I find that it’s hard to ignore talent. The main reason I continue to watch American Idol after all these years is to see what each season’s crop of talent brings to the table. This season we were introduced to 23-year-old Tim Halperin, a singer-songwriter from Fort Worth, TX. After making it through to Hollywood Week, Halperin moved on next to the Vegas round where he had a stellar, standout performance, which helped take him to through the Top 24.
After falling short of making the Top 13 this past week, Halperin headed home to Omaha, NE to be with his family. He graciously took the time to chat with me over the phone this weekend about his American Idol experience.
I know it’s been only a couple days, but how is post-Idol life treating you?
It’s good. It’s a transition, for sure. It’s crazy going from being on the number one TV show in America to being back in reality. I feel like I’ve had a smooth transition for the most part.
How did you first get your start in music?
I grew up just loving music, started taking piano lessons at six-years-old. In middle school, I started playing with the worship team at church, and then eventually started playing with bands in high school. And when I went off to college at TCU, I had started recording and playing some more shows. Then I graduated from TCU here in May.
Wow, so you’re fresh out of college?
Yeah, timing-wise it was really perfect for Idol to happen.
So, when did you really start working on your songwriting?
It was about during my sophomore year of high school I believe when I wrote my first kind of serious song. It was really slow at first. You know, I’d write a couple here. When I got to college, I just started writing some more. I played a talent show my sophomore year of college, and people were wondering when I was going to release some of the songs that I had written. And I was like, maybe that’s a good idea. Maybe I should do a short CD. I recorded a five track CD and put it up on iTunes by the winter of my sophomore year in college. That led me to keep songwriting.
And songwriting you know, is just like anything else; the more practice you have, the better you get. I feel like I really started figuring out who I was as an artist and who I wanted to be in the last year and a half or so. I started to write a lot more and started to feel where I was headed.
When you’re working on a song, do you start with the lyrics or do you start with the melody first?
I usually start with lyrics first. I’m not the type of person that has you know, two hours every day I’m going to song write. I usually feel just the urge to write. Either I’m going through something personally, emotionally or I’m affected by people around me who are going through something. Or I notice something I never have before, it’s usually kind of an epiphany type thing. But I try and really embrace whenever those moments happen and make time, make space for me to sit down and write.
Where have you been drawing musical inspiration from lately?
I think after I settle down and transition back into my daily life, I’m going to pull a lot of inspiration from the journey I’ve been on with American Idol. It’s funny, the songs I was writing before Idol happened, I had one song called, “Crash Course to Hollywood.” That song was just about me coming to terms with after college I wanted to pursue music and give it a shot for a couple of years. So that’s where that song came from, and of course any kind of relationship that I’ve had. I’m single right now, so it’s kind of been this whole transition out of college is where I’ve been drawing my inspiration lately.
Very cool, now switching gears over to Idol, you tried out in L.A., right?
I did. I actually tried out on MySpace.
That makes a little more sense to me, because when I was looking back at your journey on the show prior to talking to you today, I was wondering why you had tried out in L.A., because you’re not from L.A.
Yeah, that’s funny, because they went through Austin. I actually tried out for Idol three years ago when they went through Omaha. I hadn’t really figured out who I was as an artist, and I hadn’t had as near the amount of performance experience on stage. I was really nervous and the audition didn’t go very well. I was kind of content on not trying out ever again. Someone I respected, who also plays music, called me up and said, ‘Hey, they’re doing MySpace auditions. You might as well send in a webcam video.’
Had you been a fan of the show before trying out?
Was I an Idol fan? Um…no. [laughs] Especially if you play music, and I was booking my own shows and recording my record, you kind of look at that show and go, ‘That’s not fair. Those people are getting all this free exposure,’ and here I am working my tail off.
I never really watched [the show]. I wasn’t the biggest Idol fan. But now after going through it, it’s so legit. The people that they have working with you are incredible.
Continue reading Catching Up With Tim Halperin, Part One