Jessica Meuse on Life After Idol: "I Want to Do Everything"

By Karen Moul

Jessica Meuse This week American Idol narrowed the competition to three finalists, saying goodbye to Jessica Meuse. In the moment, Meuse was emotional, but by the next day she was in high spirits.

“I feel really good about it,” she told SciFi Vision. “I’m leaving on a good note. I left myself on the stage. I’m really happy I did an original song, and that’s me as an artist. I stayed true to myself the entire run on American Idol and it’s definitely not over for me.”

Next up for Meuse is the American Idol tour; afterwards, the sky is the limit. She has a long list of projects she hopes to take on.

“I want to collaborate with people. I want to write. I want to start putting together a CD,” Meusel told the press, continuing: “I want to do the graphic work for it or at least have some part in making the artwork, and I want to see if I can get in a little bit of acting. I want to produce. I want to engineer. I want to have a studio and be a touring artist. I want to do absolutely everything.”

Watch Americal Idol Wednesdays at 8/7c and Thursdays at 9/8c on FOX.

FOX Conference Call
American Idol

Jessica Meuse

May 9, 2014
1:00 p.m. ET

SCIFI VISION: Last night on the show, you talked about wanting to go home a hero and now that you’ve had some time to reflect on that, how do you feel about going home and what’s next for you?

Jessica MeuseJESSICA MEUSE: I feel really good about it. I’m leaving on a good note. I left myself on the stage. I’m really happy I did an original song, and that’s me as an artist. I stayed true to myself the entire run on American Idol and it’s definitely not over for me.

QUESTION: Jess, the judges seemed to really love when you did originals. Why not do more of those on the show? I know it wouldn’t fit into every theme like ‘80s theme, but something like breakups and makeups?

JESSICA MEUSE: Oh, I was going to, but then I couldn’t. out of my power at that point because, trust me, I would have done originals every week if I could’ve.

QUESTION: So without going into too much detail, a question of the bands learning the song or the –

JESSICA MEUSE: I don’t think, it’s not even about that because they’re pretty easy to learn. It’s just I guess it’s higher powers than myself and they want cover songs, a lot of people want to hear songs that they know and it is a popular music show. So it’s hard for a singer/songwriter who does a lot of their own materials the majority of the time to adjust to that.

QUESTION: And will you be coming back home between now and the finale or are you going to stay out there?

JESSICA MEUSE: I have one day and apparently I’m getting home tomorrow at noon and then leaving very early the next morning to go to New York.

QUESTION: Okay, and tell us please what you’re going to do with your one day in Slapout, Alabama? If you could go one place, like, “Oh my God, I need to go there the second I get back home,” where would that be?

JESSICA MEUSE: I would go anywhere with sweet tea, immediately.

QUESTION: Dexter and C.J. say they’re going to move to Nashville, what about you?

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes, sounds like a plan.

QUESTION: Hey, the judges kept complaining that you didn’t show enough emotion, but you sure showed plenty of emotion when you got the final news. Were you surprised by how emotional you got then?

JESSICA MEUSE: No, I’m a big baby, I’m always that way. But I believe that I have showed emotion throughout the weeks. I’ve definitely grown as an artist and there’s always things to work on and I believe that that was probably my weakest spot, but I definitely did get better. It’s going from bars where you’re not necessarily getting any attention, you’re just a bar singer in a corner and there’s just the bartender listening to you, to being on a national stage where everyone’s looking at how your eye twitches. You know, it’s a big difference and you have to get used to it. But I really do believe that I came into my own and I really figured out myself on the stage, ultimately, so I’m very proud of that.

QUESTION: A lot of people thought that the judges were harder on you than anyone else. Did you feel picked on?

JESSICA MEUSE: At times, definitely, but I know it’s part of the game and I have bigger things ahead of me. I’m very sure that I’m going to make it happen.

QUESTION: So we know that you auditioned for The Voice and you already have a released album, how did you think that this past experience in the music industry helped you with Idol?

