Katy Allen: Interview with AI Now

AI Now Exclusive: Q&A With Katy Allen
Thursday, 10 December 2009 20:08

     It's easy to forget how much of a life changing experience one's journey on "American Idol" can be. In the matter of weeks, you are taken away from your community, your friends, your family, even your job or school and thrown onto TV's most watched program to be scrutinized by the world. With season eight of the competition here and gone we have heard "American Idol" winner Kris Allen talk about his "Idol" experience and debut album quite frequently. But, very rarely have we seen Kris' wife, Katy, open up to the media. We here at AI Now were lucky enough to experience just that recently. Below you will find Katy's thoughts on Kris' journey on the show, his debut album and what day-to-day life is like with the man who is now a household name. Our sincerest thanks to Katy and everyone at 19 Entertainment for the Q&A.

I really wish "Alright With Me" could be the next single though. Everyone worries whether or not it's good for radio. This is a valid concern, but I think it says the most about Kris' style as an artist.
Yes. His clothes are tighter, his hair is more spiky, and he has become very witty with all his practice on twitter. : )
First of all, how much of the last twelve months has actually sunk in and what are the positive and negative aspects of the post-"Idol" exposure?
I think it's all sunk in pretty well. When you go through "Idol" it's actually a lot more gradual than people realize because of how long the tryout and competition process really is. We have had a lot of time to process things from the initial try out to where we are today.
The positives are Kris getting to do what he loves as his job and me getting to be out here to do acting. The negatives are the time apart and the lack of knowing very much about how the future will be.

Let's start at the beginning, when Kris first tried out in Louisville. Did you push him to audition and how far did you honestly see him going in the competition?
A. No, I didn't push him at all. I actually didn't have super high expectations because I had had several friends who sing just as well as Kris try out and not even make it through the first round. I knew that it was a lot about luck in the beginning, and so I didn't think too much about it at all. I did have a feeling that if he could ever make it to Hollywood he could do really well though.

For the first several weeks of "Idol," Kris received virtually no air time. What was that like for you and the rest of the Allen family watching the show and pulling for Kris?
 It was frustrating to be honest. By that point we knew he had already made it to the top 36 so we couldn't understand the lack of airtime. He had given very solid performances in Hollywood, so it was hard to reason out why we were never seeing him. I had the feeling that he just wasn't really a favorite in the eyes of the people editing the show. We knew that it all came down to the top 36 performance, so I think we all felt there was a lot of pressure on that day.

After "Idol" aired some footage of you and Kris in the kitchen, Idol judge Simon Cowell said he thought Kris should have held off on highlighting your marriage. What was your reaction to that?
Well that was a huge misunderstanding that kind of got turned into something funny. I was not mad at Simon for saying that, it was more of a 'Crap, I hope he isn't right!' look. I'm very expressive, so it probably seemed like more. The producers of the show were the ones telling us what to do in that segment. We got to be good friends with Norm, one of the producers, and he was joking around with us saying 'come on, you have to put the aprons on!'... I was always hesitant because I didn't think I should be in the picture too much at first.

What do you think was Kris' best and worst "Idol" performances and why?
Best is without a doubt "Ain't No Sunshine" during the finale. He did so good the first time and even better the second. Worst...I guess "All She Wants To Do Is Dance" because the concept didn't really come across for that song. A lot of people in Arkansas know that song. It's played a lot there, but I think it was really unknown to the general public. Also the sound through the TV was a little off and you could not hear the electric guitar rifts Kris did which I think were the coolest part, and then there was that pit of death. I think several factors just came together and made it an unlucky choice.

Without a doubt, Kris is one of the most humble "Idols" we have ever seen. How has he managed to stay grounded throughout this experience?
It hasn't been hard for him. Being an "Idol" without a ton of coverage throughout the show is a lot of hard work. When you are working hard and focusing on your music I think it's easy to stay grounded. He just doesn't have a personality to ever take himself too seriously. I never worry about him becoming too caught up in anything.

