New Knoxville Article

Morristown’s ‘Idol’-ist Josiah Leming gets into L.A. groove

KNOXVILLE — Singer Josiah Leming — the former “American Idol 7” contestant from Morristown, Tenn. — came back home this week and did a short, last-minute show at the Square Room on Market Square. The opening act was The Royal Buzz, a band that his brother is in.

Here’s the irony: Leming is performing in the same venue in which “American Idol 7” winner David Cook will be playing later this month. Looks like Leming, who recently turned 20, isn’t doing so badly for himself, considering he didn’t even make the Top 36 cut on the hit series. He’s been touring and is making some changes to his debut CD, coming from Warner Bros. later this year.

“It’s been a big learning process,” he says of making the CD. “You can either go in, attack and get it out there or you can slow down.

“I get the idea that a lot of labels would have just thrown me into the deep end of the ocean and see what happens. We want to go for a commercially successful album.

“We all know what works on radio, but we don’t want to compromise so far that we go in another direction. It’s a fight. It’s a struggle … It’s wicked frustrating.”

He’ll be going back to England — and making a detour to France — this spring to work on some songs worthy of being Top 40 radio singles. Leming currently lives in Venice, Calif., near Los Angeles, where he dines on only the best — McDonald’s and In and Out burgers.

“It takes about a day, and it all becomes familiar to me again,” he says of being back in East Tennessee. “I find myself on the same roads back home, and it feels like home again.”

Killer role. The lovely Elaine Hendrix, who was born and grew up in the Oak Ridge and Morristown areas, will produce and star in “Eve,” an indie horror flick, Variety reports.

The story is about a woman who stalks supernatural serial killers. Freddie and Jason had better watch out. Hendrix is on her way, and she’s got you in her sights.

She comes home occasionally to see her relatives and friends who still live here. During the holidays, you may have seen Hendrix outside West Town Mall, protesting the cruel treatment of animals around the world.

Dancin’ shoes. She’s conquered country, pop and gospel. Now, Dolly Parton is ready to tackle dance music. She’s currently working on a CD with club mixers.

A date has not been announced for release, but she is writing the tunes herself. “Wee Bit Gay” is one cut, which Parton says is about a wife who can’t see the signs her husband is gay.

Meanwhile, she’s not pinning her hopes on winning a Tony if “9 to 5” gets a nomination. If she does win one, she’d be one of only a handful of entertainers who has been nominated for an Oscar, an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony — the big four. (This is how big of a star she is: She couldn’t even remember being nominated for an Emmy.)

Words to live by. “I never much cared to be on television or anything like that. It’s all a musical thing for me.” — Josiah Leming

Thanks to Craig for the heads up.

New MTV Article and New Video

The original article can be found here.

‘American Idol’ Producers Never Intended To Block Josiah Leming’s Debut Album

A spokesperson for 19 Entertainment says his contract expired months ago and he’s free to release LP.

When MTV News spoke to “American Idol” season-seven contestant Josiah Leming last week in Los Angeles, it was clear that he wasn’t going to let any rumors of contract disputes stand in the way. Lucky for the once-homeless singer/songwriter, neither were “Idol” producers.Two weeks ago, news broke that “Idol” producers were threatening legal action against Leming if he followed through on plans to release his debut album in January on Warner Music Group’s Reprise Records. According to The New York Post, Leming’s contract with Reprise (which he signed back in May) might be in violation of the contract all show contestants must sign that gives producer Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment exclusive rights of refusal for management and merchandising and requires contestants to record only with the show’s preferred label, Sony/BMG.

It all sounded fairly ominous, but it turns out, reports of any legal threats had been greatly exaggerated. Commenting on the Post story for the first time, a spokesperson for 19 Entertainment explained to MTV News that “Idol” contestants are generally required to sign a contract that gives Sony/BMG exclusive rights for a period of three months, but “if the contestant is in danger of losing a recording contract because of that, [19] generally will allow them out of their contract.”