JESSICA MEUSE: Well, it definitely got me conditioned to be in front of cameras, and that’s a major part of American Idol because you’re constantly working a camera like it’s millions of people. One camera symbolizes millions of people. You got to look around and see which one is turned on and when. So you have to get used to that. You got to learn how to talk in front of a camera. It’s a lot more difficult than people think. It’s like you’re pulling everything together out of thin air right then and there and you’ve got to say it the right way. You’ve got to do everything a certain way and not look like a fool. So I would say that that’s probably the biggest thing.

QUESTION: Was there a particular judge that you looked up to the most and what was the best advice that they gave you?

JESSICA MEUSE: I really like Harry and Keith, but after last night I think that Harry is probably my favorite because I like to compare him to somebody up in the stands while you’re playing a football game. You don’t necessarily see what’s about to happen or the things you’re doing wrong out there on the field because you’re down there and that’s your perspective. But he’s up there and he can see everything and he knows what he’s talking about and he’s like, “Oh you’re doing this, you need to do this,” and he has the correct terminology and he understands it and he can pinpoint things and ultimately help you grow.

QUESTION: What was the best advice that he gave you?

JESSICA MEUSE: Probably just like feeling it and I think that’s the best advice anyone could give, just make sure you’re feeling what you’re doing and convince people.

QUESTION: I wanted to know a little bit more about the song switcheroo that seemed very abrupt. First of all, we didn’t know that you guys would be singings the third song. Even when TVLine posted the spoils, there was still only two songs and on the day of the show we found out that there were three songs, like it was a big secret. So is there a reason why that information was withheld?

JESSICA MEUSE: I really don’t know why it was withheld, I didn’t know it was, but we were aware of the three songs ahead of time and it was originally going to be originals because we’re all songwriters in the top four.

QUESTION: So all four of you had practiced original songs during the week?

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes. Everything, the “So What” song was a last minute switcheroo and I had to learn it in like a day.

QUESTION: Right. So all four of you had to switch your song on Monday?

JESSICA MEUSE: Pretty much. The day of rehearsal we made the cut for that third song.

QUESTION: Wow.

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes.

QUESTION: And no wonder because that particular round seemed the weakest out of all of them. That must have been so much pressure to learn all of those songs.

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes, I try not to think about the pressure and I try to just do the unhealthy thing and bottle it all up. I really like to focus on what I do because I genuinely love to be up there and I really have a great time. I loved being up there. I did a Pink song and I had fire and that was really bad-a, so I mean I had fun all the same, but it’s definitely a little bit stressful to have to cram all that in your mind last minute.

QUESTION: So they didn’t tell you why they weren’t switching it, just that it was happening, right?

JESSICA MEUSE: No. They just were like, “Oh, there’s a change; you have to do this.”

QUESTION: At the end of the show when you did your song - very emotional and fantastic way to leave the show, I think - the band started to play the song and then you looked at them like you didn’t know what was happening? You seemed a little confused, was there a mix up there?

JESSICA MEUSE: I had no in-ears or anything, I couldn’t really hear anything. I didn’t know, usually there’s a click that leads into when they’re starting off and I couldn’t hear it right because I believe I was in front of the ground monitors, so I was trying to listen to what part of the song they were at and I just started singing. I was like, screw it, I’ll do it anyway. And it worked out.

QUESTION: So there’s been a lot of talk about you not being able to do more original songs. I just want to get your opinion on how you really felt about that. Did that frustrate you?

JESSICA MEUSE: I didn’t really let that frustrate me because I do know a lot of cover songs from singing three- to four-hour gigs back at home; but I would have really liked to do originals at least one a week and really get it out there and push it just because that’s me as an artist.

QUESTION: Okay, and when you landed in the bottom two and also when you got eliminated, there didn’t seem to be much surprise on your face. Is that accurate to say? And would you attribute your elimination to song choice? Because I know the judges had an issue with your first two songs, although the third from Wednesday night was excellent, obviously?

JESSICA MEUSE: No, I just got to the point where I was like, “Whatever.” And I will always do what’s right for me and I’ll always do what I believe to be the best thing I could do put in that situation. I did that every week and that’s what matters and if I get cut I’m going to get cut for being myself, and that’s exactly what happened, but that’s the best way I could go out.

