While Chris Medina’s exit from “American Idol” is still a shock to many fans, the fact that the early favorite has already lined up his first post-”Idol” project (by way of super-producer Rodney Jerkins and the single “What Are Words”) should alleviate the burn.
MTV News was lucky enough to catch up with both Medina and Jerkins recently to get the inside scoop on the heartfelt track.
“I always knew who Rodney Jerkins was, but after doing some research, I didn’t realize how ‘the man’ he actually was,” Medina explained of his reaction to getting a phone call two days after his unexpected elimination. “I got a call on Friday and then that Monday I recorded,” he said. “It was surreal. It was great.”
Medina went on to say that while the song isn’t technically his style, it’s not entirely out of his “wheelhouse.”
“The words totally embody what my situation is,” he said. “It’s heartfelt, it’s real, and it was an honor to be asked to put my voice to this wonderful material.”
For his part, Jerkins, who was inspired to write the song after seeing Medina’s first audition, said the 26-year-old was a total pro during their recording session.
“He was really good in the studio,” Jerkins said. “That’s always the fearful moment for myself as a producer. The first time you work with a new artist [you wonder], ‘What is it going to sound like when you get in the studio?’
“[Medina] came in here and he listened to it one time down and then he was like, ‘I think I got it.’ He started singing it for us in the room, and we were just floored,” Jerkins recalled. “Like, ‘Wow,’ he learned it that fast. I’m like, ‘OK, it’s time for you to get in the booth.’ He was great.”
Regarding the higher vocals Medina uses in the track, Jerkins said that is all about his technique of challenging his artists.
“A lot of technology has made it where we don’t push the artist like we used to,” he said. “I’m a ’90s guy. I come from the school of the ’90s, where you didn’t have Auto-Tune, we didn’t have the tricks of technology. You had to get in there and work the artist and get the best out of them, and that’s what we did.”
Don’t miss “Idol Party Live” at 10 p.m. Thursday on MTV.com, following the “American Idol” results show, for analysis, celebrity guests and even some karaoke. In the meantime, get your “Idol” fix on MTV News’ “American Idol” page , where you’ll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.