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Sitting down with Crystal Bowersox

Crystal Bowersox goofs with her husband Brian Walker at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Jan. 26, 2011. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Crystal Bowersox goofs with her husband Brian Walker at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Jan. 26, 2011. CREDIT: Rodney Ho/rho@ajc.com

Crystal Bowersox visited sick kids at the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston Wednesday and was wowed by Ryan Seacrest’s new “Voice” media studio there.

“This little radio studio here is better than some of the stations I’ve been to!” she said. “Ryan Seacrest is an angel for doing this for the kids.” (I’ll post an edited version of the video interview later today.)

She sang four songs for the children, some who were able to sit in the studio with her while others followed via a close-circuit radio and TV system set up at the hospital. (Seacrest opened the studio in November.)

Bowersox also answered questions about “Idol,” her diabetes and her career from the kids and Dunwoody High School students interning there. She retold the story about how Seacrest gave her a pep talk when she was homesick and wanted to quit. (Seacrest’s parents, Gary and Connie, were in attendance.)

Crystal Brian combo

Bowersox, who has been spending the week promoting “Farmer’s Daughter” in Nashville, took the brief side trip to Atlanta with her newlywed husband Brian Walker and her bass player Frank May. The album has sold about 130,000 copies, more than the winner, so far.

“I think I exceeded the label’s expectations, which is always a good thing,” she said. “It’s gaining a slow momentum. I hope it grows steadily. I want to make music the rest of my life.”

The album is semi-autobiographical and while most of the songs were written before “Idol,” she did two during the tour, including “Arlene,” which is about the tour bus driver. “I haven’t talked to her personally but through friends, I heard she cried her eyes out.”

I noted to her that Rodney Atkins had a recent No. 1 song called “Farmer’s Daughter.” She acknowledges the phrase is a cliche but she is indeed the daughter of a mom owns property in northwest Ohio. The song mentions how tough life was for Crystal and her brother and her mom was hardly a saint. “My mom doesn’t like that song so much,” she said. “She said, ‘I’m proud of you and it’s a beautiful song. I just wish I didn’t know what the song was about.’ ”

“That doesn’t mean that’s how I feel about my mom all the time,” she added.

crystal smiling

Bowersox, who now lives in Chicago, is picking up radio lingo. She just recently learned what triple A meant in radio- adult alternative rock. “I’m learning as we go,” she said. “My video is No. 1 on CMT.com. That’s another surprising twist and turn. It’s being accepted in the country music world. That’s a big win.”

Other bits I picked up;

- She’s email buddies with Jewel, another street musician who became a star.

- She laughed when we talked about Richard Rushfield’s book “American Idol: The Untold Story,” in which she’s considered the diva. One bit of evidence: she got upset when someone wiped the dust her special mike stand. “It wasn’t the dust,” she said. “He polished it clean. The thing had all my bar grime on it from years of playing. It had its character. It’s not a diva thing. I wasn’t even that upset. It just stinks. You move on.” And she said she has no idea who Rushfield is.

- She recalls our conversation during the “Idols” live tour about diabetes and our insulin pumps. She had no idea what city we were in, though. (That’s totally understandable.)

- Why she’s so self confident: “It’s from years of feeling like you’re being held down by something or someone,” she said. “Growing up in music, I felt oppressed somehow. I was working so hard for this goal in music. … years of that, I said, ‘Screw it. I am who I am. I’m not going to apologize for it.’ Several different epiphanies in life. I want to be proud of who I am.”

- When I asked her what her game plan was for the next six months, she looked to her husband and asked, “When you going to knock me up?” His answer: “I’m trying my darndest!”

- She’s going to join South by Southwest in Austin and hopes to latch onto Bonnaroo, too.

She also stopped by Dave FM this morning. The station has added her song “Farmer’s Daughter.” Jimmy Baron said he came up with goofy names based on her last name. She said her bass player conjured up the best one: SourBox. She was also asked about those group sings. Viewers got the impression she hated them. She actually hated the fact they had to lip synch them. When it came to the top four, she insisted on going live and they finally relented.

She was also asked if fame has changed her friends. Some, she said. One person started talking all the time about how broke she was. “We were all broke before,” she said. She wanted to say as of now that she is not a millionaire. She’s able to take care of her family now but she’s hardly rich. (We’d have to look to the likes of Daughtry, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood for the serious moulah!)

