When Candice Glover, 23, won American Idol in May, her life was for ever changed. The instant fame of the show made Glover a household name like it did Fantasia Burrino and Jennifer Hudson in 2004 and Jordin Sparks in 2007. Although the competition was stiff, millions of Americans voted Glover to the top—ultimately beating out competitors Angie Miller and runner-up Kree Harrison.
As the St. Helena Island, South Carolina native moves forward with her career, she’s preparing to release her debut album, Music Speaks, on July 16th. ESSENCE.com caught up with her to chat about her new album, handling fame and all the drama with the judges.
ESSENCE.com: You’re in the studio now recording your debut album, Music Speaks. Tell us about the album’s flavor.
CANDICE GLOVER: The songs I’ve recorded so far are definitely R&B. Some of them remind me of songs you’d listen to in the summer. I also have some love songs that I’m doing. I sat down once with Mark Heist and we wrote some stuff together. I have some stuff lined up from some really well-known people who are really great at writing so I’m looking forward to getting into that.
ESSENCE.com: Who do you want to guest star on your album?
GLOVER: If Jazmine Sullivan could be on my album, I would die! I love her and she’s one of the best artists I’ve ever listened to in my whole life! I also love Brandy, Kelly Price and Drake. All of those artists are supporting me. That’s why it’s a dream because I look up to all of them, but I would never ask them to be on my album. I don’t know how the game works yet, but I would like to have all of them on there.
ESSENCE.com: What is it like to become famous over night?
GLOVER: People always consider me famous but I don’t consider myself famous. It feels weird. I’m still the same person. [Stardom] is more than I could have ever imagined. I never thought that I would give out autographs, take pictures with people and have them want me to sign a piece of paper for them. It’s awkward but I’m having fun and enjoying it.
ESSENCE.com: Have you had any of those never-before-seen cousins and friends come out of the woodworks?
GLOVER: Yes, definitely. There are people that I’ve never seen in my whole life and I’ll even call my mom. It’s so weird and I feel bad. But at the same time I’m like, ‘I’m sorry but I don’t know you.’
ESSENCE.com: When you won, who was one of the first celebrities to call and congratulate you on your success?
GLOVER: I didn’t get any calls, but I got tweets. Kelly Price tweeted me congratulations and I love her. Jazmine Sullivan is my favorite singer and she tweeted it and Drake told me congratulations. Boris Kodjoe’s been behind me this whole season. All of them, they’ve just been so supportive and I look up to all of them.
ESSENCE.com: The judges’ panel often made headlines—sometimes more than the contestants. How did that make you feel?
GLOVER: That was crazy. Most of the time I get so nervous before I go out and perform that I’m not paying attention to what’s going on. There were TVs backstage and people were like ‘Oh my gosh did you just hear what Mariah said to Nicki?’ and I’ll go to the bathroom. I try my hardest not to pay attention to what’s going on because I’m so focused on my performance. Most of the time I didn’t really pay much attention.
ESSENCE.com: You performed with Jennifer Hudson on the show. Did she give you any advice?
GLOVER: She told me to just pace myself, drink a lot of water, rest my voice and stay focused. I really look up to her. And even though she didn’t win, her career is amazing. That’s a career I would like to model mine’s after if I could. To have her tell me those things is really crazy because she’s so successful.