 100% myself, I was doing country songs on the show.

Now that was only sprinkled in very, very rarely because we always get to pick our own songs, but there would be influence from other people as well, but I sang a couple Chris Stapletons, and at that point, I think it was fully realized that this guy is confusing enough as it is, he talks so country but then he sings like a soul singer, well now he’s actually singing country.

I’ve always enjoyed all the classics. I love Conway Twitty. I’ve always been a big Conway Twitty fan. I’m a big Elvis fan. Elvis did country. I’m a Ray Charles fan. Ray Charles made a country album. So that’s kind of a point in case right there.

Define what country is in 2016. I mean, Ray Charles kind of broke that statement a long time. Justin Timberlake’s working on a country album. So, I feel like with being able to sing multiple genres is going to help me moving forward to make a country album that would be palatable to a lot of different people.

On plans to co-write his album

TH: I am a songwriter, but that will be decided by the Powers That Be. I don’t always have to have the best idea coming from myself. I just want the best idea. So, we’ll have to see where it leads us.

On his redo performance of “Chandelier” and advice given to him by Sia

TH: Sia said that she wrote this song from a state of struggling with alcoholism and that if I had a family member that struggled with alcoholism that that would be a route that I could sing that song from. And while I did lose a family member this year that struggled with alcoholism, I tried to go down that path and it was just too morbid. It was too sad. I didn’t want to. I sang it from a happy state.

When I asked her, I said, can I do that, this is your song. She said this is your song. For 90 seconds, this is your song. You sing it however you want to sing it. And I don’t think she meant for that just to apply to “Chandelier.” I think she was telling me to take that forward for the rest of my life. Even though I might be doing a cover song at some point, don’t sing it just as from the same head that the person that wrote it or performed it and made it popular from. Pick something from it. Find a lyric in it.

My favorite lyric from the Parson James song that I sang last week was, “It’s enough of a fight just staying alive anyways,” and I told Parson that. I said, “Man, that’s my favorite line in the song,” and he said, “Really? That’s crazy.” You just find a line that pulls to you. Pulls on your heart strings, and you go with it.

On his love for God and his family and how it plays an emotional role in his performances

TH: First of all, if anyone has made it through what I consider, I’d say the only two jobs that I would consider to be tougher than making it through American Idol boot camp, which is what I have aptly named it after the show’s been over, would be a preacher and/or a soldier. That would be the only two jobs that I would consider to be harder than what we just completed.

But if you can go through what we just did and not believe in something—I happen to believe in God, and then I would pray. Had a really simple prayer, I would say, especially when I had mono because I was pretty quarantined from the rest of the cast. I would say well, it’s just me and you. It’s just me and you God, and I kept that on my brain at all times when I didn’t have anybody else.

I didn’t have my parents out here with me, and it was just me, so I feel like if you could make it through this competition without believing in something, I wouldn’t say I’m impressed, I would say I’m kind of scared because I don’t know what you are. You’re super human, because I couldn’t have done it without him. That’s for sure.

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