Here she is singing “Ridin’ With the Radio.”

And here she is doing “Mason” with her hubby:

Here is an edited version of the interview I did with Crystal if you want to see her talking with me:

62 comments Add your comment

Laurie Johnson

January 27th, 2011
12:23 pm

If ever there was a beautiful soul, to speak to these kids and families about how to make something beautiful, powerful, and life-giving, out of tragedy and heartache, it is Crystal. As powerful as her song, Farmers Daughter is, her video of if will rock your world. The imagery and message are profound. It is incredibly cathartic and inspiring to see how we can recover from the wreckage and unravelling of another person’s life–and ultimately knit ourselves a gift of warmth and refuge, that nurtures others as well as ourselves. Crystal is amazing!

Sam-A

January 27th, 2011
12:26 pm

K&C: I would expect nothing less than that you’d support your #2 Girl! Hope she doesn’t disappoint you. I tried a few months ago to watch “Justin–Kelly” when it was on tv one weekend afternoon. No way – she’s cute as a button, but lordy it was a clunker!

Interesting

January 27th, 2011
12:34 pm

I can’t wait to listen to Farmer’s Daughter and watch the video!

Deirdre

January 27th, 2011
12:34 pm

Crystal is a great gal, very much her own person(which in Hollywood translates as “difficult”) and I thank Ryan for persuading her to stay with the show.

Thanks for the interview Rodney. She was the only reason to watch Idol last year after Siobhan left, each performance more subtle and interesting than the one before. In a year where talent was not Idol’s strong suit, Crystal was the exception that proved that rule.

Plus…this may get Neg to pop in and say hello.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Anne Lynn and Rodney Ho, fansofcrystalbowersx. fansofcrystalbowersx said: Sitting down with Crystal Bowersox – Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) http://goo.gl/fb/sXK6t [...]

wreckedpizza

January 27th, 2011
12:39 pm

“That doesn’t mean I feel about my mom all the time,” she added.

What?

Interesting

January 27th, 2011
12:43 pm

Probably missing the words “that way”….

Mercedes S.

January 27th, 2011
12:57 pm

Was Crystal’s mom a Chinese Mother?
Except for the first picture, nice to see her pretty smile. Remember how at first she didn’t want her missing teeth replaced? Good teeth do wonders for a person’s self-confidence.

Sam-A, from previous thread, mail Rodney and let him know we’d like to exchange email addresses – I’ll do the same!

Mercedes S.

January 27th, 2011
12:59 pm

Oh, and thanks, Rodney for interview. She does come across much more personable here than in previous stories I’ve read.

wreckedpizza

January 27th, 2011
1:03 pm

Thanks, Interesting. That would make more sense.

I was never on the Bowersox bandwagon, but I think it is cool that she is staying true to herself and just doing her own thing. Good for her and good luck to her (and hubby as he has an important “task” to perform!). 8-)

Deirdre

January 27th, 2011
1:05 pm

Her hubby is handsome!

Interesting

January 27th, 2011
1:09 pm

@wreckedpizza ~ don’t you love those tasks that you go in smiling and come out smiling!! Gotta love it.

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
1:12 pm

Her hubby reminds me of a cross between those two 90120 guys – Luke Perry & Andrew Shue.

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
1:16 pm

Still waiting on the next grandbaby update. They were supposed to induce sometime today – but haven’t heard if they have.

We’re on Alert 15 status (down from Alert 5 status.)

KPH

January 27th, 2011
1:19 pm

Crystal was by far the best talent on last seasons show. Great to see her doing what she loves.

wreckedpizza

January 27th, 2011
1:19 pm

Yes, Interesting. Those are my favorite kind of tasks!!! Smiles all around, please.

KPH

January 27th, 2011
1:21 pm

Early congrats on the new grandchild Rickster. Boy or Girl?

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
1:31 pm

Second grandchild – first grandson. :-)

KPH

January 27th, 2011
1:42 pm

Great Rickster. Dont spoil him now! :-)

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
1:43 pm

With a third grandchild (second grandson) due in late May/ early June!

Interesting

January 27th, 2011
1:43 pm

WOW, congratulations, Grandpa Rickster!

kelly&carriefan

January 27th, 2011
1:43 pm

This was a really nice interview. I haven’t checked out her music, but I think I will this weekend. I liked her on Idol. Tho, I didn’t necessarily think that she’d be a major star, I figured she’d outsell Lee.