QUESTION: So what’s the difference between going on the Idol stage and you’re a one-woman show if you don’t mind, you were performing at the bars in Slapout?

JESSICA MEUSE: Well, it’s completely different. It’s like two different planets because I’m so used to doing stuff all by myself back at home, but over here it was like I had so much help with a lot, but it’s still a lot of work. It’s actually more work for me, but it’s balanced amongst a bunch of people as a team. So I think playing in the bars and my stressful life before, it was self-rewarding in that I was doing what I love. But I think it built the necessary character to get through what I’ve been going through for the past three months and I wouldn’t change it and I’m really happy with how it turned out. I think it really kept my head on straight this whole time.

QUESTION: “Blue Eyed Lie” sounded phenomenal with the band. I don’t know if that’s your first time doing that, with the full band in back of you, but I’m just wondering if a lot of times on the Idol tour they allow somebody to do an original, like Colton did an original and Angie did an original last year. Do you think they’re going to let you do “Blue Eyed Lie” on the tour?

JESSICA MEUSE: They better let me do “Blue Eyed Lie” on the tour. I really hope so.

QUESTION: I know that you’ve probably got a lot of material written for an album, I’m sure people have started hitting you up already. Did Keith talk to you about Nashville yet?

JESSICA MEUSE: Keith mentioned some people talking about me and I believe he was referring to my song writing and stuff, but we didn’t get into a real in-depth conversation. I got swept away into press.

QUESTION: Was it nerve racking going up? I know a lot of times they said that you looked like you had problems, but by your Gaga song I think that you totally had it.

JESSICA MEUSE: Oh, I did, and I felt good every week. I really do my best and to me that’s all that matters, that I feel good about it and that I make my fans happy because I’m very fan-oriented and I love my fans so much. That’s rewarding to me. You take what the judges say, you take what other people say, sure, but ultimately it’s how you feel and how your fans are happy.

Jessica MeuseQUESTION: Well your muses really gave you a lot of support, I’m sure. And are you grand marshalling a parade this weekend?

JESSICA MEUSE: I’m trying to. It really depends when my flight gets in.

QUESTION: Well, it’s nice that they were having something for you, anyway.

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes. I love my hometown, they’ve done so much and they just continue to do it and they just amaze me as people.

QUESTION: “Blue Eyed Lie” got a lot of obviously national exposure. You got to perform it several times. Every time it was stronger than the time before that we saw it. What is it like to experience an original song getting such a great reception from everyone in the studio, but also from fans online and beyond?

JESSICA MEUSE: It’s so surreal, I can’t even think of words to describe it. That song is so real to me and it happened to me, I lived it. That’s word for word, it’s so honest and it’s so bare. It’s my soul and it’s like taking my diary and just reading it to national television. To hear that it has national exposure, to be on that stage and singing it, is such a huge blessing for me. And for people to actually like it is just absolutely amazing and I couldn’t put it all into words if I tried.

QUESTION: It was interesting because even after the first time that you performed it, I saw a lot of feedback from people wondering if it was a cover because they liked it so much. So it must be a great feeling to see that.

JESSICA MEUSE: It is.

QUESTION: In the last few weeks, has the competition felt any different than earlier in the competition with the stress level getting higher? How is it different for you now rather than maybe a month ago?

JESSICA MEUSE: It’s definitely more stressful. The less people there are, the higher your chance of being sent home, obviously, but also there’s only so many people to fill a two-hour show so you’re doing more work, actually. The top four, we did so much work, we were doing so much stuff in one day that it was like by the end of the day we were just done. We were like, “Okay, time to go to bed.” So it is gets more and more stressful along the way.

QUESTION: You’ve spoken a lot about original songs. Do you think that if you were able to play more originals songs that it would have altered the way that the competition went about for you?

JESSICA MEUSE: If I did play original songs it probably would have changed some of the outcomes, at least for a little while. It really depends on what America wants to hear. Sometimes people want to hear something new that they’ve never heard before, but sometimes people want to hear something that they’re very familiar with. It changes like the weather at times. But I think it could’ve changed it, but I would not want anything any other way. I believe that everything happens for a reason and there’s a reason that last night happened and I’m cool with it. I’m ready to move up and beyond and just keep on going.

QUESTION: On that note you’ve spoken a lot about what’s next, that this isn’t the end for you. You tweeted last night that this isn’t the end; it’s just the beginning. What is next for you? What’s your plan?

JESSICA MEUSE: Well, after the Idol tour I want to collaborate with people. I want to write. I want to start putting together a CD. I want to do the graphic work for it or at least have some part in making it in the art work, and I want to see if I can get in a little bit of acting. I want to produce. I want to engineer. I want to have a studio and be a touring artist. I want to do absolutely everything.

QUESTION: Any collaborations with your fellow competitors in the works?

JESSICA MEUSE: I would really love to collaborate with Majesty; I love Majesty.

QUESTION: I’m sure you don’t want to relive this, but there was quite a bit of drama back in Hollywood week with your group and one of the mothers –

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes.

QUESTION: So looking back, what do you make of that whole situation and do you hope that she’s been watching and seeing you make it all the way to fourth place?

JESSICA MEUSE: Well just to be blunt, I really don’t care about that lady. I feel bad that she was so mean like that. I’m a strong believer in just be kind to people, treat people the way you want to be treated and the edit they did made me look kind of snide and I felt bad about it because I’m really not that way. I didn’t know how to handle that, so I just walked away. What do you do you do when somebody won’t even let you talk? And I was like, “Whoa, where’d this come from?”

But I’ve relived it about a billion times now and it’s all good. It all happened for a reason, like I keep saying about everything. But I just hope that she’s happy and I hope her daughter is doing well because her daughter is a very sweet girl. I just wish the best for them.

QUESTION: I found it really cool that you decided to do a Lady Gaga song this week, “You and I.” It was a great song and it worked very well for you. So why did you go with that song?

JESSICA MEUSE: Well, first off I do love Lady Gaga. I have a very wide range of music that I love and listen to all the time and hers is definitely included in that. And I believe that if you don’t listen to the beat and the techno part of her music and you listen to her voice, she really has such a soulful voice and she’s so creative and good at what she does. So I listen to that song and I heard that potential to turn it into my own style, which is that southern rock vibe that I did and I just had fun with it, I really did. And I loved it and I loved the vocal part of it. So I just ran with it.

QUESTION: Could you clarify, I was a little confused about the discussion earlier. What you were saying was that all four of you were going to perform an original song and then at the last minute they told all four of you, no you can’t do an original song, you have to pick another one?

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes.

QUESTION: I see, okay. And then at that point, then you were just presented with songs and you just took what you could get.

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes. Pretty much. And the lyrics of “So What,” I liked them, and I love Pink, she’s really awesome, so I went with it.

QUESTION: Were the other contestants similarly confused and upended by that whole thing, were you all scrambling?

JESSICA MEUSE: We were sort of just like, “Oh crap, we have to learn another song now.”

QUESTION: One of the things that I think we’ve all enjoyed watching is how you really look so beautiful on stage and you have this really striking look. When you did the Lana Del Ray song, you had a look that you had never had before. I wonder how did you feel about that? Did you enjoy showing off a different side of yourself like that?

JESSICA MEUSE: Yes, it was definitely fun. I think it keeps your mind open and that whole thing about me sitting on that side of the box and all with my leg and my tattoo showing, that was all absolutely last minute. I never did that in any rehearsals or anything and I just really wanted that song to be the best that it could be.

QUESTION: It was great. It was perfect for you. You mentioned before about acting, what would be your dream role?

JESSICA MEUSE: Oh man, if I could be in an episode of Supernatural, oh, my goodness. I know Snookie was in it not long ago as she was a demon and it was funny, but I love Snookie so it’s okay. I would love to even be just the creepy person in the background looking around for ten seconds; that would be okay, I’d be down with that. It would just be amazing. I love that show, it’s unhealthy. It’s an obsession.

QUESTION: Well, I thought it was really terrible that you girls didn’t get to meet your crushes, speaking of Supernatural. The boys got to see their crushes, you guys didn’t get to see them, but that kind of sucked, but okay.

JESSICA MEUSE: I don’t know what I would have done, honestly. I probably would have been like, “Oh, my gosh,” and I would have fan-girled really hard.

QUESTION: Hey, now that you’ve run the entire gamut of the show, was there anything that really surprised you about Idol that you didn’t see coming?

JESSICA MEUSE: Just really the amount of people that go into making a single performance, there’s so much behind the scenes. And there’s a lot of people who go unnamed a lot; there’s a wardrobe person, there’s a hair person, a makeup person, and they really do so much and it really makes—it’s a huge part of the performance and how you do and you feel when you’re up there, which affects how you do.

QUESTION: Okay, and prior to being on this show, were a fan and did you watch it religiously year after year?

JESSICA MEUSE: No, not really. I don’t really watch much TV. I don’t, I watch cartoons and I watch Supernatural.

QUESTION: It’s no surprise that the ratings have dipped in the last two years; what do you think they could do to make the ratings skyrocket again? Is there any one thing you would like to see them do?

JESSICA MEUSE: I have no idea. Honestly, sometimes things just run their course. It’s been on for what, thirteen, fourteen years now? That’s a long time.

QUESTION: I was wondering what you learned about yourself in your American Idol journey?

JESSICA MEUSE: I really learned that the limits that you have are only the limits that you put on yourself, and if you really want something then you’ve got to work for it and you really can do it. I went from being in a smoky bar with pneumonia and having to cancel shows and really having a hard time doing everything on my own to being on national television with an original song; not just one time but two or three times now, and it’s absolutely amazing.

QUESTION: You talk about your mentoring sessions with Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, and David Cook. Who gave you the best advice?

JESSICA MEUSE: Well, they all really were critical and they all give you a perspective, and they all really teach you. It’s just very humbling to meet those people who’ve been in your shoes and they understand; especially Chris got cut at the same point where I just got cut, so it’s really cool to be able to relate to someone on that level.

QUESTION: Do you think that you and Dexter and C.J. and all of the Alabama clan will ever get together and have a show somewhere or do something?

JESSICA MEUSE: I don’t see why not. I’m down for that. I would love to play a show with them.

QUESTION: I would love to see a show with all the Alabama folks. That would be neat.

JESSICA MEUSE: Alabama Power Company.

QUESTION: Is there anyone that you would have liked to have had come in as a mentor that you didn’t get to work with?

JESSICA MEUSE: I think it would have been cool to have someone like Dierks Bentley come in and talk to everybody because he’s the same kind of artist that I strive to be too. He’s a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and he’s doing really well. It would have been cool.

QUESTION: I would like to switch gears and ask you about you and your boyfriend. When you’re away from each other for this long it can be really tough, especially in a high pressure environment like Idol. So how has Steve supported you on this journey and would you say that Idol affected your relationship in anyway?

Jessica MeuseJESSICA MEUSE: It did affect the relationship to the point where it didn’t work anymore and we’ve actually been apart for about a month now. Eliza

QUESTION: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.

JESSICA MEUSE: He, I know, is very stressful and I guess it’s just not the right time. He’s a good guy and it’s just sometimes situations really bring out the worst in people.

QUESTION: Okay, and you’ve said that “Blue Eyed Lie” is about a former boyfriend. How does writing a song help you deal with heartbreak and tough situations?

JESSICA MEUSE: It teaches me how to let go and just not worry about things that you can’t control anymore because if I’m not the [indiscernible] then what do I have to worry about?

MODERATOR: And with that, we’re going to wrap up the conference call for today. At this point I’m going to turn it back over to Jess for a quick final remark. Jess, go ahead.

JESSICA MEUSE: Well, thank you guys so much. I really enjoyed talking to all of y’all and I really hope to meet you guys at some point, whether it’s on the tour or at another show in the future. Thank you.

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