Daughtry prepping new album next month
By Ann Donahue
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Chris Daughtry is famous -- hard not to be, what with the "American Idol" thing and the heartthrob thing and Grammy Award nomination thing and the gazillion records sold thing.
But he still tries to be a normal guy. He runs errands when he's home in North Carolina; a favorite pastime is taking his kids to the movies. And it was when he saw "Alvin and the Chipmunks" in the theater with his children that he realized his life had reached the point where weird is the new normal.
"Whoa! Whoa! This chipmunk is oversinging my song," he says with a wince, recalling the dog-whistle-octave stylings of Alvin on "Feels Like Tonight" in the film. "There were runs everywhere. I didn't even know what it was until the chorus."
It's been an impressive couple of years for Daughtry, both the man and the band, which includes Josh Steely on lead guitar, Brian Craddock on rhythm guitar, Josh Paul on bass and Joey Barnes on drums. The group's self-titled first album sold 4.4 million copies since its release in November 2006, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 and eventually hit No. 1 after nine weeks.
The album was a perfect storm of the commercial and the creative. It paired Daughtry's gigantic fan base from "American Idol" -- on which he was the fifth season's fourth-place finalist in 2006 -- with the set's instantly winning "Guitar Hero"-worthy guitar riffs and lyrics.
The group's second album, "Leave This Town," set for release July 14, gets a leg up from this foundation; it's another record full of songs that make you want to roll down the car windows and bust a vocal cord or two while trying to match Daughtry's gravelly wail. But there's one key change to the music: Daughtry -- the band -- created this album, instead of it being the work of Daughtry the brand.
The first album was created on the run with session musicians, while Daughtry was touring on the annual "American Idol" summer trek.
"Leave This Town," by contrast, was a much more collaborative process that came together in a couple of months, without any deadline pressure from the label. Continued...