Zoiks! Online recently conducted an interview with WE ARE THE FALLEN frontwoman and "American Idol" powerhouse vocalist Carly Smithson. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Zoiks! Online: What were you doing between "American Idol" and WE ARE THE FALLEN?
Carly: Writing my behind off and basically just getting to this point. I had a vision and I had a goal and I was just breaking through to get to that place. I had a conversation with my husband; there were some offers that were made to me that were kind of an easier road that were more pop-oriented and it just wasn't who I am. I've made a record before, I've been down that road before and I knew that this was kind of point in my life that was going to be make or break. After being on the biggest TV show in the world that's how you're solidifying yourself for your life. For me it was really important to make songs that I wanted to sing forever. I didn't feel that anything anybody else was putting my way was anything I'd be interested in. So I went to my manager and bitched up a storm and was all upset, nobody understands, I want to do music that's dramatic, etc., and they're all telling me it's not going to work. He said, "Well, just go write it yourself. You're capable, go write it." So I did. I went to Atlanta and I started writing, then I came back to L.A., got an apartment and I just locked myself inside it. I came up with "Bury me Alive", which was our first single. I came up with another song, "St. John", which wasn't completed, but I had the lyrical idea. Literally a couple weeks later I met Ben Moody [WE ARE THE FALLEN/ex-EVANESCENCE guitarist]. It was just a crazy experience. I think you just kind of have to fixate on a goal where nothing else matters and nothing else is good enough and that's kind of what I did. I had a goal and I just decided to myself that nothing else was good enough and if I didn't achieve that it was ok. You also, after "Idol", have to make peace with yourself that if shit hits the fan you're OK with it. I, ultimately, was taking a choice to go down a rockier road, no pun intended, but I have comfort with the fact that it could have gone horribly wrong and I'd end up with nothing, but thank God it didn't and ended up with the record of my dreams.
Zoiks! Online: Did you have any reservations about joining Ben Moody knowing that no matter what you do or how different you are, you're going to be compared to [EVANESCENCE singer] Amy Lee, at least for awhile?
Carly: That question, I have to rephrase what you said. I wasn't very familiar with it; I've become familiar with it now. I set out to create a record that I wanted for myself. Growing up I listened to opera and stuff like that, but I also listened to rock music. It's just a genre of music whether it's a male singing or a female singing. I mean if I sang a 30 SECONDS TO MARS song people would be saying it fucking sounded like EVANESCENCE. All that I try to do is write for myself. I wrote "Bury Me Alive" before I even met Ben Moody. Did I have any preconceived ideas? No, because I wasn't familiar with their past until I got heavily involved with Ben Moody, then I understood what happened in the past. No, I just saw a great songwriter and I knew in that night in meeting him he explained everything he had done. He was actually a friend of the roommate of my friend, so it had nothing to do with being introduced to him, it was just a coincidence. I actually met Ben and Marty (O'Brien, bass) first and Marty wasn't in EVANESCENCE, so the band really had nothing to do with EVANESCENCE until John (LeCompt) and Rocky (Gray) came in a couple weeks later. Then we kind of announced the band and then I started really understanding what the past of the members were, but what people still have to understand is that's not the past of all the members, some of us actually have nothing to do with EVANESCENCE. But I honestly had no clue about their past.
Zoiks! Online: Do you feel the need to separate yourself from "Idol" or is it something you embrace?
Carly: I embrace "American Idol" as a show and an experience. I try to separate myself now from the performance and the musical side, because I don't feel like that is who I am. I don't think it's like who anybody is that auditions for the show. I think the biggest misunderstanding is, I get asked in interviews all the time, how do you see your music different now from your music on "Idol". I have to remind people that on "American Idol" that wasn't my music. My music now is what I wrote from my heart and from my gut. My music on "American Idol" was somebody else's music. It's a karaoke show and a TV show as well, very edited. Did I enjoy my experience? Absolutely. The only thing I didn't enjoy was that minute in thirty seconds live on camera. A lot of the songs weren't something that I would have chosen in a perfect world. It's a very limited universe when you're on "American Idol". You have a list to choose from and a lot of the times the songs were pop songs that I wasn't even familiar with or passionate about. I feel like when you're performing you have to be very, very passionate. I don't try to distance myself from the show; I just try to distance myself from the music. I don't want people to feel that is in any way who I am as an artist, because as a rock person it is very difficult to really show yourself on a TV show like that, because rock artists don't even clear their songs half the fucking time for the show (laughs). Pop artists I would say, nine times out of ten I'd say this is exactly who I am, but for anybody else I wouldn't say that the show really caters to you. I loved my experience, I love all of the people that worked on the show, and they taught me so much. If you ever want a boot camp to the entertainment industry, it's right there. They were nothing but nice and I've kept in touch with a lot of the producers that work on the show. They've become very good friends. Yeah, I learned a lot and got to have a wonderful experience. I got to do an arena tour for a couple of months after being on TV for the first time. As well, financially, as a musician it's very difficult to follow your dreams and "Idol" gives you that financial stability where you can actually leave your job, move to L.A. and start something for yourself and that's something that I needed for so long. I finally got to that place where "Idol" looks after you and you tour. You have a great foundation of money to be able to go and solely work on music. That's something that is priceless; it's just great.
Read the entire interview from Zoiks! Online.