In Leming’s case, his contract with 19 expired “a few months ago,” the spokesperson continued, “so we are not sure what controversy people are talking about.” And in an e-mail, the spokesperson told MTV News that “19 Entertainment wishes Josiah the best of luck on his album release.”

When MTV News caught up with Leming at Warner’s Los Angeles offices — before we received this clarification from 19 — he seemed unaware of the entire incident.

“Honestly, legally, I have no real idea [about the rumored lawsuit], you know?” he said. “I had a good experience on the show, and I’m thankful that I am where I am right now, and they definitely helped push me along. … I’m thankful and I acknowledge they were a steppingstone in the process of me being where I am today.

“I wasn’t very familiar with the contract, so I’m not sure what repercussions would come of it, but like I said, the only thing that has ever been and is on my mind is the music, and moving forward on my career as an artist,” he continued. “I’m going to continue to make music, because that’s what I love to do. I did that before the show, and I’ll do it after the show.”

So now it’s all systems go for Leming’s Reprise debut, which is tentatively titled They Say. He’s currently promoting his efforts with an EP, Angels Undercover, and a video for its title track. He’s also about to launch a tour in support of the EP, before heading back to Los Angeles to put the finishing touches on his full-length.

“[They Say] basically goes out to everybody who doesn’t believe,” he laughed, “and everybody who doesn’t feel like I’m ready or prepared to go the direction I’m going, which is absolutely anybody and everybody.”

MTV Shows

Insider: ‘Idol’ star stands behind ejected Morristown teen

This is an article from KnoxNews by Terry Morrow.  Thanks to Ligaya for the heads up.

Simon Cowell doesn’t like the fact Josiah Leming failed to make the cut.

Don’t you dare look back as we turn to go

There’s nothing left here for us

But salty eyes and burning skies

That fall as they ignore us

– Josiah Leming, “Plaines Overhead”

Simon Cowell is still a little miffed that Morristown, Tenn., teen Josiah Leming didn’t go farther on this past season’s “American Idol.”

“We should have put him through,” Cowell said. “I was all for it. I wanted him in the competition.”

Leming made a splash on the hit Fox series earlier this year. He made the top 50, but was cut shortly before the top 24 was announced.

The judges were split on the decision. Randy Jackson was never a big supporter. Cowell wanted to see Leming in the top 24. Paula Abdul, as always, loved him, but eventually voted against Leming anyway.

“I don’t know what they were thinking,” Cowell told the Insider. “I wanted him through, and I wanted another kid, the kid with the glasses, through.”

And now that Leming is working on a debut CD, rumored to be for a major label?

“I think I was proven right,” Cowell said.

When Leming spoke on the record for the Insider, he announced he was working on his first major CD. Plans called for it to be released in September.

Leming has gone on the record saying he’s glad he didn’t get tied up in the finals of “Idol.” His career has gotten a nice enough boost from the “Idol” exposure he got in January.

He’s landed a Hollywood manager and has fielded offers from Fox and MTV.

When he auditioned for “Idol” this past fall, he was living out of his car. Since “Idol” aired, he has moved back to his parents’ home in Morristown.

n HOLD ON, MISSI (PYLE). Actresses Shawnee Smith and Missi Pyle, who were featured guests this past weekend at AdventureCon, had to tone down their act when appearing on “Live At Five” on WBIR, Channel 10, a week ago.

During a rehearsal for a song they wanted to perform on the show, producers were concerned when the suggestive lyrics talked about spanking – and not in a bad way.

The women, who are primarily actresses but have formed a country duo, agreed to sing something a little bit more family friendly.

On Saturday, at an official AdventureCon VIP event, county commissioner Greg “Lumpy” Lambert was among the cool kids at the Smith and Pyle show. However, he was not part of the faux mosh pit. Seriously.

Smith is a busy Hollywood talent with credits such as the “Saw” franchise. She played the dimwit Linda on the series “Becker” with Ted Danson.

