Kris Allen has talked frequently about how much music has always been a part of his life. So it comes as no surprise how much work he has been doing with the charity organizations Little Kids Rock and Music Empowers Foundation, to help keep music in schools. Kris was honored, alongside several others, at the Little Kids Rock Gala for his contributions in music and his philanthropic work with children at the B.B. King Club in NYC on Oct. 21. OK! sat down with the singer for an in-depth interview about all things Kris.
Here in part one, we talk about his charity work, performing for the troops, touring with Lifehouse, Twitter, his brand-new single “Alright With Me” and more! Stay tuned for part two soon!
How does it feel to be honored by Little Kids Rock?
It’s really cool because I really believe in what the charity does. Music education has always been a part of my life and it’s something I believe in. I think it’s getting a little overlooked these days. A lot of school because of money stuff, that’s almost the first thing that goes. I’m happy that there’s something out there that is paying attention to it and making it a part of kids’ lives and making it something that they should care about. Obviously music is not for everybody, but it’s for some people [laughs]. I was forced to pick an instrument, it was viola, and I played it forever. Music was in my house all the time. It introduced me to things and made me a little smarter about music and hopefully just got me a little bit more interested in it.
How was it performing for the troops overseas?
It was a really humbling experience. We went over to Germany and it wasn’t like you were singing just for military people. It was actually them and their families and a lot of kids. They were so appreciative of us just coming over there and singing a couple songs. You learn a lot about what they do over there. They care so much for their families. Whether you believe in the reasons that they are over there or not, you can at least support what these people are doing over there. These people are giving their lives. We went to the hospital there and it was rough. Their legs were gone and they had gotten in gun fights, that stuff is real. They were saying that they just want to get better so they can go back out there. These people care so much, even people without their legs. It was a humbling experience.
WATCH KRIS’ MESSAGE TO FANS!:
You have a few headlining dates coming up, will you be adding any more?
After the Lifehouse tour, I think we are going to do a bunch of radio stuff, some acoustic stuff. I don’t know where we’re going. I know some of that stuff is already booked. And then maybe write some more more, too.
How about a solo show in NYC? There are so many great venues.
Yeah, there are a bunch of good venues here. There was a bunch of people at the Roseland show, so maybe so. Maybe we’ll come back here.
How are the fans on the Lifehouse tour?
We run into a lot of the fans that we ran into over the summer, some new ones which is great. A lot of guys at the concert. I don’t know if they were there for me, but maybe at the end they’re like, “I like that Kris guy.” That’s all we care about.
I think Lifehouse is a good fit.
Yeah, it’s a really good fit. We’re really pleased that they asked us to come out here and play with them. They’re a great band. They’ve been around for-ev-er! They have a million songs that everybody knows [laughs]. We played with them in San Francisco, we opened for them at a radio show. We watched their set and it was like, I know that song and that song. Whoa, I didn’t know they sang that song. They put on a great show, they have a lot of energy. I like their light show.
So “Alright With Me” is the next single. Were you aware that the fans were really pushing for that to be single No. 2?
Yea, oh yeah [laughs]. I was excited to see what was going to happen with “The Truth.” I didn’t know what was going to happen. I know a lot of the fans really wanted “Alright With Me,” but it just became the decision to do “The Truth.” We thought it would be the best thing. And it did what it did. I don’t think you can say that it was unsuccessful. It was fine. I think that the potential that “Alright With Me” has is really good. I think it’s a great song, I think it’s an earworm. I think it gets caught in your head which is all part of it. I love that the fans really love it. When we decided to make it the third single, I hadn’t listened to the track in awhile because that’s part of it. We play it live and it sounds great. I went back and listened to it and was like, “Wow, I really love this track.” That’s why we put it on the album. It’s one of my favorites for sure.
The fans are very excited.
They are really excited.
When you posted that you were about to announce the new single and then you waited like five minutes…
[Laughs] Yeah, that was on purpose. I kept looking at what people were saying: “Is it going to be this?” or “Is it going to be that?” “This is my favorite song.”
So you read your Twitter replies?
I didn’t use to.
Did people write negative things like they are still upset over Idol?
Oh, absolutely. There was a lot at the beginning. It didn’t make any sense to me and obviously Adam is doing fine. So it didn’t make any sense to me why people were saying mean things to me. I remember that it was doing something slowly inside of me where it was like, “Oh my gosh!” So I stopped reading stuff for awhile. Now I do and everything’s really positive. Every once in awhile, someone will say something that’s rude or whatever. They just go out there to piss people off and they want me to say something back. They want me to be like, “You’re a jerk, why the heck are you saying this?” But it’s great. Everyone is really excited. We always look at them after shows and it’s like “Oh Kris, you were great!” So it’s good. I like reading stuff now.
Do you think you will do Twitter parties more often?
I probably should. I like doing that stuff because it answers questions. I don’t know if I give any good answers. They’re probably stupid. I feel like most of them are fun questions, but some of them are pretty serious questions. Most of those questions are asked during interviews anyways, so they’ll be out there.
What about the video for “Alright With Me”? What are the ideas?
There are a bunch of ideas.
Can I tell you my idea?
Sure! We’re taking ideas.
First, is the band going to be in it?
Maybe so. It’s a possibility, yeah.
Okay, well the band has to be in it. Not in the desert.
Not in the desert. It’s not going to be a desert video. We’ve done one during the day and we’ve done one at night, we’re good.
Especially didn’t it become like quicksand during “The Truth?”
Yeah, it totally was. The piano got stuck in the sand! We’re good with the desert.
It should be you and the band, cruising down the road in the car with the song blasting. And then you just end up somewhere and you just jam out.
Yeah! Maybe so. Like ended up at like a venue or something? Alright, we’ll put it in the back of our heads. We actually had an idea kind of like that. It’s close. We’ll give you 10 percent [laughs]. No, you don’t make any money on videos.
It does help sell the single.
That’s true. That’s the plan for videos anyways.
Is there an official add date for radio and iTunes?
I think all that stuff is still being worked out. Some stations do have it and they’re playing it which is great. Some stations are testing it. I think we’re going to work out that stuff really soon.
Any appearances to promote the single?
We don’t have a lot of days off. I think we were trying to do Ellen, but that didn’t work out. We’ll see. I know we’ll be in L.A. I think we may end up on [Ryan] Seacrest.
How did you hear that your song “I Need to Know” was on The Vampire Diaries?
I knew that it was going to be on, but they don’t tell you when. Come on, let me know, send me an e-mail, so I can at least Tivo it. Since I wrote it, I have to get asked. If I hadn’t, I probably wouldn’t have been asked.
How did you find out it was on that night?
I don’t know what happened. I think I looked on Twitter and it was like, “I Need to Know is on Vampire Diaries!” I have never seen that show. I heard it’s really good. They played the whole song, apparently. It was great and just to let the fans know: It helped out with sales of the song so much because it was on the show. It went up like 1,000 percent.
Will you sing it more now at shows?
With the opener deal, probably not. It’s one of my favorites on the album. We don’t play it a whole lot. It’s one of those things that’s a lot of fun when we do. I know that it’s a fan favorite. Maybe, we’re doing some headlining stuff, we’ll play it.
Kris Allen is currently on tour with Lifehouse through November. Visit KrisAllenOfficial.com for dates. His self-titled debut album is in stores now.