Very often it's family and friends that are the biggest critics, so we have to ask you about your thoughts on how Kris' album turned out?
I like a lot of things about this album. I like how lyrically it's very honest and true to Kris. I like how he was able to write and co-write a lot. I love how he has a solo writing credit on there. I really like how it doesn't all sound too poppy ("Is It Over," "Alright With Me," and "I Need To Know" are great examples of this). I really like how he was able to put "I Need To Know" on there because it's so raw. I think an "Idol" getting to do something like that is awesome.
As far as what I don't like, well I hope the next album can have even more of the 'Kris Allen' sound on there. If you listen to "Brand New Shoes" you will know what I mean. Kris does the funky/acoustic thing really well and also emotes really well, two things I think his second album will have more of. I think this was an awesome first album though, and that it was a really good learning experience that will make the second one amazing.

What is your favorite song on the album and why?
I feel like I give a different answer every time I'm asked this. Today I'm going to go with "Is It Over." I think this song has to grow on people because its not overtly catchy or obvious. But, the vocals are some of the best I've heard from Kris, the lyrics are super meaningful, and I like the bluesy tone.

Is there a song that he recorded that you wish would have made the cut?
Yes. I wish the original version of "The Truth" was on there. It was more piano driven and I loved it. But everybody else involved loved the one with more guitar so that is what they went with. Also, the day before the album was wrapped he recorded a song that he started writing with Tobias (the guy he co-wrote "Let It Rain" with.) I really hope it makes the second album. It's exactly that funky/acoustic thing I was talking about before.

Kris has mentioned that at times working on the album was very frustrating. Did he always leave work at work or did he talk with you about it sometimes? If so, what did he say and how did your respond?
We talked about it a lot. I felt like it was especially hard at the beginning because there was the huge question of what the album should sound like. I think this was the thing we talked most about because Kris could go in so many directions. I think towards the end of the process he came to a strong realization of who he was as an artist and who he wants to be in the future. I think that when he starts working on the second album (which he already has since he and Cale write all the time) there will be so much less frustration. But I think he had to go through what he did. It was a process that he needed to learn from.

If you could pick Kris' next single today, what song would you pick and why?
I would pick "Before We Come Undone." Every single person I have talked to thinks it should be the next single. They all think it's the most radio friendly and the most catchy. I think there is something to be said for listening to what others have to say. Our friends represent the listening public so they probably know best. I really wish "Alright With Me" could be the next single though. Everyone worries whether or not it's good for radio. This is a valid concern, but I think it says the most about Kris' style as an artist.

Do you and Kris pay any attention to internet rumors? How about music charts?
No. I don't do the media. I don't read blogs, I don't get on fansites, I don't read gossip magazines, and I don't look at charts. It's a conscious decision I made right after he won. I spent so much time during the show doing all these things, and it was so draining. You can read ten nice things, but the one bad thing will really bring you down. Kris has started to be the same way, he rarely reads stuff. That's also why I barely follow anyone on twitter. People on twitter tweet a lot of media type information so I unfortunately have to stay away from that too. At this point charts and sales aren't even in our control so I don’t follow that. Kris doesn't either. He is focused on giving the best shows and interviews he can and writing the best music for his second album he can. Those are things in his control, and we try not to pay attention to the other stuff.

Do you notice any differences between pre-"Idol" Kris and post-"Idol" Kris?
Yes. His clothes are tighter, his hair is more spiky, and he has become very witty with all his practice on twitter. : )

We have heard that Kris can be a bit picky about what he wears, is it a relief to not have to shop for him much anymore?
Yes! I remember one time I picked out an outfit for a top 36 photo shoot, and he wouldn't wear it and said I was trying to change him. Then the stylist picked out the same outfit and he had to wear it. : )

Do you see kids in the Allen family future?
Yes. We are both huge fans of kids. It's just not a good idea now. Kris travels too much and I have the acting thing going on. Maybe after album 2. (means soon...-edit)

Finally, since we are quickly approaching the holiday season, tell us, what will the holidays will be like in the Allen family?
I am soooo excited about the holidays! We are going to Seattle for a few days to see my family there (I have an aunt and uncle that live up there, and my whole family is doing Christmas there this year), and then we head to AR on Christmas day. We have so much fun stuff planned in both places. In Seattle I think we will just see all the sights because we have never been. In AR we will do Christmas eve on Christmas night (the whole pajama/board game thing) and then we will do Christmas dinner and our annual Christmas movie the day after Christmas. We are also going to Vegas for New Years because Kris has a show.