Pyle’s extensive film credits include “Anchorman” and “Dodgeball.” Her TV credits include ABC’s “Boston Legal” and Fox’s “Wedding Bells,” both of which had her in long-term roles.

n SHY GUY. “Hannah Montana” co-star Mitchel Musso attended the late-night AdventureCon party, but he didn’t participate much with the crowd. The reserved 16-year-old opted to stand in a doorway and watch Smith and Pyle perform their originals. Musso accommodated fan requests for autographs and pictures, but he didn’t join in the faux mosh pit formed around the stage.

“He’s shy,” one of the con organizers explained. “He’s young and in a strange town. He wanted to stay in the background.”

n Words to live by. “I realized that Judaism required me to give up something that meant too much to me – bacon cheeseburgers.” – Shawnee Smith (as Linda) on “Becker”

Josiah Leming Calling American Idol A “Glorified Karaoke”

Credit goes to the Josiah Leming Forum. Thanks to Gossamer Rose and Rachel.

You can talk about the MTV article here and the People Magazine article here.

Here is the article in People Magazine where Josiah called American Idol a “glorified karaoke”. You can read the whole article here.

Josiah LemingAmerican Idol’s Josiah Leming, the free spirit who was living out of his car when he failed to make the Top 24, now has a record deal — and a few choice words for the show.

“The fact is, it’s glorified karaoke — they pick people with pretty faces and the pretty voices, and they don’t let them write their own songs,” Leming, 19, tells MTV News.

The producers, he says, “pick these good-looking people with voices, and they have them sing these songs that other people have written.”

“And therefore, it lacks passion, it lacks emotion and it lacks the things that set an artist off from being good to being great,” says Leming, who was booted during the Hollywood round of the show.

Still, Leming has no regrets. Thanks to the exposure on Idol, he has signed with Warner Bros. Records.

“As everyone clearly saw, I poured my heart and soul into the process and into the competition,” he says. “But looking back now, things could not have gone any better. Things happened perfect. I got the exposure. … People liked me, which was amazing, and I love my fans more than anything. I’m happy I didn’t make it. Looking back, it couldn’t have gone any better.”

Here’s another MTV article with a video. Read the whole article here.

“American Idol” reject Josiah Leming confirmed long-swirling rumors earlier this week that he had signed to Warner Bros. Records, home to artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Tom Petty, and (not for much longer) Madonna. But even before recording the first earnest vocal, Josiah (not to mention the major label cutting his checks) is facing one of the double-edged realities of reality TV: millions of people, it turns out, have already decided that they either love him or hate him.

Reacting to comments Leming made to MTV News about “Idol” during an exclusive studio visit in Los Angeles last week –- “glorified karaoke,” he called it –- one reader accused the 19-year-old high school dropout of sounding “jealous and petty,” while another sneered “this kid effin’ sucks.” Others see Josiah, recipient of the most talked about early-round pink-slip in “Idol” history, a bit differently. “Amazing,” says an admirer, touting the Tennessee-born troubadour’s songwriting ability as “unmatched by any other contemporary artist…a legend in the making.”

The lightning rod attracting all this attention, both good and bad, tells MTV News that he’s already written all the songs for his upcoming debut album, and completed the arrangements. But when we asked him to take a seat at the piano and play for us, Josiah chose to preview a track so new it didn’t make the cut. It’s an intensely personal song inspired by his mother’s ongoing battle with terminal cancer.

So check out the clip above and tell us: what do you think of Josiah’s musical chops?

You can also see an earlier performance Josiah gave MTV News, after the jump.

This isn’t the first time Josiah’s performed for us. Back in February, just weeks after “Idol” showed “the kid in the car” the door, we tracked him down in his hometown of Morristown, Tennessee. Down in the basement of the house he grew up in with his parents and eight brothers and sisters, Josiah pounded out “One Last Song” on the battered upright piano that can be seen in the various MySpace clips he posted long before “Idol” made him a household name. Incorporating footage we shot during our visit, we turned the intimate performance into a music video of sorts…

Josiah Leming : New MTV Article With Video

You can read the full MTV article here.

