American Idol has turned into a cultural phenomenon. Hundreds of thousands of people audition each year for a chance to win , but sometimes it pays to lose. Look at season five for a very good example. Chris Daughtry came in fourth that year and look at his career! Let's not forget the man who came in third that season, Richmond, Virginia's own, Elliott Yamin. he released his debut CD on March 20, 2007 and it debuted at number 3 on Billboard's charts and sold 96,000 in its first week of release. It set a record for the highest debut of an independent release and most copies sold.
Sales on his CD slowed down and it took an appearance on his old show Idol to ignite a flame that quickly grew. Elliott appeared on the top three results show on 05-16-07 and sang his first single "Wait For You" and the reaction was amazing. Within two hours of performing the song, the single shot up 60 spots on I-tunes and the next week, it rose from #80 to #31 on Billboard's singles chart and the CD jumped from #67 to #20. All from getting just a little bit of exposure on his old stomping grounds.
Elliott began touring like a madman in support of his CD. He made an appearance in Greensboro,NC at the N-Club on November 2 ,2007. He was scheduled to appear at WKZL 107.5FM to host their all request lunch show. Thanks to Jose Paza, I was able to secure an interview with Elliott there at the station. He was suppose to be there early that morning, but because his blood sugar was low, he was running behind schedule. I waited around the station for about 2 1/2 hours for him to arrive. He actually made it later that afternoon and stayed for a quick on air interview.
For those not in the know, Elliott suffers from Type 1 diabetes and wears an insulin pump because he hates needles.He told me of two programs that he is involved with concerning diabetes. One is Life For a Child which gets insulin to children in twelve underdeveloped nations. There are t-shirts and pins sold at the shows and 100% of the money goes to the program.The other is called Inspired by Diabetes. Anyone who has been moved by a story of anyone who suffers from diabetes can write into the website or his MySpace and send the story. winners are randomly chosen and prizes included free concert tickets and backstage passes.
I asked Elliott about any interesting road stories that he could share. "I was in Vancouver and I was feeling kinda down because my blood sugar was low. So, I drank a Pepsi right before I went out. It didn't pick me up, so I chugged another one down real quick. The good thing is it picked me up, but the bad thing is I burped during the first two songs! Oh yeah, at that same show, there was a drunk girl that got on stage during "Wait For You" and started dancing with me. It took a few minutes for everyone to figure out that she wasn't in the crew."
Luckily, neither of those instances were repeated in Greensboro that night. The show opened with an amazing set by Josh Hoge and the Last Goodnight performed a solid set and sounded very Maroon 5ish. Elliott came out to a roaring ovation from the crowd. He did covers of Dr. Hook's "Sharing The Night Together" and his idol Donny Hathaway's "little Ghetto Boy", which were both amazing. He played the majority of his CD and had the most incredible encore. Elliott and his keyboardist came out to do his encore which was another Donny Hathaway song "Song For You", which was his audition song on Idol. It gave me goosebumps!! He invited everyone to stay at the merchandise stand and that he would come out and meet with everyone shortly. There were probably about 100 people there and he talked to them and posed for pictures and signed autographs. He was very personable and actually listened intently to what you had to say.
I encourage everyone to try and catch Elliott live. His live shows bring so much raw emotion that is cleaned up in the production aspect of producing a CD. I want to thank Josie and everyone at WKZL for making me feel at home and welcomed as I waited for Elliott. Please go to his website of his MySpace page and help support his diabetes programs. I do wish Elliott the best in this very fickle music industry. He is a true talent and will be around for a long time.