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Atlantic City interview 9/6/07

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Melinda Doolittle
Idol Chat

As the ‘A.I.’ tour continues, melinda doolittle looks to the future

by Lori Hoffman

Your American Idol is coming to town at Boardwalk Hall this Saturday. The season six winner, bubbly 17 year-old Jordin Sparks, and her smooth, beat-boxing runner-up, Blake Lewis, topline a diverse group that includes the amazing vocal prowess of melinda doolittle, the belting style of LaKisha Jones, the good looks and sound of Chris Richardson, the likable baldy Phil Stacy and the teenager making the most of his unexpected 15 minutes of fame, 17-year-old Sanjaya Malakar.

Speaking of Ms. doolittle, never has a third place finish looked so good. When she was booted off American Idol in favor of the youth-oriented, teen dream duo of Sparks and Lewis, Simon Cowell expressed his disappointment. Passionate Idol bloggers peppered the digital highway with pros and cons. The Fox TV show’s fan base was divided on the issue, with the younger voters blasting doolittle for her old-fashioned style, while other Idol fans were outraged. In their minds, the hands-down best singer — perhaps the most technically proficient and talented singer in the history of the competition — would have to settle for third place.

However, as last season’s fourth place finisher Chris Daughtry has demonstrated, winning certainly isn’t everything when it comes to American Idol. Daughtry’s fans were equally outraged about his finish, and perhaps that outrage helped fuel the success that his self-titled debut album has earned. And, it was absolutely clear that his talent earned him respect and excellent reviews from a rock music community that couldn’t care less about the popular reality show.

Who will be left standing when the American Idol tour is finished later this month? Sparks and Lewis are already working on their debut albums, looking to release them later this year.

From the road in Pittsburgh, a confident melinda doolittle checks in with AC Weekly. The former back-up singer says she is enjoying her summer on the road while planning her post-Idol career.

Reading about the tour, it sounds like you are the den mother of this group.

I’m the oldest one, so I think that plays into it a little bit. They call me ‘Mama.’ Other than that, we all help each other out.

What song are you having the most fun performing?

I’m having a lot of fun performing “Proud Mary.” I get to be Tina Turner for a little while. Sanjaya makes it fun for me too. That’s the duet we do.

Give us an update on your post-Idol plans. Have you been signed? Are you picking out songs?

I have not signed with anyone. I am picking out songs right now. I’ve been writing some, and people have been sending in some really, really great songs. I’m definitely going to be doing a recording, but I haven’t chosen who I’ll sign with. There are some opportunities I definitely like and am looking into.

What type of album can we expect? R&B, gospel?

It is old school meets the new school — funky, bluesy, soulful. The lyric content will be life stories. God is definitely a part of my life, love is a part of my life story ... relationships, friendships, all of that. Everything that goes into everyday life will be on the album so people can relate to it.

With what happened with Chris Daughtry last year, does that give you hope that coming in third might be to your advantage?

It definitely gives me hope. I feel like the right thing happened this year. I think Jordin was supposed to win. I love that I came in third. I’m excited about what’s going to happen in the future.

Will this be your first time coming to Atlantic City?

It will be my very first time. I’m excited.

I hope you get a chance to go on the Boardwalk. That’s a must if it’s your first time.

Really? I’m going to have to work on that.

You have your own fans, melinda’s Back-ups. Have you met any of them?

I’ve been able to meet quite a few of them. They are so amazing. They send me flowers every show, and they have been donating bed nets for Malaria No More [the Idol charity that doolittle has been supporting]. They have donated over 1,000 bed nets so far.

You have met so many people thanks to Idol. Have any of them totally blown you away?

That happened with Quincy Jones; I cried the entire time. Also, before the tour I got to accompany the First Lady to Africa. Not only did I get to meet her, but members of the secret service. I took way too many pictures with them.

I understand you are a sports’ fan and you got to hang out with Charles Barkley.

Yes. Oh, my God. When I sang at the [Cleveland Cavaliers] game, there were a lot of people coming to my seat to get autographs. Charles Barkley has a bodyguard that came and got me to watch the game with him [in a private box]. I was in there with Kenny Smith, Reggie Miller [and] Charles Barkley, just chillin’.

Where do you expect to be this time next year?

Hopefully, on the road singing, promoting an album. As along as I can sing for a living I’m a happy camper.

This article really made me smile.  But despite what Melinda said, I still think she should have won, not Jordin.  And all the rest of the third-place finishers are not good at all (Elliott's probably ok but nowhere near Melinda).  Melinda is the only amazing singer to finish third.  I really hope she signs to a label soon...she probably has tons of offers that she can't make a decision yet.  :)

I agree Erin. :)
I'm so glad she's taking her time, and really considering who she'll sign with. She is a very intelligent woman, and will make the right choice for herself.
What I am completely THRILLED about is her answer to "where do you see yourself a year from now?"
Melinda, on a tour of her very own, singing her OWN songs?!?!?!??!?!??!?!?! :faint

Thank you, Stacia!  It's good to see a new interview again!

Thank you Stacia! What a wonderful, uplifting, give-the-gal-the-props-she-deserves interview! And the nice mention of "Melinda's Backups"(tm)!  What a beautiful interview! That was the day after she met us!


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