‘American Idol’ Standout Josiah Leming Inks A Record Deal, Calls Show ‘Glorified Karaoke’

The early ‘Idol’ castoff says he wouldn’t be where he is today if he’d made the cut.

By James Montgomery, with reporting by Jim Cantiello

Josiah Leming When we last saw Josiah Leming, he was sleeping in his parents’ basement in Morristown, Tennessee, hammering out otherworldly tunes on a rickety old piano and licking his wounds from his recent “American Idol” ouster.

He was “the kid who slept in his car,” the homeless scamp who cried buckets on a televised singing competition, the scrappy underdog with the deck stacked against him. He was a directionless, idealistic dreamer, the kind of guy you really want to see succeed but at the same time were relatively certain he wouldn’t. All you could really do was hope for the best.

Fast-forward three months. My, how things have changed.

Today, Leming sits behind a massive console in a shiny Los Angeles studio, tickles the keys of a well-lacquered baby grand and is talking about his freshly inked deal with Warner Bros. Records. He’s still got the same mop of hair, the same amount of baby fat, and he’s still wearing the same baggy T-shirts. But something is different about him: He’s no longer an underdog. Rather, he’s transformed into an emboldened and immensely talented recording artist, someone standing on the verge of something very big. And he knows it.

“I signed my deal with Warner Bros. about a month and a half ago, and I’m glad to finally announce it. The songs are written, the arrangements are done, and right now it’s time to work with the producers,” he said. “I’m so excited. I’m just beaming inside right now. Since I signed the deal, it’s been a lot of wait, wait, wait. Now it’s finally come. I’m in this awesome studio, working on songs. … It’s amazing. This is everything I ever wanted.”

But herein lies the new quandary facing Leming: He’s clearly an indie-minded artist playing in the big, bad world of the majors. And more often than not, this scenario doesn’t exactly end well. So how does he plan on making sure that he ends up more like, say, Death Cab for Cutie than Jawbox?

Well, for starters, he’s not gonna lose the attitude that got him here in the first place — you know, the one that was on display when he dismissed the band during “Idol” auditions and decided to perform Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” solo, and when he proclaimed he had “no regrets” immediately following that performance. And for further proof of this, well, let’s just ask him about “Idol,” shall we?

“It’s like glorified karaoke,” he said. “And yeah, I did it and it was great. I love those people there. They were great to me, and it gave me a great kick-start to my career. But the fact is, it’s glorified karaoke — they pick people with pretty faces and the pretty voices, and they don’t let them write their own songs. They pick these good-looking people with voices, and they have them sing these songs that other people have written. And therefore, it lacks passion, it lacks emotion and it lacks the things that set an artist off from being good to being great. So that’s my feeling on it.”

And while he’s glad to point out that he holds no ill will against anyone involved with “Idol,” he claims that he’s glad he didn’t make the cut. Because, really, he wouldn’t be where he is right now if he had.

“As everyone clearly saw, I poured my heart and soul into the process and into the competition. But looking back now, things could not have gone any better. Things happened perfect,” Leming said. “I got the exposure. … People liked me, which was amazing, and I love my fans more than anything. I’m happy I didn’t make it. Looking back, it couldn’t have gone any better. It’s like this tiny little door shut and voom, the door to the world opened.”

Leming said he plans to work on his Warner debut in Los Angeles and London, and he’s tapped post-punk heavyweight Nick Launay (Public Image Ltd., Gang of Four, Talking Heads) and electronic producer David Kosten (who records under the name Faultline) to helm the project. And while both might seem like odd choices for his bare-bones tunes, Leming said fans won’t be disappointed with the results. After all, he didn’t work his whole life to screw things up now.

