"American Idol" winner [artist id="3188062"]Kris Allen[/artist] is busy preparing for the American Idols Live tour, but his album won't wait either. While runner-up Adam Lambert has hooked up with RedOne, Allen has recruited an all-star cast of collaborators for his still-in-development record.
Both Lambert and Allen have hooked up with former Evanescence member David Hodges, who has also collaborated with former "Idol" contestants [artist id="1231768"]Kelly Clarkson[/artist] ("Because of You"), [artist id="3080429"]David Archuleta[/artist] ("Crush") and [artist id="2469317"]Chris Daughtry[/artist] ("What About Now").
Allen will also be collaborating with Salaam Remi, a hip-hop producer best known for his work with Nas ("Where Are They Now") and Amy Winehouse (everything on Back to Black not produced by Mark Ronson). Remi isn't the only urban influence that Allen is bringing in, as Claude Kelly has also been connected with the winner. Kelly has collaborated on tracks for Leona Lewis ("Forgive Me") and Akon (the Michael Jackson-assisted "Hold My Hand").
But Allen has already spent time with writer and producer Joe King, the guitarist and songwriter from the Fray. Allen performed King's version of Kanye West's "Heartless" on the show, and the pair recently spent two days in Timbaland's studio in Virginia Beach, where they demoed a song. "I'm literally in the studio mixing the rough demo right now," King said via telephone from Toronto (the Fray just began the first leg of their North American tour). "It doesn't have a title yet. It doesn't even have lyrics — but there is a lot of gibberish."
King said there wasn't any romance to how they got together — he simply responded "Yes" to Allen's e-mail. "I didn't even see most of the show because we were on tour in Europe and Australia," he explained. "But I found out he won when we got back and I saw he did 'Heartless,' so I was aware of him when he contacted me."
"It was a very good vibe in the studio. There was no pressure — we just had breakfast, got to know each other," King said. "It was all very organic after that." Though they recorded in Timbaland's studio, the super-producer wasn't present during the sessions. "But Timbaland's brother was there along with his crew, and it added this great energy to the session. When the boys heard the track, they started hanging around." King was happy to get some feedback from an outside source, as well as receiving a killer compliment. "Timbaland's brother said if Timbaland was upstairs and he heard this melody, he'd walk in the studio and say, 'That's a melody.' "
Above all, it was fun. "At the end of the session, we cranked up 'Bounce' in the studio and got down," he said. "They're following Kris' progress on film, so there's video of us white boys shaking it to Timbaland songs in his studio, which I hope doesn't get out there."
Since the song is still in its infant stages, King said it doesn't yet have a real identity. However, King is confident that whatever it becomes, Allen will have success. "He has all the elements it takes. He has a phenomenal voice and an incredible work ethic," says King. "He's passionate about what he's doing, and that's what's going to sell him."
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