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Ghost Canyon

Kimberly Caldwell Kimberly Caldwell

'No Regrets - Just Ink!'

Named one of ten "Top Musicians to Watch in 2010" by NY Post, Kimberly Caldwell is already proving that she can live up to the expectations.

The Vanguard/Capitol Records artist recently made her national TV debut appearance performing the first single, "Mess of You," from her forthcoming album, 'Without Regret', and currently is putting together plans for a tour of North America.

Entertainment Weekly wrote, "It's taken Season 2's husky-voiced finalist almost seven years to complete her debut disc, but guitar-driven tracks like the ear-candy lead-single 'Mess of You' make it definitely worth the wait."

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with KIMBERLY CALDWELL and we discussed many things - like her pre-American Idol days, those hectic AI days themselves, her new album, and of course, ... Penguins!

Early Days:
Taking it from the top, and knowing that you were a five-time junior vocalist winner on Star Search, what can you remember most about those younger days, winning all those trophies? "I kicked off my career at the age of five in beauty pageants and was always drawn to the talent category. I loved performing on a stage so Star Search was like my "American Idol" back then. I was a mega fan of the show and I'm still proud today that I broke the record for most number of wins for Junior Vocalists ever on the original Ed McMahon version of the show. Mickey Mouse Club was taped in the studio next door so Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, and Ryan Gosling used to sit front row to watch. I'll always remember the cowboy boots my mom spray painted silver that I wore almost every show. Must have been my lucky charm."

In 1995 you sang at the 50th wedding anniversary of former President George H. W. Bush and Barbara Bush. Just how did that all come about and did you get to meet them too? "A good friend and amazing supporter of mine that was in the industry landed this gig for me. I was not only very nervous, but very sick and made my Mom hold my hand until right before I walked onto the Grande Ole Opry stage. As well as hanging with the Bush family, I also met and shared the stage with some of my favorite artists like Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Lorrie Morgan and The Oak Ridge Boys. Unforgettable experience. I made Barbara cry. Go me!"

American Idol:
Having placed 7th in the second season of American Idol, in reflection, does your time on the show now seem ages ago? And, honestly, to your mind, was seventh a fair end result for you at the time? "It seems like a lifetime ago, but I know I wasn't nearly as focused as I should have been compared to my childhood performances and especially to my dedication to music now. I didn't realize what was at stake. I'm lucky I made it into the top ten and formed so many lasting relationships through the show that have helped me remain working steadily in LA ever since."

During that second season of AI, with all the cameras/paparazzi on you at your every turn, did you ever wonder what you had gotten yourself into? "I have always had such an amazing support group of people in my life like my mom, grandma, sisters and friends, so I really missed having them during this time. While on the show, we were all in the "idol bubble" and had no idea how many people were so obsessed with the show. We were household names and never even knew it until we went on tour. Craziness! The cameras and pap just kinda come with the job so I just try not to allow it to get to me and just live my life."

After the American Idols Live! tour, you went on to record two singles - 'Fear Of Flying' and 'Gave Yourself Away' - but no album. Being that you were in the primetime headlights of the American Idol fan worship for you, why didn't you bring an album out then to benefit from it? "The day after Idol, I landed a job on Fox Sports as a correspondent which led to a long running gig on TV Guide Network then onto MTV. For the last few years, I was so involved with being a television host and other TV that I couldn't make the proper amount of time to create an album so now it's solely about the the songwriting and music. It's where I feel I'm meant to be."

Without Regret:
Come today, 2010, and you are finally releasing your debut album, Without Regret. Please tell us about what went into the creating of this album (any personal stories now heard within the lyrics), how much of the writing was down to you, and what turned out to be your favorite track? "I sat down and wrote enough songs for an entire album and my demos were what ultimately landed me the record deal with Vanguard and Capitol records. When word got out that I was doing my album, we received hits from some of my favorite writers like Diane Warren, Kara DioGuardi, and Chad Kroeger (Nickelback)."

"I knocked some of my tunes aside for the opportunity to sing some of the industry's best work. These people are who inspired me to write about my personal experiences with so much emotion. One of the songs that was intended to go on the album that I wrote about the empowering women in my life, wound up with the lyrics tattooed on my back on LA Ink last week by Kat Von D."

WOW! What a great album cover photo! Can you tell us more about this shoot, the powerful look on your face, and how much hairspray was used for the creation of this artistic shot! "My friend and photographer Matt Beard showed me a wedding he shot at Union Station and I knew when I saw the vintage chairs and staircase in the photos, that I couldn't settle for anywhere else for my big day. Matt and my glam squad took over the location and ran through probably 2 cans of hairspray during the process. There were so many people staring at me like I was a crazy person all decked out in a ripped up tutu on the floor so it was pretty hysterical. I love the artwork inside albums so much. My vision really came to life and it was a very special day that I'll always remember."

Also, I note you have a tattoo on your left leg (bottom, by foot) - what is it of and do you have any others on you, perhaps? "I now have 7 tattoos after my LA Ink taping. The fallen angel on my leg represents my best friend I lost in highschool. One of my favorites is my moms name (Carla J) on my foot and people always ask if it says "Carls Jr." Gets a good laugh everytime."

Inside Info:
If asked to record one for charity, what '80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today...and why? "I'm obsessed with Pat Benatar's "Shadows of the Night." When I start touring, I would love to add that to my setlist. I also did a tribute to Melissa Etheridge on my album by covering her song "Sleep While I Drive" because she has been such a major influence in my career."

Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves you? "Hell yeah! The penguins in 'Madagascar' are my heroes!"

Interviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

And if Exclusive Magazine readers are interested in winning a SIGNED new CD from Kimberly, stay tuned to this interviw page - as the opportunity to win one will be posted very shortly!

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