Caleb Johnson might be the thirteenth singer to win the title of “American Idol,” but the rock singer from Asheville, North Carolina thinks he’s the most unique winner yet. “I’m probably the antithesis of what American Idols have been,” he tells reporters backstage after his confetti shower at the Nokia Theater on Wednesday (May 21). “I mean seriously, look at me — it’s so crazy to me!”
Johnson is a classic rock singer, which doesn’t necessarily fit the contemporary radio mold.
“‘American Idol’ has always been a pop show and I sing rock and roll. I mean, I sang Rush and Led Zeppelin and Aretha Franklin and Adele so what is so crazy is I think this is the first season that a rock and roll singer has won — not just pop rock but actual rock ‘n roll,” Johnson says.
He continues, “Some of the viewers that watch didn’t like it because they are used to the show being very nice-looking people. It’s really cool and incredibly humbling and an exciting thing that I won because I think me winning opens doors to all types of shapes and sizes and genres to come on the show and kill it.”
The major lesson Johnson learned during his long “Idol” journey — he tried out twice before making it to the live shows — is “just stay true to who you are as a person and as a singer,” he says.
“The music that I love is rock ‘n roll music. The music I grew up on wasn’t just singles-based. The thing I don’t like about now is that music is kind of disposable. It’s like a can of coffee that you could just throw away. Back then people made records as these cool beautiful things from front to back and they told a story that engaged people. People were taken on a journey.”
Currently, Johnson’s album is scheduled to come out August 24, which would make it the fastest “Idol” winner release ever. (Candice Glover’s debut was supposed to come out in July 2013, but was pushed until early 2014.) “I’m really going to buckle down and it’s going to be some badass songs,” he says. “It’s going to be really soulful and have a lot of depth and [be] heavy. That’s the record that is going to come out and that I want to do.”
After that? “I want to do something crazy like a zombie rock opera. I want to do some crazy, out there s***.”