Do you and Kris still exchange gifts? And if so, what are you both asking for?
Yes we still do. Kris isn't really asking for anything, but I know exactly what I'm getting him. It's pretty cool, and I got the idea from that twitter contest. I'm not asking for anything, but Kris likes it that way because he likes his gifts to be a surprise.

Questions from AI Now viewers:

Did Kris pick up any good or bad habits from the other guys while on tour this past summer? - Jean
Hmmm... is twitter a good habit or a bad habit? ;)

We've heard alot from Kris about how his parents influenced his life. How have your parents influenced your faith and values and what have you learned from them that you hope to pass on to future generations? - Risa
I am seriously like an exact mix of my parents. My dad is super driven and very goal oriented so I hope to be that way and pass it on. My mom is super accepting of other people and very trustworthy. I hope I'm like my mom in that way and that my kids will be too.

How many plaid shirts does Kris own and do you have any of your own? - Bia
Oh gosh, he has so many I can't count. I think there are 7 hanging in the closet now and that doesn't count the ones in the dirty clothes or with him on tour. I have three and I wear his a lot to sleep in but only when he is gone otherwise he gets mad.(Editor's note: It's okay Katy, we won't tell!)

added collection :)
 Who does the cooking at your home? And, what are the common dishes? - Carolina
Kris did all the cooking before "Idol." I'm the worst cook ever. He still will cook if he has time. We travel so much that we eat out a lot. Kris makes awesome Chili. I think that is his best thing. I did make his spaghetti recipe recently and it turned out great, maybe I can learn afterall.
Hmm, pre-“Idol.” I would probably wake up as my wife left for work, clean up the house a little bit, hang out with my friends, get some lunch with ’em, get a workout in, maybe play a little music in the house. Then make dinner for the wife when she gets home. That was my day. - Kris Allen
Would you guys like to get a pet someday? If so, what kind are you thinking about? - Dara
Kris wants a dog. It's not practical now because of how much he and I travel, but I think when we have kids we might get a lab. Kris also wants one of those french bull dogs that I think Martha Stewart has.

Are the acting rumors true or just rumors? And, how's the supposed Bloodstone Diaries filming coming along? - Mary
Those rumors are true. I recently signed with an agent and have tried out for a couple of films. I haven't gotten anything yet, but I'm still auditioning. I also study with a really good teacher out here that I love. I'm finished with Bloodstone, but I think it's still in post production.

You recently joined twitter. How has that experience been so far? - Lily
It's been pretty fun. Like I said before, I don't really follow others for personal reasons, but i do like to read responses and always try to direct message people back when I can. (I am following the 12 winners of the contest because they had to direct message me their addresses.)

Does Kris have any annoying habits? - Gerry
Yes, sometimes when I'm trying to talk to him about something he will just sit there and pick on his guitar. It will be totally obvious that he is in another world. Oh well, I guess that's what you deal with being married to a musician.

Are Kris's text messages to you sometimes as random as some of his tweets are ;). - Louise
Actually no. This is a funny question though. We generally just text pretty normal things. I think I'd like that though..... getting random funny things would be fun. Someone should tell him to do that.

Trugs's tweet:

Kris's reply:
and Trugs answered back:

Have you gotten the chance to listen to Adam Lambert's and/or Allison Iraheta's albums? :) - Lori
Yes I have. I love both Adam and Allison. They are both good friends and amazing singers so of course Kris and I are going to follow their careers.

Do you plan to go on tour with Kris this coming year? - Miriam
I plan to go a little bit. I will just have to play it by ear, but I'm sure I will take a week or two off here and there to go on the road. I've never slept on a tour bus, so I'm pretty excited to do that!



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