One of my favorite contestants on this season of The X Factor was LeRoy Bell. Unfortunately, he went home before his time. He did, however, take the time to speak with journalists about his time on the show and what comes next.
On why he chose this show
LeRoy: Well, really, in the beginning I didn’tknow that much about the show. My buddy, Stan, told me about the show and I really didn’t think about it seriously at first. And then he said there was no age limit. He told me it was going to be a big show and I could get some publicity because I’ve been playing around on my own. I’ve got a band and we’ve been touring around the United States, but we could never get past the opening act and so I wanted to get that publicity and that’s what attracted me to it.
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On staying with his band or going solo
LeRoy: Well, so far I want to do the band. You know, you can still do it solo at the same time if I wanted to. But I have a pretty hot band and so far that’s the way I want to go. Everything is always—things happen and things change, but at this point in time we’re still together.
On how he and his mentor, Nicole, got along
LeRoy: I don’t really know why we—maybe it’s because she was also a singer or somehow we related. I could understand where she was coming from. It was a lot different than having a producer or somebody else trying to mentor me. At first, I didn’t know how that was going to work because I was thinking of Simon mentoring me actually. And then it was Nicole, but then we got along famously.
She just had a way of being organic with her ideas of how I should be me and how I could translate that to the viewers and to the cameras and to the audience because I was coming from a background of playing guitar and singing. I always kind of hide behind my guitar as a singer/songwriter. I wasn’t used to just kind of the mike and standing up there. That’s the gap that we had to bridge.
On the opportunity
LeRoy: Oh, well, I don’t know if you know my history but I did have a record deal when I was 27 with A&M Records. So I’ve been down that road before. But the music business has changed and there have been a lot of years in between. This show, even though it’s not guaranteed a record deal, probably the exposure was way more than the record deal had even though I had a top 20 hit. Because on TV every week and you’re just reaching in different countries, you’re just reaching a vast audience. I don’t know if that explains your question.
On the best advice he received
LeRoy: I think the best thing that I received was from Nicole was just to be myself. I thought I was being myself but I think I was holding back because making the bridge from just being with the guitar a singer/songwriter to singing someone else’s songs and feeling completely comfortable with that. When it finally sunk in that I could actually be myself and I got comfortable with it, it was near the end. But I think—I had a great time either way. But I think I was just turning the corner on getting really, really comfortable without a guitar.
On competing against people like Astro and Rachel Crow
LeRoy: Well, I enjoyed myself very much. They’re good kids and I didn’t really look at it as a competition. I know a lot of people were asking me that. Who’s your biggest competition? But I really didn’t view the experience that way. I just thought I was kind of more in competition with myself to see if I could bridge the gap of just being a singer/songwriter to on stage doing what I do and interpreting songs that have already been successfully written and sung by other artists. I never really viewed it as a competition and maybe I would have if we would have got down to like four or three. But up until then, we all got along and I just didn’t see it that way.
I also knew that there was a big untapped audience out there of 25 to 60 year olds that a lot of times wouldn’t be engaged in a show like this so they had an invested interest in it. I may appear somebody closer to their age and I think that’s what happened with me being there and the elders.
That’s all with the adorable and talented LeRoy Bell. He was one of our favorites, and while we’re sorry to see him go, we wish him the best and hope to see an album soon. To see the remaining competitors duke it out over being the final one standing, tune in to FOX on Wednesdays at 8/7c.