“There’s something in me — call it ambition, call it arrogance, call it cockiness, it doesn’t bother me because it’s necessary to my music. I can’t be in that middle pile. I don’t want to be in that middle pile. I don’t want to be just another musician with a record label that’s putting out albums that are just … OK,” he said. “It’s got to be great, because this is everything to me. This is the reason I set on the road, this is the reason I dropped out of school. Everything has led up to this point. This is like the climax of what has been the last 19 years. It’s finally all come to a peak. This is more than I could ever ask for — it’s ridiculous.”

The Leminghead Experience: NY to Dallas

Written by Jodi Lynn Frasier – May 01, 2008

Josiah Leming TribuneHave you ever had the opportunity to stand on the precipice of something so profound that all your previous perceptions about what is or what should be are completely altered? After having this experience, I am left to wonder if the words I write on this page can even begin to capture a small glimpse into this amazing moment. I find, however inadequate they maybe, the words must be written if only to validate that is was not a dream.It all started some months ago while home on a typical evening and finding there was nothing of interest on T.V. This in itself is a common occurrence but resulted in my passing by the broadcast of American Idol 7 auditions in Atlanta. I have never been a fan or watched the show previously, but found myself gravitating to the story of a young man trying to live his dream and willing to sacrifice everything in the process if it meant he would succeed. This is where I first learned of Josiah Leming, a then 18 year old from Morristown, Tennessee. There was just something about him that I found very polarizing and I was unable to look away.

It’s common knowledge what occurred in the weeks that followed as his elimination from the reality show, before America had their say, was highly publicized. Josiah would have to find another way to reach his goal of bringing his music to the masses.

In this span of time, I came across a MySpace account, run by Mr. Leming himself and was surprised to learn of the songs he had already written and composed. This is where the real Josial Leming experience begins. Where you find every melody and verse and composition and know you’ve somehow found yourself with a unique opportunity to see the rise of a legend. An unknown artist, who has been blessed with a gift of taking an intangible emotion and putting it into a song, wherein by listening, you can feel the weight of his soul. This fueled my desire to find some way to see his performance live and to see it in an intimate setting prior to his inevitable rise to fame. I am happy to say that sometimes dreams do come true and like Josiah I overcame obstacles that stood in my way and found myself staring into the face of greatness.

The adventure began at 3:00 a.m. on a Wednesday with my alarm declaring it was now time for me to begin my own quest. Ten similarly minded people from all across the country, boarded planes and made our way to Texas to see a performance at The Loft in downtown Dallas. The venue was to be small in size and I knew the walls would never contain the rush of emotions that would follow.

We arrived at the venue nearly three hours in advance and were greeted by a small film crew who were setting up to record the concert and do a documentary of Josiah’s journey. I was fully aware that we were a small sample of a whole, and represented the many that had already been touched and inspired by this little known musician. We were fortunate enough to be there at that moment and take part in the documentary process. I felt the weight of its importance and knew this may be the only opportunity to communicate how this young man from Tenessee is so much more than a rejected reality T.V. personality. In fact, that experience for him was a mere detour on a path he had already begun to travel years prior.

Soon after, waiting for The Loft doors to open, we suddenly heard the sound of piano keys echoing down the stairwell. The room stood still with each breath held in fear of missing a single note. “Check…Check”, his southern accent reverberated off the walls and the screams of waiting fans filled the space. His innocent laughter immediately followed and we knew our excitement would be absorbed by him and reflected back when he took center stage.

Finally, standing near first in line, I made my way to the stage floor and was struck by the minimalist scale of the room. It was then I realized that only inches of air would stand between me and a boy whose name would soon be known around the world. As the lights grew dim and the stage was slowly filled with smoke, I reached out and gently rubbed my fingers across the keyboard. I had secured the coveted spot and would spend the next moments staring directly into the eyes of unexplainable bliss.

And so it began as Josiah Leming took the stage and began his set with “To Run”. I immediately accepted that only his stature would remain small, while everything else before me loomed larger than life. Finally, all that had been reported regarding previous performances was being witnessed first hand. His graciousness towards his fans, the untempered vocals, his willingness to draw us in and take us down the winding path he now traveled and above all his ability to leave us awestruck and hypnotized. As his voice resounded the last of “To Run”, I extended my hand to him, and only in that moment when I felt his hand grasp mine did I allow myself to believe this moment was real.

