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Interview: James Durbin
Saturday, January 11, 2014

Not many artists have the opportunity to display their talents to an audience of millions on national television, but for those that do, it's a life changing career move. James Durbin competed on season 10 of the wildly popular singing competition American Idol and finished in 4th place. Ever since then, James has been taking his career to new heights, gaining new fans, and putting out some pretty great music.

I was lucky enough to have James take time out of his day to answer a few questions for me before he got ready to head off on his first tour of 2014.

Check out my interview with James below

What made you want to pursue a career in music?

The first time I set foot on stage in front of an audience. That was the game changer. I was 9 or 10 years old, singing in my older sisters school musical.

Who would you site as your main musical inspirations?

The Beatles.

How was the audition process for American Idol? What are some things that have to be done that they don't always show to the viewing audience?

There are about 5 pre screening audition processes before you get to the televised judges rounds. And by that time it's nowhere near a stadium full of people. More like a ballroom.

What's your most memorable moment from being on American Idol?

Having an almost limitless production. If I had an idea, I would map it out, stage plots, where & when the pyro would happen, fire, drum line, Zakk Wylde. Those were all my ideas. I'm very blessed that the producers believed in my visions.

Do you have any advice for those who are considering auditioning for American Idol?

Know who you are. Long before you even go to an audition & put yourself through a grueling 32 1/2 hours of sitting in line with thousands of singers. If you think you're gonna go in there and show them all the genres & styles you sing? Don't. Be you. Sing what you imagine singing for the rest of your life. And don't try to sound like someone else. Be you.

What's an average day for you like? Do get recognized when you go out in public and how much of your day do you dedicate to music (on average)?
I pick around at the guitar a good half of the day. Luckily for me, my wife is a songwriter too & she really gets it. I definitely get recognized all over the place. It doesn't keep me from being human haha. But for the most part I like being a homebody.

I know you recently started your first tour of 2014 on January 7th. What would you say is some of your favorite things about touring?
Getting to play these new songs. And meeting my fans. That's the most important part.

What made you decide to choose "Parachute" as the first single from your upcoming album "Celebrate"?
"Parachute", I feel, is a very accessible song. It's catchy. Easy to remember. Well written & produced incredibly. It's a fun song to perform too.

What was the process of recording "Celebrate" like? Was the recording experience any easier or more comfortable for you since you previously went through the recording process with your first studio album "Memories of a Beautiful Disaster"?

I had time on my side. With "Memories" I had 2 1/2 weeks to make the record. The entire record! That was gnarly. Thankfully I've gotten to take my time. I'm on a label, WindUp Records, who really believes in my potential & hung on for the songwriting extravaganza we went on making "CELEBRATE". Over all we had a little over a year to write & record.

How would you describe your writing process? Is it hectic or does everything come to you easily?

It really depends on what side of the bed you wake up on. Some days are killer & everything flies out of our brains and into a perfect winning song. And some days...nothing.

What motivates you on a day to day basis to keep taking your career to new heights?

I was given the opportunity to compete on national television, which is then broadcast all over the world. THE WORLD!! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! I look back at that & know that I can never give up. Millions of people dream for this their entire lives and I'm one of them. Living The Dream. It's gratitude that keeps me on track & keeps me moving up.

What has been the biggest lesson that you've learned thus far from being in the music industry?

Record sales are roughly 6% of an artists income. That's really not a lot. You've gotta get out there. Network. Tour. Meet you fans. Melt their faces & their hearts. Make sweet merch. And know your audience.

What advice would you give aspiring singer/songwriters who may be hesitant to get into the industry (who aren't interested in auditioning for American Idol)?

Write. Write. Write. Perfect your craft. Be you. Don't try to be somebody else cuz we already have plenty of them. Get on Garage Band & make some bad demos. And most importantly, know how the industry works before you decide to get into it. You'll be surprised. And if you're still up for it after that? Welcome to the club.

Be sure to keep up with James on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Also, be sure to pickup his upcoming album Celebrate when it's released on April 8th