Josiah Leming Returns, Reinvigorated, With Come On Kid

'I know I've still got a lot to prove, but I'm ready,' the 'American Idol' castoff says of his debut, due September 14.

[artist id="3081683"]Josiah Leming[/artist] knows you've probably forgotten about him. After all, there was a time not that long ago when he had forgotten about himself too.

"Absolutely, people have forgotten me, and rightfully so. I haven't given them too much to think about," he laughed. "I basically disappeared for a while. I had let the momentum drop. I hadn't been writing. I was stubborn, and I was not prepared to fully dedicate myself to this. I had completely lost touch. And then, three little words popped into my head."

Those words were "Come On Kid," a mantra he kept repeating to himself as he fought to rediscover the spark that had made him a standout on "American Idol" back in 2008 (despite not even making the top 24) and earned him an unheard-of contract with Warner Bros. Records soon after. Eventually, the phrase drove him to ditch his two-bedroom apartment in Los Angeles, disconnect from all the distractions — both external and internal — that had kept him from finishing his Warner full-length, and, as he puts it, "re-center himself."

And for all of those reasons, there was really nothing else Leming could call his debut, which will finally see the light of day September 14. It's an album that showcases not only his skills as a singer/songwriter (which were pretty apparent early on), but his newfound sense of maturity too. And that, really, was the key all along.

"A lot of people that get off 'Idol' and jump into a contract don't think there's any more development to be done, since there's a fanbase now. And I was definitely like that," he said. "I was a little cocky, I wanted it all right away, and [Warner] realized they needed to develop me. They told me that I needed to keep writing, that I needed to be ready mentally, and that there was really no choice but to wait until I was ready.

"But I kept writing songs that I liked, and the label liked them, too, but they just didn't feel like there was a single for radio, so they didn't want to put an album out," he continued. "And I was getting more and more frustrated, because, really, I wasn't ready to do the work. Like I've always done, I wanted to run. When I was young, I ran away from home. After 'Idol' didn't work out, I ran from that. And I wanted to run from this. But, luckily, I didn't."

Leming said he had an awakening last summer, after his mother died following a lengthy battle with cancer. He realized he had no other options, that making music was his dream, and he was about to blow a tremendous opportunity. Inspired, he parted ways with his previous management team, got back to writing and told the label that he was finally ready to work.

"I just realized that I was meant to do this, there was no other plan," he said. "So I sat down and figured out how I was going to make this work."

And the end result is, finally, Come On Kid. While its release should be triumph enough, the newly invigorated Leming is hitting the road hard to promote it, playing new songs and still aiming for the stars, despite the fact that most folks have forgotten his name. His new mission, he said, is to change that.

"I like being the man down, and I know I've still got a lot to prove, but I'm ready," he said. "The dream is still there, and I've still got the same lofty and unrealistic goals. Why wouldn't I? I'm a 21-year-old kid."

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