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20 Questions: Elliott Yamin

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009
by PopMatters Staff
Former drug store clerk Elliott Yamin scored high on the American Idol charts. His first album, Elliott Yamin (Hickory, March 2007) went gold in the US and Japan, and was the highest independent debut for a new artist on the Billboard charts. His sophomore album, Fight for Love, released this month.
cover art

Elliott Yamin

Fight for Love

(Hickroy; US: 5 May 2009)

1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
Tuesdays With Morrie.  It’s a great story about finding yourself and what really matters in life.


2. The fictional character most like you?
Don’t really know any fictional characters, or at least followed any. So I don’t really know what each one does or stands for.  Never really got into any animated shows or cartoons.


3. The greatest album, ever?
Donny Hathaway’s i>These Song For You Live!’. Stevie Wonders’ Signed, Sealed and Delivered and Marvin Gayes’ I Want You album are tied for a close second place!
  
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Neither.  I never liked Star Trek or Star Wars.


5. Your ideal brain food?
Nutri Grain Bars, Little Debbie Strawberry Shortcake Rolls and Wassabi Almonds.


6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
Making it all the way to #3 on American Idol, because it enabled me to record a certified Gold album my first time out! It also enabled me to buy my first house.


I am extremely fortunate and grateful to have fans that support me and my music. They’ve helped me accomplish all of the goals that I’ve been setting for myself over the past three years!


7. You want to be remembered for…?
I want to be remembered for treating others with decency and respect, no matter what, and for using my “celebrity” platform to do what I can to help make this world a better place, whether it’s handing out malaria bed nets in Africa, talking to kids at diabetes camps, or lobbying for more diabetes research funding on capitol hill.


8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
My mom, my brother Scott, Stevie Wonder, and Magic Johnson.


9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
I’ve always secretly wished that I invented the “Sham-WOW!”, just so I can kick my spiel better, louder and be a little more annoying than that guy on the commercials.


10. Your hidden talents…?
I play basketball exceptionally well; I’m quick on the draw with my hairdryer; and I make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich!


11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
“Go try out for American Idol, you have absolutely nothing to lose!”, per my friends, and “You should definitely pursue music as a career,” per Stevie Wonder.


12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
Well during my teenage years, I used to steal trading cards and sell them at the flea market every weekend. I pulled some classic cards out of packs every now and again.


The best thing I ever bought was my recently purchased house in Los Angeles.


13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or…?
William Rast and Juicy Couture are actually my favorite jeans, but I’m down with Levi’s too! T-shirts, and my chucks. And I love a good hat, but I’m trying to wear them less and less these days. I need to start showing off my Jewish curls/fro a little more. Haha!


14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Barack Obama, right after we finish working up an appetite on the basketball court!


15. Time travel: where, when and why?
Back in the ‘60s or 70s, when Motown was poppin’ and music was pure; when real singers sang and real musicians played!


16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation or Prozac?
Definitely a spa vacation. I likes to get my chillax on.


17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or…?
I’m a coffee fiend! I can’t go anywhere, much less live, without my insulin pump, and I’m a big Anaheim Angels fan, so needless to say, my rally monkey goes everywhere I go.


18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Tokyo or Nashville, but honestly, I could live and adapt in any environment. 


Eventually I’d love to build a home of my own in the countryside just outside of my hometown of Richmond, Virginia.


19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
I would ask our current president to be honest with us and to be accountable.  It’s time for a change. Utilize the tools and resources we have to cure diseases and every citizen should be entitled to health care, no matter their financial situation and every school in America should have a music program!


20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
Promoting my sophomore album which came out May fifth, Fight for Love, and touring Japan for three weeks in June, then coming back to the states and touring through the fall.


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