Sam-A, the things we do for love… :lol: But I don’t have super high expectations for Soul Surfer. It’s most likely a “tween” flick.

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
1:55 pm

Thanks, Interesting.

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
2:14 pm

but I think it is cool that she is staying true to herself and just doing her own thing.

That sounds like something Kara would say! :-)

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
2:16 pm

Here’s a preview of Rodney’s (likely) next post: ;-)

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – Executives U.S. network Fox are breathing a sigh of relief this morning.

The network dominated Wednesday night with the second week of “American Idol” averaging a 9.2 rating in the 18-49 demographic and 25.2 million viewers. But more importantly, the two-hour “Idol” (8-10 p.m.) was only down 5% in the demo compared to last Wednesday’s premiere.

Last year, the third telecast of “American Idol” dropped 14% in the demo. Of course, the tenth season opener last Wednesday was also down 18% in the demo (9.7 rating) compared to the 2010 opener.

ABC and CBS tied for a distant second on the night averaging a 2.1 demo rating each. ABC had back-to-back reruns of “The Middle” (which averaged a 2.0 in the demo with 6.8 million viewers from 8-9 p.m.) followed by reruns of “Modern Family” (2.6, 7.3 million) and “Cougar Town” (2.1, 5.0 million).

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
2:20 pm

And this:

By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY

After opening-week curiosity about the new judges, there was no big audience dropoff for the second Wednesday of American Idol, reports USA TODAY’s Bill Keveney.

The Fox singing competition performed strongly last night, attracting 25.2 million viewers, according to preliminary ratings. That’s only 1 million viewers down from last Wednesday’s two-hour season premiere, and it represents the best retention between the premiere and the second week’s first night since Season 5.

Deirdre

January 27th, 2011
2:25 pm

My apologies to Mercedes. She sent me the following earlier this morning and I forgot to post it:

http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/american-idol-notes-on-pity/?emc=eta1

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
2:28 pm

To paraphrase the quote (I think) from Mark Twain:

“Reports of Idol’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.”

Mercedes S.

January 27th, 2011
2:37 pm

Thank you D!!

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
2:49 pm

Speaking of links…

Here’s a link to a song that Chris Medina wrote while his fiance’ was in the hospital.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSXbWffIw4Q&

I can’t watch it due to firewall stuff. :-(

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
2:59 pm

Watch out folks… a front-page link. 8-O

Sam-A

January 27th, 2011
3:16 pm

Enter your comments here

Sam-A

January 27th, 2011
3:17 pm

Oops! Thanks Mercedes! I’ll do that tomorrow, when things aren’t so nutty around here.

Rickster

January 27th, 2011
3:29 pm

Folks… I’m going to head out now.

We’ll be heading down to the hospital either later tonight or first thing in the morning. (Doctors think it’ll be tomorrow before the little fellow “officially” joins the family.) I’m going to head home and get the stuff we’ll need loaded, change into some comfy clothes, and wait till we get “the” call.

I’ll be back on Monday. Hope you all have a great weekend.

Rodney Ho

January 27th, 2011
3:31 pm

Idol has to be encouraged by week 2’s numbers. The show only fell 7% from week one and 5% from the same episode a year ago. And the 18-49 dropoff was down 9% year over year, not as bad as last week.

Negativo

January 27th, 2011
4:00 pm

Great interview. Crystal sounds great, and her duet with the hubby is fantastic. I hope you guys have had a chance to check out her album, ’cause it’s friggin’ awesome. Gotta say I’m having trouble getting into Idol this season…seems el lamo and too much with the Fiftweeners.

Harriett

January 27th, 2011
4:15 pm

Hey, Neg! We were figuring we’d hear from you sooner or later. Most of us like Steven Tyler. I do agree about too many too young. Many of them need some seasoning, but it’s the Justin Bieber fallout. Good to hear from you, though!

Interesting

January 27th, 2011
4:33 pm

Hello Negativo. Interesting moniker. It doesn’t sound like your negative at all. Or, does the “o” at the end of your name cancels out you actually being negative??? I know, far fetched!

Interesting

January 27th, 2011
4:36 pm

you’re…not your

Deirdre

January 27th, 2011
4:47 pm

I knew a Crystal headline would get Neg talking…at least for now.

