American Idol Countdown Week Friday: #5 – Murtz Jaffer Interviews Chris Richardson

Chris Richardson almost made it to the end of American Idol and has constantly been in the news since then. He has been compared to Justin Timberlake and rumored to be dating Lauren Conrad from The Hills. I asked him about all of these things when I had the chance to talk to him before the American Idols performed in Toronto.

Murtz Jaffer: So out of everyone, I think your first question was the easiest for me to write. When I first saw Chris Richardson on the show and I said ‘I have seen this guy, he is pretty good on the show’ they are all like ‘oh, you mean the Justin Timberlake guy.’ I am sure you get that a lot.

Chris Richardson: Oh yeah, I always get it.

MJ: What do you think about the comparison?

CR: It could be worse right? You know? I mean he’s a personal friend of mine.

MJ: Oh really?

CR: He’s very successful in this field or in this career that I want to be successful in. So like I said, it could be so worse being compared to someone instead of Justin. For me though, the only bad thing about it is trying to break away from it.

MJ: Right, I was going to ask you. Is it tough to establish your own identity?

CR: Yeah, exactly. And that’s the only thing. People constantly just keep throwing that out there. This guy is this guy. This guy is that guy. We don’t need another one. I mean of course you’re always going to be compared to somebody. I mean you could go out there any day and listen to any artist and they are always going to compare you to somebody.

MJ: Or even to an older Idol?

CR: Yeah. Or even if you in a division, if you come out with an album that’s completely different from everybody else and you’re like ‘wow, this is like nobody else but it sort of sounds like…’ You’re always going to get that. And me being a high tenor and sort of resemble him a little bit, I probably will always get a little bit of resemblance to him.

MJ: Totally, totally.

CR: But the type of music that I am making is what is going to try and set me apart from him.

MJ: And I was going to ask you, how would you describe your musical style?

CR: Rock and soul. I love live band. I would say Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz.

MJ: Yeah, because you did that “Geek In The Pink” right?

CR: Yeah, I did “Geek In The Pink.” And that was fun to do but I still wouldn’t do that type of music. It’s a little too urban for me. But I had fun doing it. I write more intuitive. I love songwriting. I have been writing for Jordin, and I have been writing with Blake on his album and Phil for his country album. It’s good too because you are building credibility as a writer…

MJ: And away from Idol.

CR: Yeah, exactly. I think ultimate goal for everybody is as much as we appreciate everything that Idol has ever done for us, you always going to be Chris Richardson from American Idol. There comes a point where you become so successful that you finally get your name back.

MJ: Kelly Clarkson.

CR: Kelly Clarkson, exactly. Carrie Underwood. And of course I think that is the goal that everybody strives for because of course you appreciate what the show has done. I mean I wouldn’t change this for the world and I have the utmost respect for the show because it really bypasses the first step in the music industry that there so scared of which is building a fanbase. That’s what’s so hard about getting into the music industry these days.

MJ: One of the things I wanted to ask you about was Lauren Conrad from The Hills. It was Dolce I think where like everybody saw that video of you and her together. So Lauren Conrad, describe her.

CR: She’s a cool girl and a close friend of mine.

MJ: Really? Man, you roll with some heavy hitters. Justin Timberlake. Lauren Conrad…

CR: Well I mean, Timberlake it came from me working in the studio in Virginia Beach with Timbaland. Justin was in the same studio at the same time working on his album. So that’s how I became acquaintances with him. I wouldn’t call it good friends or anything…

MJ: But acquaintances.

CR: Exactly. But it’s cool because in this music business, it is such a small world. You go to LA and everything turns around. It’s like a complete turnaround. I mean I am living in Virginia Beach, working in the studio, no one knows who I am. You go on this television show and people that are already well known are fans of the show. So you meet some great people really. For me, I am a big fan of Maroon 5.

MJ: They are actually here in town tonight.

CR: Yeah, I know. Me and Blake are hopefully going to end up meeting up with them.

MJ: Oh nice.

Me and Blake went to their album release party.

MJ: Very cool.

CR: Just friends with them. It’s a small world, you know? A day in the life of Chris Richardson in Virginia Beach, you can just do that. Like I said, I would just go to a random club and people like Lauren. She would know who I was.

MJ: Exactly.

CR: Just from the television. You either create a friendship with them or not. I created a friendship with a lot of people.

MJ: Totally.

CR: I mean there’s so many celebrities. There are so many people who are always in the tabloids. Like Lindsay (Lohan). They are always at the same place. You become acquaintances. So what magazines like to do is they like to twist stuff. Like you’re dating them or whatever. For me, I never dated her.

MJ: Right. Like if Lauren walked in here right now and you even just looked at her, everybody would say, ‘oh Chris was making eyes at Lauren.’

CR: Oh yeah. Top-secret. A real good friend of mine though. She’s a sweetheart. There’s a lot of people in LA that are just really good people and of course there are a lot that you just stay away from. But that’s just a day in the life of LA. You can just walk the street and you can someone walking down. I became good friends with Gavin DeGraw and Ryan Cabrera of all people down there as well. It’s a good connection place. You create new connections and bonds with people that hopefully help you have a lasting a career. I mean you never know who you’re going to go back to. You don’t want to burn your bridges.

MJ: My final question is tell me a little bit more about the writing and your album. When do you plan to release it?

CR: I would love to release my album before Christmas. Come out there before Christmas time, I think that would be fantastic. I think for this show, you always want to strike while the iron is hot. Because next season is going to come around, not necessarily will completely forget about you but it won’t be the same kind of anticipation. But for me, if not then, I would love for it to come out around my birthday. Around February 19. That would be a great birthday present. I just really want to make that album that you can just press play.

MJ: Boom.

CR: You know? It’s a rock and roll album. A mixture of Maroon 5 and Jason Mraz. You’ll definitely be able to tell the influences in my music and of course, everybody’s going to always compare me to Justin (because like I said, the high tenor). A lot of people have that. It’s just creating that style and hopefully you can just press play and not have to worry about it. I spend more time, it takes me longer to write a song for myself than it does for someone else.

MJ: Exactly. Perfectionist?

CR: I am very perfectionist as to how I want to sing it. Is it easy for me to sing. And is it catchy? Really music today is about simplicity and if you make it too difficult, it will just fall between the cracks. So hopefully I can make that album and have that live band in the background and work with some great producers. Whether it’s Rick Rubin or Timbaland. I love to get in the studio and just start grinding it up. As for now, while I am on the Tour, I am going to try and songwrite for my album and go out whenever I can to try and help do someone else’s album.

MJ: That’s awesome. Thank you so much.

CR: Thanks man.

MJ: Cheers.

CR: Pleasure meeting you.

MJ: Can’t wait to see the show.

The American Idols Live Tour hits the Huntington West Virginia Big Sandy Superstore Arena tonight. The tour wraps up on Sept. 22 in Manchester, New Hampshire.

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