Chris Daughtry says he never really worried that his big shot at a music career slipped out of his grasp when he was voted off “American Idol” by the audience last season — despite initially being considered a front-runner for the title.
“I didn’t feel like that,” Daughtry says. “It was definitely a shock to me at that moment in time. You’re in a contest and you get to a point where you want to win it. That’s why you got in it. And then when that didn’t happen it was like ‘Oh!’ So you have to kind of rethink your game plan a little bit.”
Inside, Daughtry knew that all was not lost, but he certainly couldn’t have known how much losing the way he did on “Idol” was going to do for his rock ’n’ roll career.
The dust had not even settled before it became clear just how big an impression he had made on the show.
“It took me about two days to get over it,” Daughtry says. “I was like, ‘You know what? Keep going with it and move on.’ Next thing you know, Clive Davis wanted to meet with me, and the rest is history.”
Davis is, of course, is the head of RCA Records and one of the music industry’s legendary executives. He’s had huge success in signing other “Idol” finalists, including Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken and Fantasia Barrino. He recognized that the groundswell of support for Daughtry — and the publicity that surrounded his departure from the “Idol” competition — made the singer a hot commodity.
Just months after that defining moment on “Idol” last May, Daughtry and Davis have come out smelling like the proverbial rose. Daughtry’s self-titled first CD debuted at No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s album charts, and took just five weeks after its Nov. 21 release to sell 1 million copies.
Daughtry, a 27-year-old native of Roanoke Rapids, N.C., certainly offers the kind of rags-to-riches story for which “American Idol” is known.
Daughtry had been playing rhythm guitar and singing in bands around his home state, but he knew his opportunities to make a name for himself were limited by where he lived and his family situation. He and his wife, Deanna, have a son and daughter of their own, along with an adopted son and a daughter from Deanna’s previous marriage.
“It was very difficult to get the exposure that I needed to make it where I was from,” Daughtry says. “Having a family and everything, I wasn’t exactly financially able to just get in a van and see what happens.”
Deanna for years had suggested that her husband audition for “American Idol.” Daughtry, whose own bands had a mainstream hard rock sound, wasn’t that fired up over the idea.
“I always thought it was a little corny for what I was trying to do. I didn’t think it would cater to the rock community,” he says.
Two years ago, though, word went out about a new television series, “Rock Star: INXS,” a contest to choose a new singer for the veteran Australian band. This show seemed to make more sense for Daughtry and his music, but he didn’t make the cut. So he decided to audition for “American Idol” after all.
The dozen songs on the “Daughtry” CD — all but two of which were written or cowritten by the singer — find him staking out a melodic mainstream rock sound similar to that of 3 Doors Down, Nickelback and Creed.
The “Daughtry” CD is made up of sturdy rockers with big choruses (“It’s Not Over,” “Home” and “Over You”), along with an occasional ballad like “All These Lives” and one especially heavy track (“What I Want”) that features a guest guitar solo from Slash of Velvet Revolver and Guns N’ Roses.
If you go
Where: The Clubhouse Music Venue, 1320 E. Broadway Road, Tempe
When: 7 p.m. today
Cost: $20 Info: (480) 968-3238, www.clubhousemusicvenue.com