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Life After Idol


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In 2004, LaToya London captured the hearts and ears of America with her fourth-place finish on American Idol. The longtime Oakland resident has stayed in the spotlight as an Idol correspondent. Her debut album, Love & Life, hits stores this month.

Q: Your album comes out September 20, but the first single, “Appreciate,” was on the radio this summer. It’s more of a dance song than the ballads you sang on American Idol.

A: I’m perceived as a mature singer, so “Appreciate” gives young fans something to dance to. It’s great to capture the younger audience—to keep their attention.

Q: Wait, how old are you? How young is the “younger” audience?

A: [Laughing] I’m 26. There are 5- and 6-year-olds who know me, all the way up to 75-year-olds. So these are songs that are universal between age groups and sexes and races. I would describe the album, in a word, as mainstream. >>>

Q: It must be exciting to have your own album coming out.

A: It feels great. Finally I have something to have people listen to and enjoy—all original songs, five that I cowrote or wrote by myself.

Q: Your fans are used to hearing you do cover songs on Idol. Why didn’t you go with a covers album?

A: Originals are good because people are hearing it for the first time. It’s your song.

Q: How often do you get recognized?

A: If I go out without makeup on, I’m not noticeable. I’m really petite in person, and that takes people by surprise. Only hardcore Idol fans come right up and say, “You’re LaToya!”

Q: Did you sign with a Concord Records imprint because of its East Bay origins?

A: [Laughing] No, it was a coincidence, but that’s kind of cool.

Q: Who are some local artists you might recommend to our readers?

A: I’m good friends with Dwayne Wiggins, from Tony! Toni! Toné! and I’m hoping to work with him someday. And I used to be a backup singer for Goapele, who’s great.

Q: Finally, what’s your advice to the kids out there who dream of going on Idol?

A: Prepare, prepare, prepare. Have different options of songs ready. You need to show what you’ve got, immediately. And keep a humble attitude. You may think, “I’m going to go in there and get this,” but what if you don’t? Or what if your attitude keeps you from getting it? So be humble.

For concert dates and album information, go to www.latoyalondon.com.

 

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