April 7, 2010

American Idol’s Scott MacIntyre: It won’t be the same after Simon leaves

Posted: 03:52 PM ET

Editor's note: “American Idol” Season 8 contestant (and the first visually impaired finalist in the show’s history), Scott MacIntyre recently released his new album “Heartstings” and performed last month at his old stomping grounds on the “Idol” stage.

Scott spoke to Larry King Live Blog about how his life has changed since being a contestant, how he’s evolving as an artist and why HE thinks he could step into Simon’s shoes next season!  He also opens up about his kidney transplant and talks about how the experience makes him appreciate life so much more…

LKL Blog: Give me a sense of what life after “American Idol” is like? 

Scott: You know, life after “American Idol” has been absolutely amazing.  The opportunities that have come my way as a result of being on the show have been incredible.

As a part of the American Idols Live tour last year, we went through 52 arenas across the U.S. and Canada.  And since then I’ve been traveling.  I’ve been in meetings, in concerts.  But also as a keynote speaker.  Because of my story, I do a lot of inspirational speaking  [Scott has been visually impaired since birth].

It’s really taken off.  From the moment I got of the show, my new album, “Heartstrings” has been in the works.  I knew exactly where I wanted to take the project.

And the day after it was released, it was number 19 on the iTunes Pop Album chart.  Which was amazing.

LKL Blog: You must be thrilled by that?

Scott: It was amazing.  To be among such notable artists was incredible.  My first album since Idol.  It’s an album I’m very proud of.

LKL Blog: You wrote all the songs yourself?

Scott: Right.  I wrote every song on the album.  And it’s got a very singer/songwriter meets pop-rock aesthetic to it.  But even more than hearing a great pop-rock album, I really hope people can pick up the CD and really take something tangible away from it.  I’ve put so much of myself in every song on the album.  It’s kind of like 12 snapshots of my life, things I’ve been through, things my friends have been through and it’s about love, loss, hardships and a situation in my life that’s seemed hopeless but I’ve been able to find hope.  All these things have had an effect on my heart in my life, hence the title “Heartstrings” and the theme of the album.

LKL Blog: In terms of “Idol” – obviously it’s made things easier for you.  It’s given you an audience, some recognition, some training.  I wonder if the “Idol” experience makes it any more difficult of you as an artist?

Scott: You know, it’s a mixture.  The interesting thing is when you come off “Idol” everyone knows you.  You’re a TV personality.  And you have to make that bridge from being an “American Idol” contestant to being Scott McIntyre, the artist.  I think this album definitely helps to bridge that gap.

When I was on “Idol” obviously I couldn’t sing my own music.  It’s all music from Motown, disco week, country week.  It was crazy.  If you listen to “Heartstrings,” you can’t really picture it within any of those categories.  So the weird thing is, it’s not ideal for everyone to showcase their artistry through those particular historical lenders of music.  For me, I just always try to show my range of music.  I was always a songwriter, even though I wasn’t writing the songs on “Idol.”  And now that I’m off the show, I get to bridge that gap a little bit.

I think people are finding out more and more about my original music.  As soon as I got off the show, people started to look into it more.  And Kara Kara DioGuardi even told me, ‘This is what you need to be doing, when you sing your own music, it’s just a different world.’  And I think when you’re singing something that’s been born and bred out of your own heart and your own mind, it’s that much more powerful.  You connect with the song obviously in a much deeper way.  And people believe what you sing.

LKL Blog: You performed recently on “Idol” – it must be different performing than being a contestant.

Scott: Yeah.  It is very different.  Even driving back off the lot.  It was crazy.  All these memories started to flood back of warming up in the parking lot, going to get hot tea at the catering cart.  We had such limited time, it was just a flood of memories that just came back.  It took me back to that place.

LKL Blog: Have you been watching?

Scott: Yeah, I’ve been watching.  It was a little hard near the beginning of the show because I was always in an airport or on a plane.  But I caught “Pants on the Ground.”  I’m so tempted to do a remake of that song!

Going back on the show was great, getting to encourage the kids, because I know what they’re going through.

LKL Blog: It’s Simon’s last season – I’ve read that you have said you should get that part?

Scott: I would be all up for getting that part.  I can wear the v-neck shirts.  I can fake the British accent.  [Scott speaks in a fake British accent]  “It was rubbish.  It was absolutely excruciating.”  Someone’s got to do it.   I’d be up for that.  I’ll start off cheap, they don’t have to pay me the big bucks right away.  [Laughs]

LKL Blog: Do you think it’s going to change?  Is Simon that show?

Scott: It will be a different show.  I’ve always said that “American Idol” won’t quite be “American Idol” when Simon leaves.  It’s strange with Paula gone.  When you take someone who’s been with the show since the beginning and they’re gone, it’s definitely a strange feeling.  Because people associate, even to this day, I think people associate Randy, Paula and Simon with the show.  And I’m so glad I got to be on with all three originals, as well as with Kara, who I love.

