The beauty of American Idol, other than seeing people purposefully make fools of their non-singing abilities through those first few episodes of any season, is that it affords aspiring singers the power to get noticed. In such a hard-to-even-get-through-the-door kind of industry, so just telling people your name is a big boost.
For Season Seven early round reject Josiah Leming that exposure worked but only on his terms. Show producers recognized his talents, but Leming soon realized that the show was merely “gloried karoake” and that if he really wanted to make his own music he could no longer do it on American Idol.
While the details of the fallout are sketchy, the Tennessee native’s dreams are coming to fruition with the release of his debut EP Angels Undercover.
One of nine children, Leming dropped out of high school at 17 to pursue music, and he has no regrets. “It’s the only thing I want to do. I’d rather die in a ditch somewhere than not be able to make music. There are no other options for me. Music is my way of getting things out. It has saved my live many times” (press release).
Leming’s EP teaser reveals the moodiness and rebelliousness that he felt during the lifetime of growing up in rural Morristown, Tennessee. He externalizes much of this pent-up rage and any feelings of inadequacy in the anthem “Theysay” through an initial satisfactory softness but later fuming explosion in the repeating lyrics “they can burn in hell.”
One of the continual battles Leming fights is whether to convey his confused emotions either passively or aggressively. The pseudo-ballad “This Cigar” divulges the alternative road many of us go down to fight or indulge our personal demons, through the inhales and exhales of cigarettes or the sips and gulps of alcohol. That might seem like the easiest and cliché solution, but the alternatives (“To Run”) aren’t so attractive either.
It’s unfortunate that Leming had to live with hardships because his situation isn’t all that different from millions of others. Fortunately for Leming, he found the one outlet that he could escape from those very pains and reach out to others so they can search and find their own way out.
The semiautobiographical title track bares his life in a brief but passionate nutshell. The future struggles with his family and his faith are there for all to see. It’s quite uneasy to hear such distress (“There’s a place that’s filled with flames / And it’s calling out my name / Cause I don’t believe in heaven”), but there is solace in knowing that Leming has found his voice.
[photo via Sneak Attack Media]
- 1. Arctic Outcry Wind
2. Angels Undercover
4. This Cigar
5. To Run