James Durbin’s debut album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, featuring the singles, “Stand Up,” and “Love Me Bad,” was released today (November 21, 2011) via Wind-Up Records. Mr. Durbin took some time to speak with us recently to discuss the new album and give us an update of things to come.
Type 3 Media: We had a chance to listen to your upcoming album, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster, and are impressed with how well you are able to change vocal style from song to song; did you find that challenging at all?
James Durbin: Not so much. Honestly, there are so many diverse different styles of music and different artists that I find myself singing in the car. It’s pretty easy to jump from a song like “Higher Than Heaven,” which is a very hard rock song, to a song like “Right Behind You,” which is more dramatic, and into a song like “May,” which is so emotional and still very big.
Type 3 Media: How did you like working with Mick Mars?
James Durbin: Mick Mars is unbelievable. It was really cool. He plays on the song called “Outcast,” which is written by my favorite band outside the United States, Hardcore Superstar. They’re from Sweden. The song is so much fun, and just having Mick in the studio and singing to him playing guitar — it just brought even more energy into it. It’s a very very energetic song, and it’s one of the most fun songs to play live. It’s just a song where I’m on my feet jumping up and down and dancin’ like a fool.
Type 3 Media: What was the most valuable thing you learned from the experience?
James Durbin: You’re never too old to rock. There are so many guys out there that have been doing it since they were my age, and they’re still doing it, and they’re onwards and upwards. The soul that they have is still the soul of a nineteen year-old. It’s always fun being around that — being there, being a part of it, and getting to experience that moment.
Type 3 Media: Did you have any challenges recording the album?
James Durbin: Well my voice — as with anytime in the studio where you’re singing the song over and over, I probably sang each song fifteen times throughout to get the best one. I warmed my voice up on each song to get the very very best one. On a couple of occasions, my voice did drop out, and we had to cut the day abruptly and come in the next day to finish it off. That’s probably the only challenge.
Type 3 Media: Is there one song on the album that you feel most connected to?
James Durbin: It’s probably a tie between “Higher Than Heaven” and “Right Behind You.” “Higher Than Heaven” is a song that’s about my life before I met my fiancée Heidi. I was going down, I wasn’t going anywhere, and as soon as I met her everything changed. My analogy for it is I have a pocket watch set to the time of my life, and my pocket watch was losing numbers, and the numbers were falling off just to the bottom. It’s almost as if there was no where else to go. Heidi is now my pocket watch and it’s as if nothing in my life before the moment that I met her mattered.
Type 3 Media: There’s been a lot of talk about you getting married; have you and Heidi set a date yet?
James Durbin: Yes we have, but it’s top secret.
Type 3 Media: Since the start of American Idol to present day, what is your fondest memory of this whole experience?
James Durbin: Hmmm. Wow. I don’t know, I don’t think about that a lot. Probably not as much as I should.
Type 3 Media: Any touring plans in the works?
James Durbin: I’m doing a couple dates during the second week of December. First in Lawrence, Kansas on December 8th, and then in Memphis, Tennessee on December 10th. We’re currently mapping out the tour for early 2012.
Type 3 Media: How does it make you feel when people tell you that you’re an inspiration for their child or family member who has Tourette or Asperger’s syndrome?
James Durbin: It really humbled me. Whenever I hear someone tell me that, it actually inspires me. Just the thought of someone being inspired by me or taking something from me and be able to use it in their life, it’s pretty unbelievable. I’d like to tell those people that they’re not alone, because I’m just as inspired by them battling through their struggles.
Type 3 Media: You recently wrapped up the American Idol tour; what are three essential things you had to have with you while on the road?
James Durbin: One would be my phone to call Heidi and to call Hunter. Another would be my iPod, it has all the music I need to get through the tough days, and the hard days of really missing them. And it also has my Skype on there so I can Skype with them at the arenas every day. Third would be some good old fashioned wrestling DVDs.
Type 3 Media: You are a big fan of wrestling aren’t you?
James Durbin: Yeah, I was actually able to get the guys into watching wrestling. Days that I wouldn’t even think to put wrestling on because I wanted to sit back and relax, the guys would come to me, Casey [Abrams], Scotty [McCreery], Stefano [Langone], and Paul [McDonald], and be like “hey, got any good wrestling we can watch?” Mission accomplished.
Type 3 Media: Any final thoughts?
James Durbin: I just can’t wait to get out there and start playing. It’s crazy going from every week in front of the cameras playing for 30,000 people, and now I’m like begging for that again. I love being onstage. I love singing and performing, and doing what I love being a working musician, supporting myself and supporting my family from it. It’s all that I’ve wanted to do and I can’t wait to get back out there with a band.