But I think Ellen’s doing a great job, though.  It takes a few weeks to get into that groove, but she is actually really funny.

LKL Blog: You’re writing a book?

Scott:  I am.  The album is out.  And the book will probably be out in about four months.  It’s about “American Idol” – it’s about the things the watchers of “American Idol” would like to know.  It’s about the behind-the-scenes, what was going on in my mind in the context of my life.  Because I’ve been through some stuff that I’ve never talked about on the show.  I didn’t want to be voted on based on anything but my artistry.

LKL Blog: What didn’t you talk about on the show that you wanted to talk about?

Scott: I actually dealt with kidney failure for two years and was on dialysis.  I remember a time when I could literally not sit at the piano and sing.  Even in my own living room.  I remember a time I almost lost my life as well.  If you know anything about dialysis, it’s not pretty, it’s not a good place to be.

After two years of – it’s undiagnosed until this day – trying to figure it out, I finally was approved to have a transplant.  And the wife of my former piano instructor actually donated her kidney to me and it saved my life.  It gave me a second chance at life.  After I recovered, going on “American Idol” and a 50 stadium tour and now doing this book, it’s amazing to see it come to fruition in front of my eyes.

I think it’s just kind of interesting to have gone through that process, to have all this background that people didn’t know about, it just made each day on the “American Idol” stage mean that much more to me.  It was a miracle to be there.  That’s why I was so grounded.  It didn’t matter if I left early in the competition or made it to the end, like I did.  I was just really, really grateful to be there.

LKL Blog: Your health is okay now?

Scott: Yes, it is.  I’m healthy.  My donor is healthy.  It’s been amazing.  I had my two year anniversary of the transplant while I was on the road.  And I was standing in one of the arenas in front of 10,000-to-15,000 people at one of the shows.  And it just hit me.  Two years ago, I couldn’t even play or sing in my own living room.  And now to be in front of this many people, it’s just amazing.

I plan to live every day to the fullest.  And I will not waste a moment of this incredible gift the fans have given me.

Click here to learn more about Scott and his new album, "Heartstrings."

Filed under: American Idol • Larry King Live • LKL Web Exclusive

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Joe G. (Illinois)   April 7th, 2010 6:06 pm ET

When somebody reaches that level of Vanity, I would imagine things really kind of step up to that different special level. Like that different level of enlightenment that people finally dig and come to recognize. And by the way I don’t watch American Idolatry

Jim Carroll   April 7th, 2010 7:01 pm ET

WEST VIRGINIA COAL INDUSTRY IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF LARRY KUDLOW OF CNBC UNCONTROLLED FREE MARKET CAPITALISM AT WORK. YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO AVATAR TO SEE THE STRONG RUN OVER THE WEAK; JUST GO TO WEST BY- GOD VIRGINIA. Every time I hear Larry Kudlow extolling the virtues of Free Market Capitalism and his Tea Party and the Republican Party, I get a hammer and beat on a General Electric product. General Electric is the owner of CNBC. The consumer can and should fight back.

Eddie   April 7th, 2010 8:34 pm ET

I think its pathetic when people don't adjust to change...This show is done all over the world. Each judge is character and position in the show..its in German, Slovakian, British and so on.....Only people that are not informed take things far to serious.........Its a reality show...a game show....everyone is playing a part..........The show will work as long as the people are to silly not except change......

A. Smith, Oregon   April 8th, 2010 12:37 am ET

There'll be plenty of champagne corks popping when Simon leaves American Idol.

I'm amazed that self-titled pomp-ass egomaniac lasted as long as he did.

So long Simon, don't let the door hit you in the butt as it slams shut behind you!

Jan   April 9th, 2010 12:44 pm ET

I don't dislike simon cowell but come on get things into perspective and lets put an end to the greed and power crap. I know he donates to charity but the guy needs to grow up and realise that he is not the be and end all in life.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   April 10th, 2010 1:58 am ET

The show must go on! They will find someone-else to take his place. Yes, it is always sad when the originals leave, because you become so used to them. When they go, it is quite an adjustment to make with whoever takes their place.

kb   April 22nd, 2010 10:36 am ET

Congrats SCOTT
U were our absolute favorite on American Idol and we think you should have won. Your new album Heartstrings is amazing !!!
the songs are really catchy and we have seen you performing Heartstrings live in Tokyo on U tube – Awesome!!!
we are following you on twitter scottdmacintyre
thanks for being such an inspiration to the world

Brenda Russell   April 23rd, 2010 12:32 pm ET

Thanks for posting a great interview here. Scott is such a awesome and special person. Really hoping CNN will have Scott back on again soon for interview and to play some of his new CD. May as well be on Larry King. When he was on last you wasn't there. Ryan from AI was there and interviewed them. While your at it, you could try to dig up some of the clips from when he was on when he was 6. That would just make me speechless 🙂

Inez D.   April 23rd, 2010 7:29 pm ET

It always make me feel great to read/watch Scott MacIntyre interviews. Thanks so much for posting! 🙂

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