'American Idol' runner-up Clark Beckham: I'm in a relationship
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/19/2015
Clark Beckham finished American Idol's fourteenth season as the runner-up, losing to Nick Fradiani.
Nick, a 29-year-old musician from Guilford, CT, received more home viewer votes than Clark, a 22-year-old street performer from Whitehouse, TN, from the final performance show.
Clark was known throughout the competition from singing his soulful, bluesy and jazzy songs he felt best represented him despite criticism from mentor Scott Borchetta and suggestions from the judges. He stayed true to himself and was praised for having fantastic vocals week to week.
During a recent conference call with reporters, Clark talked about his experience on the show and what's next for him. Below is the concluding portion of Clark's interview. To read more, click here and here.
How has being a musician impacted your dating life up until this point in your life? Even though there's no one now, but previously, how has that impacted your dating life?
Clark Beckham: Great question. I've never really thought about it. A personal question, and I don't mind that at all. Thank you for asking it. Obviously I guess it's the initial -- and it can be an attractive thing -- "Oh, cool, he's a musician, that's cool." And that could be an initial attraction.
But sometimes I had someone that I was dating and she was worried, she was like, "I'm afraid that you're going to choose music ahead of me. I'm afraid that music's going to be a bigger part of your life than I am." And it's hard.
It's an interesting balance that I never thought about, but music really is -- and I don't know if this is weird to say or what -- but it's just the reality, it's just how I feel. Music really is, it's like I'm in a relationship with her, "her" being music. I'm just obsessed with it.
This is weird, as I'm referring to music as a "her," but just follow me with it. If we can be cliche and I guess romantic here, I really am in love with her and I can't imagine a life without music. And sometimes I guess maybe that, it can either get in the way of other relationships.
But I really believe with all my heart that when it is right, when I do have the right person in my life in that way, that it won't be conflicting, that it will elevate, that it will help. And I guess I'm waiting for that to happen, for the right person.
Tell me a little bit about what you want your sound to be and what your album will be like.
Clark Beckham: Yes, it's hard to articulate in words, I guess. The best way I can do it is sit down with you, me on guitar and play some original stuff for you and talk you through that way. But pop just stands for popular music, and also AC, like adult contemporary, like John Mayer stuff, that's where I see myself going.
I also see myself going along the trail that Bruno Mars, he's been like a trailblazer in this new, "Uptown Funk" and this new type of music that's wildly successful and people love it. I think I'll make music that's not Bruno Mars, but it's absolutely along that path that he's made.
That's what I hope to do when I make music. But I guess Robin Thicke, John Mayer, Bruno Mars, and of course I could probably name countless others. That's the kind of vibe I'm wanting, current popular music but with heavy R&B influences.
Of all the things you've learned on the show and all the advice you've gotten, can you share with me something technical that you will now take forward to implement into your style of music?
Clark Beckham: Sure. Vocally, I've learned that TV music is hard because you sing into the mic and then typically in an artist's career they have two ways of being heard. They have when you're on tour and you're playing for people in concerts and you're going through a sound system, and that's coming out through big speakers live, right there, and that's what you hear.
Or, you have a song come out on the radio, in a recording studio, when you have recording equipment and you produce it, and put reverb on it, and you're in a studio, and you have the best sound come out and produced that way, and mastered, and all that stuff.
Then TV, it's like the live thing, but the audio goes through and goes into the board, it's compressed, and then it shoots up into a satellite, and then it's compressed there, and shoots back down and goes out to everybody's TVs. So, you get a different sound.
It's much, much, much less forgiving, so every note that's just barely sharp, or barely flat, is very obvious in those situations on TV, because of that compression. And then it's compressed again into YouTube, when people go back to watch the YouTube videos, and then they watch it in 360P and a low quality possibly through their phone speakers.
So, it's quite a different sound when it goes through all of those filters and it's compressed and compressed, and listened to that way. So, really I've learned to just, I think, to really be conscious of pitch even more than I ever have. I think that's something that I've been able to get better at.
You mentioned all of your faith and your changes in your style of singing. Quickly, how have you transformed as an artist being on American Idol?
Clark Beckham: I think I've transformed because I think I sing, instead of what [Keith Urban] said on the show to me, I think I sing more in the moment. I think I'm able to get more into the song emotionally. It's really, really, really difficult to get deep into a song in a vulnerable place where you find yourself.
I can get in that moment when I'm by myself in my room just playing guitar, just me and the walls, no one around, but then you have to get in that place on national television for a 90 second song, with cameras, with the judges, with the lights, with the cameras, with fog, and the stage.
And a lot of times in the show, when we just found out that, we made it through and we're running up on stage, and the music starts and then you're singing. So, that is extremely, extremely difficult.
But I have to say after this 10 month process that's been for me, because I auditioned in July, last July, in this whole process, that's something that I've been able to do better is get into the music and get into character, if you will, of the song and do that more effectively.
During the final performance show, you sang "Ain't No Sunshine," and I think we saw you blushing when Jennifer Lopez asked you who you were singing for. I was just curious if that performance was for anyone special?
Clark Beckham: Yes, I remember her asking that, and I was like, "Oh Lord, please do not ask that." But it's interesting because no, there's no one that I was singing that specifically to, and there's no one in my life in that way, in a romantic way.
But it's funny because everyone is like, "Oh, who are singing to? Do you have someone?" The song's about the person being gone, so I don't think it relates to if there someone in my life right now, because I guess maybe it is appropriate because there is no one and the song's about her not being there.
So, I guess no one specific, no, but I just tried my best and I think I was really able to get into that heartbreak and really deliver that. But, no, there was no one specific that I was thinking of.
Any closing remarks, Clark?
Clark Beckham: Just, thank you, guys. I'm glad I got to talk to you all. Again, ultimately I'm very proud of the performances that I've done on the show, and I don't regret a single note that ever came out of me, whether it's on my guitar, piano, or my voice, or any word I said, or anything I ever said on the show.
I think I depicted myself accurately as an artist and what kind of music I love and want to make, and I'm staying true to myself on the show, and I plan on doing that for music's sake. Again, I just thank all you guys for being here and asking me these questions and keeping me thinking. I'm just very appreciative and grateful.