OK! sat down with Kris Allen last week as he was honored for his work with Little Kids Rock and Music Empowers Foundation, to help keep music in schools. Since there was so much to talk about, here’s the second part of our exclusive interview, where we talk about “Live Like We’re Dying” going platinum, working on new music for his next album, sleepwalking buck naked, and more!
How does it feel that Live Like We’re Dying has been officially certified platinum?
It’s great, oh my gosh! I had no idea what was going to happen with the song. When it came out, I had no expectations whatsoever. It kind of slowly did its thing for awhile, it was really gradual and it just kept going up and up. I was waiting for it to plateau off. But it just kept going up. It’s great for that to be your first song. Your first song coming out of the box and it’s platinum. I think it’s at like 1.6 million now, it’s awesome. I hear it everywhere. I walked into Duane Reade the other day and right when I walked in it started. I guess I got intro music. Apparently at the Roseland show in NYC, these guys heard our other songs and they were like, “Whatever.” And then we started playing the song and they were like, “This is him. I love this song!” I think it happens a lot. I understand that. Obviously today, people aren’t buying albums as much as they used to. So people know the songs. That’s why we do covers, so our show isn’t completely boring.
You recently told Jim Cantiello of MTV News about sleepwalking naked. Have you changed your sleeping patterns since?
No. I don’t know what happened. Apparently the story was on CNN! Way to go, Jim. I’ve never done that in my life! I don’t think. Dad? Have you ever known me to sleepwalk? [Motions to his dad across the room.]
Dad: When he was younger, he used to get up and wander a little bit.
[Laughs] I’m a real hard sleeper. I was probably thinking, “Oh, I am going to the bathroom.” And you open the wrong door.
It was this summer or during the Idol tour?
This past summer.
Didn’t you know what rooms the band was in?
I wasn’t thinking! The next morning, I was like, “Cale [Mills, guitarist] was right down the hall!” Then I said to Cale, “What would you have done if I had knocked on the door and I was completely naked?” He was like, “Dude, I would have shut the door on you.” [Laughs]
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What did you think when you heard it was picked up by CNN?
It’s great! I’m not embarrassed by it. Stuff happens. It was a pretty funny story. I don’t mind telling it.
Why did you decide to drop “Heartless and “The Truth” from this tour? You’ve always started with “Heartless.”
We did play “Heartless” for awhile and I think that’s why. That’s not saying that we won’t play it for headlining stuff because we still might. It’s one of our more upbeat songs that we do. But I feel like our set right now consists of mostly original stuff. But usually in an 8-song set, we’d do “Man in the Mirror,” “Come Together” and “Heartless.” And also we’re in a theater, so you can get away with more, not down stuff, but we threw in “Red Guitar” instead of “Heartless.” The set we have right now fits and flows really well. It’s one of the best sets that we’ve done so far. We have the intro that works really well with “Written All Over My Face.” It’s very cool.
Do you have to put tape up so you know what city you’re in?
We always put it on our set lists where we’re at. On the Idol tour, on the steps to go up, it would say “You are in …” [laughs].
Like if you were in New York and came out and said, Hello Boston!
Boo… that would be a bad one, that would be a horrible one.
I heard you were in New York and not rooting for the Yankees.
I’m not from New York… not that I’m from Texas either. We don’t have anything. I’m actually a huge Braves fan. The only reason I’m actually rooting for the Rangers is one of my best friends is a huge Rangers fan. And Cliff Lee is from Arkansas. So there’s a reason out there.
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You recently posted on Twitter a picture of “Creation Station” where you will be working on new songs. Anything come out of there yet?
Yeah, we’ve got some stuff we’re pretty excited about. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s the really early stage of stuff, but it’s nice to have some complete songs and I’m really happy about them. People may hear them, we’ve recorded demos versions of them. Maybe it will end up on the album, maybe not.
You have new tour merchandise. You have a new mysterious buck T-shirt. Is that because of the story of you being buck naked?
I don’t know. You’ll find out. There’s something nice about being mysterious, right? Do you like the shirt? That’s all that matters.
Are you surprised when you see familiar faces coming to all different cities?
Oh, yes. I appreciate the fans coming to all the shows, it means a ton that people will fly and come everywhere. [Laughs] Sometimes I want to be like, “Where do you get the money first of all?” And could you be giving this money to somebody for a great cause. Believe me, we’re so happy, it’s great to see familiar faces. It means so much to us. It means that people care. And I guess it really means that you have groupies, which I guess in the music world is a good thing. [Laughs] It’s cool. People come from everywhere. There is a girl from Alaska who came to the Philadelphia show and she’s going to be here tonight. The flying, the hotels, coming to the show. People came to the Bahamas. You’re staying at the Atlantis. Those rooms can’t be cheap.
Well you can turn it into a vacation in the Bahamas.
That’s true. But Atlantic City doesn’t seems like a vacation spot. But I guess for some people it is.
Do you get recognized everywhere you go?
It just depends. Most of the time you go pretty unrecognized. And then you’ll run across one or two people. We were walking back to the hotel from Times Square the other day and one person sees you. And then it starts up. People in New York don’t give a crap. [Laughs] We were in Arkansas at a Razorbacks game. I looked like everybody else. I am wearing my baseball cap, my sunglasses and Razorbacks T-shirt and jeans. Everyone was noticing and “Why are you so incognito?” I looked like everybody else! I am not trying to hide from anybody. I am wearing a Razorbacks hat and sunglasses. It’s just funny.
