'American Idol' runner-up Clark Beckham: One judge gave me the best advice I'll take with me
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/15/2015
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 Tuesday night's 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 Thursday conference call with reporters, Clark talked about his experience on the show and what's next for him. Below is a portion of Clark's interview. To read what he had to say to Reality TV World, click here. Check back with us soon for more.
What was your favorite moment last night?
Clark Beckham: My favorite moment was playing with Michael McDonald no doubt. He's just a legend and someone I looked up to on the piano and vocally and off the stage as well. He was just a great -- it was all confirmed meeting him. He's just a great guy. Humble and a great example for me. I want to be like him in many ways, but that was absolutely a moment and a performance I'll never forget for as long as I live.
What's one piece of advice from the judges you're going to take with you?
Clark Beckham: Probably what [Keith Urban] said. I think he said it a couple times and he said, you know, something to the effect of, "Don't sing and don't play what you can. Play and sing what you must." I think that's the best advice from the judges that I got.
What's your favorite memory with Nick? You spent your entireAmerican Idol journey with him.
Clark Beckham: Oh, man! Oh gosh. So many. So many great memories with Nick. I think, well you know, when it was the Final 3, Jax and Nick and me, we had an Adobe Theater, we had our own dressing rooms -- at least the girls and guys were separate. And because there was one girl, Jax had her own room and I had my own room as well.
And just the conversations we had there, you know, like, "Hey man, I think you're going to do great." And just the conversations when it was right at the end, you know, cameras were off, doors were closed, just me and him in the room and those conversations that we had, just the rawness.
And I could tell, I could attest, Nick is -- I'm so happy for him. I'm so glad that he is being lifted up in this way, because Nick is exactly who he is on and off camera. He's exactly the same person, truly.
I mean, what he said, the things that he said right before the announcement was made -- when [Ryan Seacrest] asked us if we had something to say to each other -- he said those things to me off-camera and on-camera with the same sincerity.
And he's a very sincere, genuine person, and I could not be happier with how everything went down. I have so many memories with him, you know, we all called him "Grandpa." That was because he was the oldest contestant on the show. He's 29 and we were younger and we were calling him "Grandpa." I don't know. (Laughs) A lot of great memories and more to come.
Danny Gokey said he had so much respect for you for how open you've been about your faith on this journey. Could you share a little bit with us about your faith?
Clark Beckham: Yeah, you know, my faith has never been something I want to push. It's never been a publicity card -- ever. But it's never something I wanted to hide, you know? It's something that doesn't contradict anything I'm doing or anything I want to do.
God is the One who has made me who I am, and it's a great service to be successful. I owe it all to Him, and you know, He's such a [big] part of my life, I just can't help it, He's going to come out in conversations and anything, just like if you're married or if you love someone, how they're going to come out in conversation.
You're going to talk about that person. That's how it is with me and I owe it all to Him. He's led me this far and I know He's not going to leave me where I am now. So, I love the Lord and that's really what it comes down to.
What was the process in choosing your coronation song "Champion." Did you feel comfortable singing that? Did you have any trouble singing that song? Did you have any choice in the matter?
Clark Beckham: Well, you know, for the whole season, they were looking for songs for us, and we had the opportunity to have some of the greatest writers in the world write for us. And I was looking for a song that was appropriate that could be a victory chant after this long marathon journey that this American Idol experience has been.
It was a victory chant but also a song that worked for the World Cup, because the winner, [his] single, is also going to be featured a lot in the Women's World Cup. So we were looking for that. We were looking for a lot of things.
Musically, it's not the style that I'm looking forward to doing in the future, as far as an artist, but I think it was just the perfect song. I love the lyrics.
I really, really love the lyrics of the song and the message, and I think it was a perfect song for what they were looking for and what was going to be used for the Women's World Cup and also for just the potential victory of the competition and for the final victory lap -- the final finishing chant at the end of this long marathon of a journey.
So what type of direction exactly are you planning to take your music? Something like Danny Gokey?
Clark Beckham: Not necessarily. I believe that -- I want to do, I guess, what you call secular music. Sometimes people can get scared of that word "secular," but "secular" just means outside of the church. I believe in God and he influences everything I do. I'm not a Christian artist. I'm an artist and I'm a Christian. That's how I would describe it.
My faith informs everything I do whether it be how I talk to people, how I dress, like with everything you do. Through the glory of God, eat and drink, and it's everything! So that's how I see it. But yeah, I believe I'm not called to do Christian music or Gospel music -- although that's been a huge part of my growing up.
I love it and it's needed and it's helped me many time -- Christian music, worship music and Gospel music -- I love it. But as far as my music, I think I'm called to writing and singing what you'd call secular music and pop music.
What will you play on the tour?
Clark Beckham: Oh, I will play everything they let me get my hands on! (Laughs) No doubt.
Were there any songs you wanted to sing on the show that you didn't get a chance to?
Clark Beckham: Yeah, well, we sang a lot of songs by the end of it. If you think about it, there were tons of songs we got to sing. But, of course there's some others.
One song I really loved playing but maybe wouldn't have worked in the 90-second format snippet TV clip of American Idol that we have to really take all the songs down into -- a couple songs: "Gravity" by John Mayer is one of my all-time favorite songs.
I just really relate to that song and I think it's one of the most important songs written in years. That's one. "Magic" by Coldplay. My band and I did a really, cool, groovy version of that. And also, "Let's Stay Together" by Al Green. That's another favorite of mine I would've loved to do, but those are some.
To read what Clark had to say to Reality TV World, click here. Check back with us soon for more from his post-Idol interview.