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.)
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.
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: