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American Idol 2009 - Matt Giraud American Idol 2009 - Matt Giraud

'The Piano Man Cometh!'

Matt Giraud is a 23-year old contestant on the eighth season of American Idol. He hails from Ypsilanti, MI.

Giraud is a life-long resident of Michigan. He graduated from Western Michigan University in 2007 and has made a living as a dueling piano player that sings and plays in local clubs and hotels.

Following a stellar Wild Card performance, the singer moved on to the finals. All four judges agreed that he deserved a spot there.

He was the beneficiary of the first-ever "judges' save," after he received the lowest number of viewer votes during movie song week, but was spared from elimination by Simon and company.

Exclusive Magazine had the recent pleasure of speaking with hometown boy Matt about the A.I. tour, his upcoming solo tour, ... and, of course, his upcoming debut CD!

So just how does one go from growing up in Ypsilanti, MI (or, as Matt calls it, Ypstucky!) to the kind of fame that you are experiencing now?! “No idea,” he laughs. “Reality TV. I always kinda knew I would be there I just never knew how. It’s like you see yourself somewhere but you just don’t know how to get there. I used to always imagine myself playing for 10,000+ people. Yeah, so now when I go out there every night on this tour I say to them that now I imagine all you guys are here just for me.”

"Of course there are fans out there for the all of us, but if they’re not I’m coming out there to convince them that they were there for me,” he laughs again.

You came 5th in the Idol competition so in reflection - do you believe that was a fair assumption of what you had originally perceived to be your final position before the show started? “Yeah, with a save. But, yeah, I’m just fine with that. I mean, obviously we all would like to get further. I would loved to have done that Top 3 thing and go home and do the big home story. But you know, I did a hometown thing where 7,000 people came out. It was amazing. The fans in MI were amazing.”

“But 5th place, yeah, I’m happy with that. I think a lot of people in 5th place have gone on to do very well in their careers.”

Is it true you already have a solo tour lined up for January of 2010, kicking of in Grand Rapids?! “Well, it’s not a tour, but I’m booking headlining shows. That show in Grand Rapids is my first booked show. I’m actually booking things before that right now.”

Your favorite quote is: ‘You are your own worst critic’! So what’s the worst thing you’ve ever said about yourself, and were you right?! “I just really sucked right there,” he loudly laughs. “Or, that was horrible even for me to listen to! We all had moments where we were kinda picky with ourselves. We’ve had to judge ourselves a lot on this show and deal with a lot of that stuff. I used to be a very tough critic, but these days I’m a little more confident. More consistent. No pressures. No judges. No cameras. I feel like I’m really in my zone. Like I’m showing people that it’s really different for me up there.”

You were a dueling piano player before this whole American Idol gig blew up - have you gone back to that job since, and if not, do you miss it? “Actually, we’re doing that tonight in the show … me and Scott duel. But back in the bars, no, I hope not. That’s how I got my start. So, to play arenas and then go back to the piano bar would be like er, what happened?!”

So, when can we expect your debut CD - and how is it musically forming? “I’m actually in the middle of a lot of different talks with entertainment lawyers. I’m just seeing what kind of things are out there and who’s interested. Either way I’m gonna get a great EP together. I think I’d like to see myself put like four or five songs out on iTunes ad just get them out there. So that people can really see what kind of artist I’m gonna be. People know I can do a lot of different styles but I want to show them exactly what kind of artist I want to be. I wanna go for that rock/soul kinda stuff.”

Who do you share a tour bus with? “All the guys,” he answers, gently shaking his head. “Anoop’s on the bunk above me and Scott’s below me.”

Who’s got the most secrets on that boy bus? “They probably think I’m the most secretive! I don’t have any secrets it’s just more fun that way,” he laughs.

And who’s the messiest? “I think Danny’s the messiest. He’s always leaving wrappers and bottles around, but he’s getting better.”

Simon said that he thought you were ‘absolutely brilliant’ - given that he can be such an ass most of the times with his comments, being up there on stage and hearing his words how do/did you manage to control your inner euphoria when confronted by such heady compliments? “Yeah, especially on your last night,” he replies quickly and adamantly. “And I got voted off the next day,” he now laughs. ”I was very happy but I kinda knew. But, all I could think was who gets to out on a really good note. Normally it’s, ‘That was your worst performance’ and their done. For me, that was a nice way to go out. I feel I bowed out gracefully!”

How's the tour working our for you? “I’m having a great time every night, the show’s great. I’m all good. I’m just kinda looking towards the future. I can’t wait to see what happens, you know. I’m anxious, a little nervous. It’s like a little limbo period where you’re kinda getting pushed out of the nest a little bit. You’ve got to spread your wings and fly man.”

Interview: Russell A. Trunk

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