Kris Allen on ‘Kris Allen’

Becky Bain | November 20, 2009 12:15 pm

Kris Allen certainly has his work cut out for him. His album is expected to post the lowest first-week sales from an American Idol winner in the show’s eight seasons—not that opening weeks mean everything. (Ruben Studdard’s best-ever first week didn’t exactly herald longevity.) And although Kris beat Adam Lambert for the AI title back in May, Adam seemed pre-destined to become the bigger media darling/pull-quote generator.

But in reality, Allen’s no less passionate about music (and he did win), so we chatted up the soft rock singer/songwriter at Us Weekly‘s Hot in Hollywood Party in Los Angeles, the same bash where we talked pop with Adam Lambert. Check out what Kris has to say about his debut album, and what he thinks might be wrong with it:

Becky Bain: You won American Idol less than half a year ago and since then have basically zipped between the road and the studio. Are you happy with the finished results of your album? Kris Allen: I am. I didn’t have any expectations, I really didn’t, so I am happy about it. There was a point when I was, “Oh my gosh, I’m gonna pull my hair out,” but I listened to it and I felt like this was a good piece of work, so I’m excited about it.

BB: I think your voice really soars on the tracks where it’s just you and your guitar, like the beginning of the soulful “Is It Over.” You’ve mentioned before that you might push to include more acoustic tracks on your next album, but what about an unplugged remake of this one? KA: I have thought about a stripped down version of the songs. We’ll see what happens.

BB: Your new cover of Kanye West’s “Heartless” is moodier and obviously includes heavier production than the version you sang on Idol. I heard there was some tension with producer Salaam Remi about releasing the new take. KA: No tension… the production of it was a little bit different for me, I just thought it didn’t fit in with the rest of the album. But people like it, so it’s good.

“Heartless” on American Idol

“Heartless” on Kris Allen

BB: You’ve talked about some of the compromises you made while making this album. This isn’t going to turn into a sequel to Kelly vs. Clive, is it? KA: No, absolutely not. Jive has been really good to me, it’s been awesome. And the thing is, they let me do what I wanted to do. So that means a lot of me that there are twelve songs on the album and nine of them are co-written by me. That’s all I can ask for.

BB: Idol has certainly bred a lot of rocker-types who are no stranger to guyliner: David Cook, Daughtry, and your Season Eight pal Adam Lambert. Would you ever try to go for a more stylized, edgy rocker look when it comes to your image, or are you sticking with the way things are? KA: Probably not. I don’t think I can get away with that. I think my fans would be like, “I’m done with this guy, he sold out!” Not that that is selling out, it works for some people, but not for me.