Josiah Leming Tribune ArticleJosiah treated us to fan favorites “Her”, “This Cigar”, “All My Friends” and “Razorblades and Handgrenades” as he switched between his guitar and the keyboard. In addition to a cover song of “3rd Planet” from Modest Mouse he filled an unexpected audience request for “some Elton John”. His smiles confirmed he was in his element as if born to sit alone on stage for all to see. Cameras flashed endlessly as if he were already a star standing on the red carpet surrounded by paparazzi. His rendition of “Body and Mind”, a song inspired by lost loves, brought tears to on-lookers, including if only briefly Josiah himself, as he relived the raw emotions of his past.

Just when we thought his lyrical mastery must have a finite life, previously unheard songs, newly written and composed since his stint on Idol, were shared with the crowd. “Punk Ass Rain”, “Over and Over”, “Dizzy on the Rooftops” and “Arctic Outcry Wind” are sure to provide credence to the fact this kid is not a flash in the pan. His voice echoed into the night while the crowd screamed his praise. He ended many songs with his signature smile and modest thank you and fielded questions and comments from the audience. At times he was very animated and obviously found great happiness in the world he created on stage.

Knowing full well the sacrifices and distances so many of us had traveled, Josiah then turned his extra mic toward the crowd and started playing “Bad News Baby”. We did not dissapoint and joined him in the chorus, our voices merging into one. Here we were, his “Bad News Babes”, coming together from all over the country, listening to words that never rang more true – “the only girl I’ll ever love is trapped inside a song”. His music is his life, his unending love and without it, all else would lack meaning.

Not surprisingly, the show concluded with the introspective melody of “One Last Song” and we all stood wishing the night did not have to end. Josiah allowed the experience to continue after his performance by offering to sign autographs and take photos with anyone who came to support him. This included a group of friends from Texas, where he spent significant time while traveling in search of his big break. I watched him work the crowd effortlessly and was amazed at his ability to handle all that was coming at him. He made a point to personally speak with every person who stood waiting for an opportunity to be close to him.

When all that remained were the ten who were brought together by a common musical interest, to our amazement Josiah stayed. He spoke of his day to day life and of the things he is looking forward to, like the album being released in September. He shared his feelings and misgivings on selecting a label to support him and remains pleased with his choices. “I think they really believe in me”, he said. He confirmed his retention of creative control for the album and is trying to surround himself with people he can trust. People he can trust with the thing he holds most dear, his music. The process is not easy and the transition not always smooth, but he works each day to propel himself forward with unsurpassed determination and admits, “I’m satisfied”. But you can see in his eyes that true happiness will not be obtained until he makes it to a point where he can live each day on the stage pouring out his heart and soul.

From what I saw here in Dallas, that time will come soon enough and I will look back on this night and know I was able to share a moment with a brilliant artist on the cusp of making musical history. An artist who can make you smile and feel and cry and dream with only a few words he wrote. An artist who pours every ounce of inner strength into each performance as though it would be his last. And he will succeed because his words are his own, the feelings are real and the passionate display that results is exhilerating for all those who bear witness. Josiah Leming has a presence. His voice lingers in your thoughts, haunting your heart and leaves you simply begging for more.

Article from Citizen Tribune

Caught in his Web
By John Gullion, Tribune Managing EditorJodi Frasier heard the rumors but frankly, she refused to believe them.

The young man from Morristown, Tenn. with the affected British accent, plaintive voice and enthralling back story simply couldn’t be kicked off the show so close to reaching his goal.

Then it happened.

The then 18-year-old Josiah Leming got the news that he didn’t make the cut. He left the show, gamely trying to hold back the very flood of emotion that had helped make him almost famous.

Sitting in her upstate New York home, Frasier couldn’t endure it. She turned the TV off on the spot.

