Chris Daughtry’s post-’American Idol’ choices have helped to make him a rock superstar
After finishing as the American Idol runner-up in May, Crystal Bowersox said she wasn’t concerned about finishing second.
“I didn’t win, but neither did Daughtry and he’s done very well for himself,” Bowersox said.
Chris Daughtry may have failed to win the A.I. crown, but his accomplishments are much greater than some of the American Idol champs.
Daughtry has achieved more than any other A.I. runner-up. Daughtry, which is the name of his band, has sold more albums than any A.I. alum with the exception of Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson, who won their seasons. His 2006 eponymous debut album, which is the fastest-selling debut rock album in Soundscan history, has gone quadruple platinum.
“I have the chance to have that kind of career,” Bowersox said. “If I need a reminder, all I have to do is look at Daughtry.”
The band Daughtry, which will perform Saturday (Aug. 7) at the Tropicana Showroom in Atlantic City, is touring behind its follow-up CD Leave This Town, which dropped in July 2009. A B-sides disc was released in 2010.
Unlike the first album cover, which only featured Chris Daughtry, the second album’s art work features all five members of the band.
However, the project is much like Daughtry’s preceding effort. The songs are not as polished, but the post-grunge assault is familiar. There are the straight-ahead rockers and brooding power ballads.
“I write songs in a certain way,” Daughtry tells Atlantic City Weekly. “I like to have some melodic rock. I want it to be edgy, somewhat heavy. I also want songs that people can sing along to. I write the songs I like to hear.”
Daughtry, 30, tabbed two of the best post-grunge tunesmiths — Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and Ben Moody, formerly of Evanescence — to help him with songwriting. It all worked for the band. The urgent, anthemic numbers are just what Daughtry’s fist-pumping fans adore. That style of music has helped Daughtry become one of the most popular rock musicians on the circuit.
“It’s been amazing how things turned out for me,” Daughtry says. “I’m thankful every day for all of the success. Never in a million years could I have dreamed of anything like this happening.”
Daughtry, however, bristles whenever the phrase “overnight sensation” precedes him in articles. “The last thing I think you can call me is an overnight sensation,” Daughtry says. “If I’m an overnight sensation, it’s been a very long night. I’ve been at this going on 15 years. I might appear to have taken a shortcut with American Idol, but I didn’t just start singing before [the show]. This is something I’ve been doing forever.”
Daughtry hopes to continue toiling as a recording artist for many years.
“I don’t ever want to stop doing what I’m doing,” Daughtry says. “Even if I wasn’t making any money at this, I would have to do it because it’s in my blood. I love doing it. No matter what happens you just know that I’ll be playing whether it’s in an arena or a club. Nothing makes me happier than what I’m doing.”
There was a time when Daughtry thought that he would be an actor or an artist, not a singer.
“As a kid, I could obviously sing,” Daughtry says. “I could imitate singers pretty well, but I never took it too seriously. I wasn’t real comfortable in front of people. I was always drawing. I didn’t consider myself a singer, but it’s funny how life turns out sometimes.”
A friend heard Daughtry sing and encouraged him to exploit his gift.
“I didn’t realize that I had something that was special,” Daughtry says. “The more confidence I had the better it was for me.”
Daughtry was hooked after digging into catalogs of albums. He particularly gravitated toward charismatic vocalists, such as Elton John, Robert Plant and Live’s Ed Kowalczyk.
“I was drawn to the guys who could really belt it out,” Daughtry says. “I felt some sort of connection with them.”
Fans have felt a connection with Daughtry ever since he made a name for himself on Idol in 2006. “I’m proud that so many people have given me a chance since American Idol,” Daughtry says. “That show came along at the right time for me. I’ll always be thankful that I was on that show.”
Daughtry could have been on another music reality show. Life would probably be very different if he rose to fame on the short-lived INXS show, Rock Star.
“I don’t think that would have worked out too well for me,” Daughtry says. “I didn’t feel like that was the right avenue for me. You look at the people who were on that show who were awesome and nothing happened for them. That could have been me. The American Idol thing gave me a lot more exposure.”
Watch Daughtry doing Lady Gaga's "Poker Face" solo:
Daughtry has made some good decisions. He had the chance to front Fuel after covering the pop-rock band on Idol, but turned down the opportunity.
“I realized that I had a platform to do my own thing,” Daughtry says. “If I hadn’t done the show and was still playing bars and they approached me it would have been easy to say ‘yes.’ But I wanted to do something myself and see if I could succeed. I’m happy with the choices I made.”
Where: Tropicana, A.C.
When: Sat., Aug. 7, 9pm
How Much: $65-$150
Are you going to the show? Leave your comments below.
“When I put out my first two albums, they were dressing me up like I was going to be the next Justin Timberlake or how Justin Bieber looks today. That image just doesn’t work for me. But there is a type of music that works for me, it’s Christmas music."
‘American Idol’ top 10, including country rocker Skylar Laine, head for Boardwalk Hall Friday, Sept. 7.
Caesars Entertainment cautions fans that "since there isn’t a cover-charge, fans looking to view the concert from the comfort of Backstage’s plush couches are urged to come early, as reservations will not be accepted."
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