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> Another Interview Mostly About The Show
iluvanthonyf
post Jan 21st 2009, 7:47 PM
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Sanjaya to promote new book on Long Island

Hair today, gone tomorrow? That's not the case for Sanjaya Malakar, the Season 6 "American Idol" finalist as well known for the weekly restyling of his tresses (ponyhawk, anyone?) as his musical performances. He was the darling of the preteen set, culminating in the memorable hysterics of "crying girl" Ashley Ferl. And, along with Chris Daughtry and Jennifer Hudson, he is among a handful of former "Idol" contestants who are as well-known as the people who actually won the competition.

Last week we chatted with the well-spoken 19-year-old, who now lives in a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan's Upper East Side, about his just- released book and five-song EP, both titled "Dancing to the Music In My Head." On Saturday Sanjaya will do a book signing at Book Revue (313 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-271-1442; bookrevue.com) at 7 p.m.

On "Idol," you appeared to be a fairly shy and quiet guy. What is it about you that caused you to become such a phenomenon and household name?

It's kind of hard to answer. I've heard "you're really relatable, you're really real." People were able to connect with me. I was a lot more shy on the show than I am normally. When I'm in a group of friends, I'm usually the loudest. Going on the show showed me how to step outside myself, so that I could connect with me, connect with the audience [IT TAUGHT ME]how to interact with the audience better, draw them in and connect with them.

Did the "Idol" staff give you direction on how to connect with the audience?

Well, they give you a little advice about techniques you can do. But it comes through the experience. As I progressed on the show, every day there were new things ... There was a lot of self reflection.

Some things come with good and bad. What are the good things about fame?


The opportunities to be able to have influence. I'm really into the green movement - my Mom is into nutrition and organic foods, natural foods, recycling - so to be able to have that platform and be recognizable and bring attention to this. [Fame also lets you] have respect as an artist and be able to achieve your dream

And the worst things about fame?


Going into it, you expect it to be a lot different. It's really a gradual process. While you're on the show you're treated really well. You feel like a movie star. As soon as you're off the show, well, then there was the tour, but right after that you're on your own. You forget that you have to work and that it's a job. My favorite part [OF THE JOB]is the music part, not the business part. But the pros outweigh the cons.

You have a five-song EP that came out this week, in conjunction with the book. Did you write or co-write any of the songs on the EP?

I cowrote all of them. I made it a point to be really involved in the development of each song. My sister [Shyamali Malakar] and cousin helped to write some songs, as well. It's been a really incredible journey. The book and EP are kind of surreal.

What's your favorite song on the EP?


"Rainy Days" is my favorite song because the lyrics and music were written by me, my sister and my cousin.

Have you been booked to appear on "Idol" to perform something from the EP?

Not yet. I've been keeping up with it ["American Idol"], but I haven't been able to watch it religiously. I saw a little bit of the beginning of the premiere [THIS WEEK]but then Jordin called me. She happened to be in New York and we went out to dinner.

Would you want to make a guest appearance on the show?

Of course. They're the ones who made it all happen. Leaving the staff, the ones you don't see who work behind the scenes, was the main thing I was upset about with being cut. They were like family.

What was your favorite song that you performed on "Idol"?

"Besame Mucho." I don't speak Spanish and I had to learn it in a week, which was a challenge beyond just learning a song. The Spanish version is a song of desperation. The English and Spanish versions are very different and it changed my perspective on how I was going to perform it.

Who was your favorite mentor on "Idol" and why?

Tony Bennett I was most excited to meet but the rest I was excited about. They really sat down with you and helped you. With Jennifer Lopez, I kind of expected her to be a little bit of a diva, but she was totally down to earth. She spent more time on why lyrics are so important and she really explained exactly what you had to do to get your point across. Gwen Stefani focused more on performance. I've always been a huge No Doubt and Gwen Stefani fan. It was interesting to see these people for who they actually are. You get a different perspective of them.

Who have you remained close to from your "Idol" class and still keep in touch with?


Jordin, Haley Scarnato. I went to LaKisha Jones' wedding. I didn't make it to Gina Glocksen's wedding, but we've kept in touch. It seems we all genuinely cared about each other, as artists and people. I was the least experienced professionally in our group, but I got a lot of help by the more experienced people. I'm really glad I tried out at 16. I turned 18 the last week of the tour. My mother wanted me to wait until I was 17 to try out.

In retrospect, do you think you should have waited until you were 17?

No. I probably wouldn't have made it as far [in the competition]. Having my mom there [because I was considered a minor] really helped. She was definitely a mother hen. Just seeing her making sure everything was good for me, it motivated me to further myself. On tour, I had my sister there. [If I had auditioned a year later] I would have been on my own.

What do you like to do in you "noncelebrity" life?

I just got a puppy. His name is Luciano, he's half-French bulldog, half-Scottie.

What does your hair look like these days?


It's the longest it's ever been in my entire life. It's a little longer than my shoulders.


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post Jan 21st 2009, 7:47 PM


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BroadwayxBabe
post Jan 21st 2009, 7:56 PM
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Aww I'm so glad that he kept in touch with a bunch of the other Idols original.gif and I had no idea he moved to Manhattan! He's only like an hour away from me now wub.gif wub.gif


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iluvanthonyf
post Jan 21st 2009, 8:13 PM
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QUOTE(BroadwayxBabe @ Jan 21st 2009, 7:56 PM) *

Aww I'm so glad that he kept in touch with a bunch of the other Idols original.gif and I had no idea he moved to Manhattan! He's only like an hour away from me now wub.gif wub.gif

I didn't either I knew he was in NY, but I didn't know he lived there I thought he still lived in LA. He's around 2 hours from me. I live in boring old PA. sleep_1.gif


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digigirl02
post Apr 30th 2010, 8:34 PM
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Great interview. I liked it alot.


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