"American Idol" finalist Elliott Yamin says "Mabuhay!" to the Philippines

by Nerisa Almo
Sep 25, 2007
American Idol Season 5 finalist Elliott Yamin admits he hardly dreamed about traveling to places like the Philippines or other Asian countries. A grateful Elliot says, "Thanks for giving me the opportunity to travel all over. That's a very special thing to me, to be able to share my music."

A few hours after his arrival in the country last Friday, September 21, Elliott Yamin met the Philippine press at the Glorietta Activity Center for a chat and to promote his shows in the country.

The second runner-up in the last season of American Idol (AI) admitted that he had no formal training in singing. In fact, the presscon's host Ryan Agoncillo—who hosted Philippine Idol Season 1—noted that just like most Filipinos, Elliott honed his singing skills through karaoke.

"When I was doing karaoke, one of my favorites in [a] karaoke bar is "If You Really Love Me" by Stevie Wonder," revealed Elliott.

The American Idol Season 5 finalist was known for his rendition of Leon Russel's "A Song For You," which Simon Cowell described as a "vocal masterclass." When asked to name his favorite song, Elliott said he couldn't limit it to just one song but in the end, he picked "I Love You More Than You'll Ever Know."

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LIFE AFTER AMERICAN IDOL. Elliott confessed that his life changed dramatically when he became one of the finalists in American Idol. He was grateful that after the finals, opportunities opened for him to have a true career in his life by singing.

"In my whole life, I experienced working in different places—washing dishes, selling sneakers—having all kinds of menial jobs. They helped [me] keep my responsibilities. They helped make me who I am today," narrated Elliott.

"I think the main...what I appreciate the most is actually that I have a career in an industry where it's truly hard to establish myself. I was lucky enough to make it as far as I did on American Idol. I also capitalize on this exposure that I gained."

Aside from pursuing his music career, Elliott is also supporting the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to help other people suffering from diabetes, like himself.

Elliott said, "I think it's really my calling, it's really my calling to kind of share my voice with the whole world. I'm doing a lot of work with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

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"I think it's really my calling to really reach out and touch people and inspire people and be a good person to look up to. I think the fact that I get to play music and travel and touch people through music is just a bonus."

INDEPENDENT ARTIST. Almost a year after the end of AI, Elliott released his self-titled debut album with a single that is topping the hit charts today, "Wait For You."

Ryan asked Elliott if he is a "hands-on" musician like other Philippine Idol finalists, who not only sing but can also play some instruments.

Elliott admitted, "I'm not that talented. I can play the guitar a little bit, thanks to my friend. But no, music instrumentation-wise, I'm not into that. I'm more of a vocal arranger—that's actually my expertise."

Meanwhile, the AI Season 5 third placer also mentioned that before he became an artist of MCA Records, he released his first album on his own. "I put my record, first and foremost, independently. We've done it all on our own, you know," said Elliot.

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Unlike the usual promotion of the other albums, Elliott has a MySpace account, where almost all his songs and gig schedules are available, instead of a traditional personal website. He also produced different album versions for different retailers.

Elliott explained, "We've included a couple of bonus tracks to some retailers. That was part of the plan in the beginning. It's been great, you know, to be able to kind of share the kind of exclusivity to different retailers like that. It's part of the marketing and promotion."

YAMINOYS. Elliott was not aware that he already had a fan base—who call themselves the Yaminoys—here in the Philippines. In fact, he was surprised to learn that he already had Pinoy fans even before he came here.

Elliott said, "I can't probably speak for all, but we never really know how big of a following we have and how big American Idol was outside the States."

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But the singer said that he had already interacted with Filipinos in the past. "I've got some Filipino friends back home, where I came from, so I just know how warm and friendly the Filipino culture is."

The American Idol finalist invited the Yaminoys as well as other Filipinos to see him perform at the Ayala Malls.

This past weekend he already performed at the Glorietta Center, Market! Market!, and Trinoma Mall. Elliott will sing at the Ayala Center Cebu on September 26 at 6:00 p.m. and at the Alabang Town Center on September 28 at 6:30 p.m.

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American Idol Season 5 finalist Elliott Yamin admits he hardly dreamed about traveling to places like the Philippines or other Asian countries. A grateful Elliot says, "Thanks for giving me the opportunity to travel all over. That's a very special thing to me, to be able to share my music."
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