'American Idol' Alum Josiah Leming Says Recording Album Has Been 'Humbling'

The once-cocky contestant says he's learned to listen to other people's advice and be 'a bit more mature about things.'

There is probably no one on the planet who wants Josiah Leming's debut album to come out more than Josiah Leming himself. And he has his reasons.

Of course, there is his mother's ongoing battle with cancer, which he spoke about when MTV News traveled to his hometown of Morristown, Tennessee, earlier this year. There is also his very genuine belief that he is on some sort of musical mission to make his songs heard. And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention his need to prove all his detractors wrong.

It seems there are plenty of folks out there who see Leming as nothing more than a teary-eyed pretender, a little kid with a big ego who is clearly in over his head. He thinks they would like nothing better than to see him fail.

"There's a song on my album called 'They Say,' which I wrote quite a while back," said Leming, who added that the album is also tentatively titled They Say. "It basically goes out to everybody who doesn't believe and everybody who doesn't feel like I'm ready or prepared to go the direction I'm going, which is absolutely anybody and everybody."

And it's in moments like this that you catch a glimpse of the old Josiah — the fresh-faced, slightly cocky kid from rural Tennessee, the one who wouldn't take "no" for an answer, slept in his car and dismissed the band on "American Idol." It's a fleeting moment, of course, because for the most part, that Josiah is gone. He was shelved on the day Leming inked a major-label deal with Warner Music Group's Reprise Records and realized that flying off the handle, raging against the machine and biting the hand that feeds him are no longer options.

"It's definitely taken a personal re-evaluation," he said. "I've had to grow up. I'm not a kid anymore. I can't be running around, sticking my hands in sh--, you know? I've got to be a bit more mature about things, and handle things the right way. Because I'm not only in the public eye, I'm in the eye of a lot of people who are putting a lot of effort, time, passion and money into me. If I f--- up, it makes my label look bad, it makes the management look bad, it makes the fans look bad. So, really, a lot of responsibility has been added.

"There was a huge learning curve, and I can't say that I've figured everything out, but I've experienced a lot of growth in my songwriting and my ability to be open-minded to other people's things," he continued. "At first I was like, 'Ah, f--- this, I don't want your ideas, I want to do this by myself,' but you can't be like that. I don't need yes-men; I need people who are going to keep me level, and it's been nice. I've had the right balance, which helps too."

The recording process has been "humbling," he said, though it has given him the opportunity to see the world and work with some of the best producers in the business in both London and Los Angeles. The album was recently rumored to be the subject of a legal dispute with "Idol" producers, but a spokesperson for the show denied that there was any attempt to block the album's release, which Leming hopes will be in January. A preview EP, Angels Undercover, is streaming on his MySpace page, and he hopes to finish the rest of the album in December.

"This is a very kind of intense moment in my life, where I have one chance to put my first foot in the door, musically, so there's a lot of things going on," he said. "It was one of the best experiences of my life, actually. Being in London, and recording my first album for a major label, what more could a kid ask for? And then I got back, and there have been ups and downs. It's been hard as hell sometimes, and things have gone smooth. It's kind of a day-to-day thing, but we're getting there."

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