Students at Robert Frost Middle School in Granada Hills, CA were ecstatic to see American Idol Season 8 winner Kris Allen perform at an intimate concert for VH1 Save The Music Foundation.
VH1 Save the Music Foundation has provided $3.5 million to the school district, to expand their music program and purchase instruments for the students. Starburst who was the organization’s official sponsor, also contributed $250,000 to foundation. Allen donated his very own piano that he used on a recent American Idol appearance.
The idol winner shared his music journey with students by singing songs that conveyed his story. He also explained, his story is no different from theirs and as a boy from, Arkansas, he didn’t have access to a lot of musical programs.
His inspiration came from listening to Michael Jackson, The Beatles, and John Mayer. In college he met a great friend of his today, Cale Mills, who also auditioned with him for American Idol. Today, the two still play together, as he joined Kris with presenting Robert Frost Students with their musical lesson for the morning.
Robert Frost Middle School Percussion Band presented Kris with a rendition of his hit song “Live Like We’re Dying.”
John Simon Daily had the opportunity to chat with Kris Allen on his personal experience with preparing for this event and developing his musical career.
JSD: Were you nervous about the event today?
Kris: I was a little bit nervous because this isn’t usually what I do. When I get on stage I am singing and just chatting to the crowd a little bit. This is a different deal. I was trying to take people through my journey of how I got into it. So I was a little bit nervous. I had to really prepare. Almost like a teacher’s lecture, to make sure I didn’t screw up.
JSD: When you were watching all the kids, could you envision being back in middle school and watching something like this?
Kris: Absolutely! I didn’t get anything like this when I was a kid. But I’m only 26 and I am not super far from school. I remember days like this when we used to be in a gym and people would come and talk to us. So hopefully they have enjoyed it.
JSD: Have you been able to visit your old middle school?
Kris: Yes, I actually went back not too long ago. My wife’s sister graduated from the same school I went to. So we went back for the homecoming and I saw all of my old teachers.
JSD: What did your music teachers say? I am sure they have had some remarkable things to say about you now.
Kris: It’s so funny because one of my teachers is hilarious. His name is Mr. Hatch. He is always saying “Well, I knew you were going to be good so good luck.” He is kind of like an eccentric guy and he has always been a big supporter. He used to get mad at me when I didn’t practice enough, and always made sure that I did well. I think he saw a lot in me. I played in orchestra, so he would get mad at me when I would play guitar more than the viola.
JSD: When you were on American Idol, at what point did you say to yourself, I got this!
Kris: I didn’t know I was going to win. I had no idea until the very last minute. I knew that I had a chance of making it further than a fewer times. I remember when I sang “Ain’t No Sunshine” people really loved that. I think my biggest moment was when I sung “Heartless” by Kanye West. People really caught on to that and they were like it’s pretty cool. We like that! I think that it was the biggest risk I took in the show. But I’m glad it paid off.
JSD: Yes, we like that. It was a great performance.
JSD: Lastly, what advice would you give to young people who may be shy, but want to follow in your footsteps and be a superstar?
Kris: I was a shy kid. I didn’t even want to let anyone know that I was good at the guitar, music, singing, or anything like that. It wasn’t one of those things that I advertised. So I would tell them to make sure you keep on doing it, if you are passionate about it. It’s almost easy to give up. It’s easy to give up a lot of things. It’s just not an easy thing to do. Playing music takes a lot of practice and a lot of work. So I would say to kids keep on playing, keep on being inspired, and keep on challenging yourself to get better every time.
JSD: Well thank you for chatting with us today!
Kris: Thank you too.