You have hit 500,000 fans on Facebook and have well over 200,000 followers on Twitter. How does it feel that what you write that many people are seeing?
Obviously I say a lot of stupid crap.
Maybe sometimes. Maybe in my head it is, but probably not to everyone else. What’s great about it is that I can say something that actually means something. Give a dollar to this charity… it means a lot for these people. Those people that are following you really listen and really care about it. It’s just great to be in that spot where people believe in the things that you believe in because of who you are. It’s a really cool thing.
Would you ever go on Dancing With the Stars?
Maybe in 10 years. No, I’m good. I don’t think I’d last very long. Maybe I’d do well. I think I like to dance… no I don’t like to dance. I like to groove. I’ll sit around and groove sitting in my chair or something.
Would you ever do a reality show with your wife, Katy?
I don’t watch TV. I don’t even know what those shows are about. Would I do one? Yes and no. I think it would be hilarious, first of all. It could be really funny. I’m down to put myself under scrutiny, but when you put your family, there is just so much criticism. You can’t listen to it, but I couldn’t deal with people talking bad about my wife. I can’t deal with it. It’s stupid and it’s rude, so I don’t think I could do it.
You are a big Chick-fil-A fan. Have you been asked to be spokesperson yet?
No! [Laughs] I don’t know what else I have to do. The CEO tweeted me the other day though about coming in Atlanta. And we are in Atlanta soon. It’s awesome. I do love Chick-fil-A. I went there the other day. I was back at home and I went there and the manager said “Here, man. You do so much for us. It’s taken care of.” I was like, “Yes!”
New York doesn’t have any.
There wasn’t any in L.A. when I was living there.
Is that why you left L.A. and moved home to Arkansas?
No… that is part of the reason. [Laughs] We really liked L.A. The food is great, obviously the weather is great. There are things that I do miss about living there. But we didn’t know anybody other than a couple people. I am gone a lot so I hated that my wife was there alone, by herself. We just decided to move back home. And we love our apartment. We’ve lived there for over 3 years now and I never got to enjoy living there until just now. It’s a small little place. We’re making plans to build a house. We did buy land. It’s got a great view of the river. We’re really excited about it, we’re putting plans together right now. Nothing too extravagant. We’ve never had a house before and we’re taking on building a house. For both of us, we’re pretty indecisive people, so we like a lot of stuff. We’ll see how it comes out. We’re probably have a room that looks like the jungle and then the next room that looks like the desert.
Well you’re a fan of the desert from your videos?
No, I’m not. [Laughs] I am over the desert.
How do you think fans will react to the new judges on American Idol?
Obviously people are still going to try out. There’s still people who want to be contestants on the show. I think initially people will criticize the show. Once they start really falling for the judges, I think that’s part of it, you just learn to love people. People will learn to love Steven Tyler. He’s a wacky dude. And J.Lo. I actually hear that’s she one of the tougher ones.
What do you want the second album to be like?
More than anything, I’m happy we’ve had the time to spend on it and work on new songs. And really talk about the ideas that everyone has for it. For me, I want to get in the studio, in the same studio, working with the same producer, working on songs that I’ve really really been a part of and really put myself into. Just putting out the best songs that are out there. I feel like I can write better stuff. I feel like I can work with people and better stuff can come out. Not that the other stuff was bad, or not great, because I feel like it is. I think as an artist, I think you need to strive to be better and better. That’s the plan.
More songs from Cale after writing “Is It Over” together?
Maybe so. That one almost didn’t end up on the album.
I also love “Send Me All Your Angels” that you wrote with Chris Daughtry?
Yeah, that’s actually grown to be one of our favorites to play. We played it in Hershey, PA, with Daughtry.
Will you do anything with Lifehouse at some point on this tour?
Maybe so. I don’t know how much time we’ll get. I know Jason [Wade] is a big songwriter. He writes with a lot of people. It’s funny because he and Kevin Rudolph wrote a song. It wasn’t for my album. Kevin was like, “Hey, me and Jason Wade wrote this song, would you want to do it?” We recorded it, it’s out there somewhere. I don’t know if it’s going to end up anywhere. It’s a good song, it just didn’t end up on my album. It was called “Better than That.” We’ll see what happens.
What are your plans after the Lifehouse tour and the radio shows in December?
Probably just writing and recording. Obviously, we’ll take off Christmas through New Year’s. Apparently, nothing happens in the music world during that time, I don’t get that.
You’ll get vacation time.
That’s nice. Our lives are a vacation really. Maybe not yours, but mine is. It’s a pretty sweet gig. I love playing music at night. It’s not like we do a whole lot during the day, so we just fill that time with just writing and hanging out. Anybody that complains about being a musician, you have nothing to complain about. [Laughs] Your job is pretty awesome. Obviously there are the downfalls. You don’t get to spend as much time with your family and friends.
Does your wife Katy get to travel with you?
She flew into New York and she was at the Roseland show. She’s been with me since then and she’s flying home tomorrow. And we’re playing a show in my hometown of Conway soon. It’s going to be good.
Kris Allen is currently on tour with Lifehouse through November. Visit KrisAllenOfficial.com for dates. His self-titled debut album is in stores now.