Josiah Leming 'excited' about record deal, bashes 'American Idol'
By Christopher Rocchio, 05/27/2008
Now that the cat is officially out of the bag on Josiah Leming's recording and publishing contract with Warner Bros. Records, the American Idol seventh-season hopeful is ready to move forward with his musical career.
"I signed my deal with Warner Bros. about a month and a half ago, and I'm glad to finally announce it. The songs are written, the arrangements are done, and right now it's time to work with the producers," Leming told MTV News in a Tuesday report. "I'm so excited. I'm just beaming inside right now. Since I signed the deal, it's been a lot of wait, wait, wait. Now it's finally come. I'm in this awesome studio, working on songs... It's amazing. This is everything I ever wanted."
"I wasn't happy at the time. I wanted more than anything to make it," Leming told MTV News about his Idol ouster. "As everyone clearly saw, I poured my heart and soul into the process and into the competition. But looking back now, things could not have gone any better. It's like this tiny little door shut and this door to the world opened. So it's amazing."
Despite being "happy" about his time on the show, Leming still took the opportunity to label Idol as "glorified karaoke."
"I did it and it was great. I love those people there. They were great to me, and it gave me a great kick-start to my career. But the fact is, it's glorified karaoke -- they pick people with pretty faces and the pretty voices, and they don't let them write their own songs," he explained to MTV News. "They pick these good-looking people with voices, and they have them sing these songs that other people have written. And therefore, it lacks passion, it lacks emotion and it lacks the things that set an artist off from being good to being great. So that's my feeling on it."
Leming dropped out of school at 17-years-old and subsequently began living in his car, which he did for 10 months to a year while traveling the country and playing various shows.
"I've always felt like once I made it -- once I got signed, once things were going well -- that I'd have problems writing music because a lot of my music deals with the anxieties of having nothing and the depression and the sadness," he told MTV News. "But it's still there. It's been great, because I've actually been able to relax more, so more of those feelings can come out. I've been writing lots of songs lately."
He auditioned for Idol's seventh season last summer in Atlanta and wowed the judges with "To Run," a song he wrote. Leming made it through to the Hollywood Round and continued to impress the judges with both his vocal ability and piano-playing skills on "Grace Kelly."
However he faltered badly during his final Hollywood Round performance when he was ill-prepared and sleep deprived, singing a rendition of "Stand By Me" with no musical accompaniment. Idol judge Simon Cowell blamed the poor performance on Leming being "way overconfident."
"There's something in me -- call it ambition, call it arrogance, call it cockiness -- it doesn't bother me because it's necessary to my music. I can't be in that middle pile. I don't want to be in that middle pile. I don't want to be just another musician with a record label that's putting out albums that are just okay," he told MTV News. "It's got to be great, because this is everything to me. This is the reason I set on the road, this is the reason I dropped out of school. Everything has led up to this point. This is like the climax of what has been the last 19 years. It's finally all come to a peak. This is more than I could ever ask for. It's ridiculous."
Leming said he's ready to put his Idol experience behind him and hopes it doesn't define his music career.
"I'm ready to put it in the past," he told MTV News. "So one of the feelings I have now is a little bit anxiety -- moving past that, because I'm not a homeless kid that was on American Idol. I'm an actual songwriter and a singer, and I did that before American Idol ever existed. So music is not something that I was rejected from just because I didn't make it on American Idol. Music is something that lives inside of me. It always has."
Leming said the key to his musical success will be emitting emotion.
"The emotion has to come through in a song. That's more important to me than anything," he told MTV News. "That's more important than selling a million copies. I believe that it helps people -- a good song with the right emotion can really pull people through hard times."
The 18-year-old Morristown, TN native is currently in Los Angeles working on his debut, which is being produced by Nick Launay and electronic producer David Koste, according to MTV News.
As for what he's doing with the undisclosed amount he received for signing with Warner Bros., Leming said he hasn't "gone crazy" and has mostly spent it so far on "gas and McDonalds."
"I've been helping my parents out," he told MTV News. "I bought my dad a brand new truck and I'm going to get the floors replaced at home."