Tate Stevens: I took a goldfish for a walk a lot on 'The X Factor'
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/24/2012
Tate Stevens was crowned The X Factor's second-season winner during the Fox reality singing competition's live finale on Thursday night.
Tate, a 37-year-old from Raymore, MO, competed throughout the season as one of the acts in L.A. Reid's "Over 25s" category, walking away with a $5 million recording contract. Tate won The X Factor after he had received the most home viewer votes cast immediately following Wednesday night's final performance show, which had featured the Top 3 acts each singing a solo and a duet with a famous singer or group in addition to an encore performance of a highly-praised song from earlier in the season.
Carly Rose Sonenclar, a 13-year-old from Mamaroneck, NY who was an artist in judge Britney Spears' "Teens" category, finished as the runner up. Third place went to one of Simon Cowell's "Groups" acts, Fifth Harmony. Judge Demi Lovato didn't have any acts in the finale.
During a Friday conference call with reporters, Tate talked about his The X Factor victory and overall experience. Below is the concluding portion of Tate's call. Click here to read the first half.
Do you have any original songs?
Tate Stevens: Yeah, I sure do. Yep, I sure do. And hopefully -- I'd like to write half the record, you know? I'd like to at least write half the record, on my first album anyway. I think it's better, but we'll see. We'll see what happens and what the label thinks and how things play out.
Did you wish you could've worked with Britney, Demi or Simon at all? Do you think it would've changed the game at all for you this season?
Tate Stevens: I don't know. That's hard to say, honestly. I really don't know. Yeah, I have no idea.
Are there any artists you would like to sing with on your debut album?
Tate Stevens: I think on my first album, I'd like to try and get it out and show myself and then later on, yeah, start collaborating. There's a huge list of people I'd like to collaborate with.
Was there anything you learned about yourself over the course of the season?
Tate Stevens: Definitely. There's a lot of things I learned about myself. From the beginning, I just -- I love performing. I love everything [about it]. But I didn't know how much I loved doing it on a big scale like this show is.
And I realized that that's what I want to do. I knew all along, but it really became clear during this competition. It was really like, "Yeah, this is definitely what I need to do. This is definitely who I am and what I want to do." So, yeah, and there's a lot of other ways how I've grown as a person too.
You're now the brand ambassador forThe X Factor and your success or failure is going to really reflect on the show to some extent. So do you feel any pressure to really perform as a recording artist to sort of give back or help build the brand that really put you on the map for so many people?
Tate Stevens: Definitely, and I'm glad to carry [that pressure] though. They honestly changed my life. They changed my family's life, and this is a huge opportunity, and I want to do well anyway. Who wants to go out and not do anything? That's not why you do this, but yeah, I would love to carry the torch and take that X Factor brand and do well with it. That's my goal.
Did you feel any sense of discomfort or awkwardness when adapting to sort of a pop mainstream show while still trying to be yourself -- a country artist -- in your performances?
Tate Stevens: Yeah, definitely. BecauseThe X Factor, it was honestly, it wasn't geared towards country at all. It is a very pop and urban show. So yeah, I mean, there were some times that I was like, "Oh, this is definitely" -- Simon, I did a Bon Jovi song, and he said, "It's kind of like taking a goldfish for a walk. You just can't do it."
And so there were a lot of times when I thought that, "Here I am taking a goldfish for a walk," but you know, it all panned out in the end. So, it was worth it.
How do you get the confidence, even if you like singing, to get up onstage and perform in front of a lot of people? Do you have any advice for those people who would be afraid to do that?
Tate Stevens: Yeah, definitely. There's a whole lot of tricks that you can do, but you just act like that they're not -- a lot of people say that they're not there. I don't do that. I really -- I think you feed off the energy of the people that are watching, that you're performing for. So, I don't know. Just get out and do it.
If that's what you love to do and that's what you want to do, you've gotta try it, you know? And you might fail a few times. I sure failed my share, but you gotta get out there and do it.
What would you say was the most valuable life lesson you learned from L.A. Reid while you were on the show?
Tate Stevens: He told me during the first week or two of the show, he said, "Stars don't have confidence issues." And he said, "You need to get rid of all those confidence issues that you have. Be very confident in who you are and what you do, and people will see that and it will actually shine." So I tried to do that, and I'm trying. I'm still trying when performing, but I think I've gotten a lot better.
Is there a song that you didn't get to perform on the show that you wish you had or wanted to perform?
Tate Stevens: I don't think so. There were a couple songs that I thought I kind of wanted to see if they'd work, but I don't know. I think everything played out kind of great. (Laughs)
How did you bond with all the contestants backstage?
Tate Stevens: We all got along. They were all great people. I mean, I really believe that everyone -- we just all got along. Everyone was cool. And the younger ones, I don't know. I just talked to them like I talked to my kids sometimes and gave them advice and little tips if they were down or whatever.
And I don't know, nothing I wouldn't normally do any other time. But yeah, like I said, we all got along great and we had a lot of fun. And I like cooking, so I cooked for everybody a lot.
It was obvious you missed your wife and family very much during your time on The X Factor. Was there ever a time in the competition you were so homesick you didn't think you could continue competing?
Tate Stevens: Oh definitely, definitely. We had been here like three weeks, and I was just like, "I don't think this is -- I don't know if I can do this."
And my wife really, she talked to me and she's like, "This is an opportunity that will never come again. You can do this. Just stick with it and we'll get through it. It's not like it's going to be forever. So just hang on and keep doing great, and you'll be fine."
Above is the concluding portion of Tate's conference call with reporters. Click here to read the first half.