Interesting….Neg loves Crystal and can find nothing negative to say about her…however, on just about every other subject……well, let’s just say he’s frickin’ hilarious.

Interesting

January 27th, 2011
4:55 pm

LOL…thanks, Deirdre!

Phroggy

January 27th, 2011
4:58 pm

Crystal looks magnificent! What a great talent!! Check out her video “Farmer’s Daughter” (and get a good look at her hubby) at http://www.crystalbowersox.com/home/

Harriett

January 27th, 2011
5:01 pm

See y’all tonight! Yaaaaay!!

Interesting

January 27th, 2011
5:10 pm

[...] studio located at the hospital. Here are a couple of her performances as well as her interview with AJC.com’s Rodney Ho. [...]

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

January 27th, 2011
6:10 pm

once again, i haven’t read any comments — i’m just getting to watch my dvr’d wednesday night episode. I’m very impressed with the young’un from Garner NC, Scotty McCreery. Nice voice, nice presentation of himself both on tape and on “stage”. Hope he goes a long way. Once again, he might not have made it past the first day if Simon were sitting there.

Not so sure about the girl with frosty hair…potential, but is she ready at 15? i do NOT think so.

one comment…i kinda like the monitors outside so the folks waiting can watch their person auditioning. kinda neat. instead of trying to strain and sneak a listen through the doors…

more to come, of course, from li’l ol’ me….

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

January 27th, 2011
6:12 pm

ah clowns early on…why WHY WHY! does ANYone want to do gaga … gag.

bleh.

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

January 27th, 2011
6:18 pm

I like that Naema (?) who sang the Hathaway song. Good voice, nice power without screaming (you all know how much i HATE screaming!)

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

January 27th, 2011
6:23 pm

Jerome Bell, nice voice, but i can do without a lot of the falsetto.

***sigh*** beiber….bleh

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

January 27th, 2011
6:28 pm

Thia Megia has a nice voice….only 15? gonna be a lot of younguns on this year, i’m thinking. maybe they should hire a teacher to be with them all for schoolwork.

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

January 27th, 2011
6:50 pm

fairly amazing amount of talent in milwaukee! they’ve been saving it up or something

Highlander

January 27th, 2011
7:07 pm

So Crystal is on CMT.com and Dave FM (definitely “one of these things is not like the other”). Good for her.

Has anyone heard Off-key Lee on the radio yet?

Highlander

January 27th, 2011
7:11 pm

I did like Chris Medina but I hope AI doesn’t over do the back story as they did with Danny Gokey. (I think some viewers quickly got to the point with Danny G. where enough was enough for that reason. Even though it wasn’t his fault.)

I also hope Chris isn’t a one-trick pony ala Andrew Garcia!

Highlander

January 27th, 2011
7:12 pm

And welcome back, Neg!

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

January 27th, 2011
7:28 pm

ow that last one has even cynical ol’ me tearing up.

linny ,,,=^..^=,,,

January 27th, 2011
7:29 pm

I was afraid that it would be a lot of fiftweeners too, Negs, but i have to say we’ve seen some youngsters with real potential. and some real duds, but at least they’re holding the duds to a minimum, thank you Powers That Be!!!

Harriett

January 27th, 2011
7:58 pm

ok folks.new thread

[...] American Idol [...]

John Neal

January 30th, 2011
1:34 am

I simply love Crystal. I still can’t figure out how she missed winning American Idol. Farmer’s Daughter is FANTASTIC and I’m anxiously awaiting her next album.

[...] can go here to read the interview and listen to Crystal perform two of the songs off her album, [...]

Terrioke

February 2nd, 2011
6:19 pm

Check out all of Crystal’s “LIVE” performances on youtube.com…
right out of IDOL she and Frankie May played at FILLMORE SF, then “POWER to the PEACEFUL” in SF to 80,000 with Michael Franti and Spearhead, then Melissa Etheridge at PINKTOBER, on JAY LENO, ELLEN & REGIS & KELLY and February 17-20 with Stevie Nicks and KD Lang and many others in San Diego! Get ready LA, Seattle, Portland, and NYC..much more to come!!!
God bless Crystal, her family and band!!!

Rain Readings

February 3rd, 2011
12:09 pm

Luv u Crystal,Brian, lil Tony and of course u too Frankie May! Prayin for u all while your on the road 2…and thank u 2 all the fans out there like me! Cant wait till u come on tour in Toledo…I will definately be there!