Chris Daughtry, the Grammy-nominated artist who lost to Taylor Hicks (remember him?) on the fifth season of "American Idol," and CNN, the 'round-the-clock cable news channel that made Wolf Blitzer a household name: It's a strange pairing, but one that began six months ago, when Foreigner's Mick Jones was approached about a little song he once wrote.
"CNN contacted me about this whole thing they're doing for the election — trying to encourage people to vote — and they told us they were approaching Chris for the project," Jones told MTV News in an exclusive interview Monday (August 18), about Daughtry's cover of the 1977 hit "Feels Like the First Time." "I'm a big fan of his. He's got a great voice, and I thought it would be a really good idea. So I just gave my blessing to the project, and they took it from there."
Daughtry's take on "First Time," which was recorded in April with producer Howard Benson (My Chemical Romance, All-American Rejects), will not only appear on Daughtry Deluxe, a re-release of his band's gazillion-selling 2006 debut, but it will also serve as the theme for the network's League of First Time Voters initiative, designed to get first-time voters excited about the upcoming election — one Jones realizes is important for America.
"It really is a huge crossroads for America," Jones said. "I think people have come to realize what a big mistake the last time they'd voted was — it might have been, anyway. There are two very viable candidates, as far as I'm concerned, and there is one who will be a revolutionary candidate in a way and change the direction of America, and I think the more people that get out there to vote, that's extremely important."
According to Jones, Daughtry was one of the only singers who could have re-created the song and done it justice.
"It's a song that requires a really strong voice to carry it off, and he's got the range and the power to really do it convincingly," Jones said. "I don't think there are that many singers around at the moment that could really nail it. ... Out of all the singers of that style, he's the strongest. He's just a great singer all around. It doesn't matter what style it is, he could pretty much sing anything."
Jones said he heard Daughtry's version just recently and was blown away by how well the finished product turned out. "I think it's not too far away from the original," he said. "They've modernized it a bit — brought it up to today's standards, with the sound and arrangement too. ... When I heard it, it made me think back to when we recorded the original. It was pretty exciting at the time, and I sort of got the same feeling when I heard Chris' version."
Foreigner, who will be on tour through mid-November in support of the recently released No End in Sight: The Very Best of Foreigner — a collection that features the band's first piece of new material in years — will be hitting the studio this fall to begin recording their first LP since 1994's Mr. Moonlight. Jones said that the yet-untitled effort will most likely land in stores sometime in late spring.
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