For millions of “American Idol” viewers that’s where the story stopped. But for the 38-year-old mother of two, that’s really where the story begins.

The Internet isn’t a thing any more, it’s a place. It’s organic with a pulsing life as real for many people as New York or L.A. or Morristown. The Internet is where Frasier and many others went to on the night Leming first came into their living rooms via the same show that threatened to crush him the night he was sent home.

Frasier found Leming’s MySpace page after his first appearance on the show. As Leming’s face time increased, so did the hits on his self-made Web site.

By the time Josiah made a triumphant post-Idol appearance on Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime talk show, a cyber community of young and, well, not-as-young, male and female, gay and straight had taken seed. The page had a life of its own.

“Basically we were all on the site as individuals doing the same things looking for information on Josiah and the progression of his career,” she said. “We found out through that process that we all had a lot more in common than Josiah himself. We found that on a day-to-day basis, it’s hard to hang out with a lot of friends. You’re an adult, you have kids but with this community you’re able to do that on your time.”

Frasier congregated with a group within the group. They are the Lemingheads.

From various walks of life from all around the country, they are drawn together by a love for a teenage troubadour that few of them had met until a couple of weeks ago.

On April 30, the Lemingheads converged on Dallas. Leming was playing a show at a little club there. As fate would have it, one of the Lemingheads lives in Dallas and offered the other nine ladies space on her floor.

“I think the reason they jumped on planes is because Josiah’s story inspires us,” said Debra Conway, who hosted the group. “The fact that he’s a good musician and his lyrics speak to people so deeply is the added bonus. Because he was exposed to us in our living rooms on ‘American Idol,’ we sort of found each other … we realized we all felt the same way.”

Judy Male, a 48-year-old mother of two from Santa Cruz, Calif. had already made an 800-mile round trip for an L.A. show. But she went to Dallas mostly to experience a show with the other Lemingheads.

“We met because of him. He’s brilliant. His brilliant personality is adorable and he has an endearing quality when he performs,” Male said. “It’s like he’s in another world. There’s no putting on at all.”

Of course, as a mother of teenage daughters, Male had a little explaining to do when she told of her upcoming trip.

“My daughter said, ‘Mom, isn’t this what you said not to do on MySpace?’” Male said. “My family thinks I’m nuts … this is so out of character.”

Making a fairly spur of the moment, cross-country trip isn’t exactly a common occurrence for Frasier either, but she said she made the trip for what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“We’d all been waiting for him to go into the studio,” she said. “We figured this may be the last time we’d all be able to see him in an intimate setting.”

There is a feeling amongst the Lemingheads that Josiah is on the cusp of something huge. Like the kids that filled the Cavern Club in Liverpool before the Beatles became the Beatles, the Lemingheads believe that they will get to say they saw Josiah before he was a star.

“This kid is brilliant,” Male said. “The thing about him and why he’s touching so many women, mostly he seems to get it. Men never understand women. They don’t know what women want. You can see in this boy’s lyrics that he gets it.”

The question of how a performer still in his teens can strike such a deep chord within middle-aged women, many of them mothers with far more life experience, is complicated.

“It’s amazing,” Conway said. “I felt like at the beginning I had to try and defend myself. I usually like Eric Clapton … guitar based rock. I also loved Bob Dylan so I’ve compared Josiah’s-type lyrics to Dylan’s but that’s not even a good comparison because Dylan did not write about heartache like Josiah does.”

Frasier also points to how well Leming can express inner pain.

“I think a lot of his music has to do with loss and all the emotions that go along with it,” she said. “I’ve personally suffered some significant losses. His lyrics reflect those emotions. It helps people. All the women I was with, we’ve all found his music. It helps us day-to-day. As we listen to it, we feel better.”

Leming’s fame grew when Idol played up the dramatic aspects of his life. He lived out of his car as he toured the South trying to find gigs.

Though Leming didn’t refer to himself as homeless, the Idol producers played off the living out of a car angle.

Truthfully, Leming was never actually homeless, he simply chose not to live at his parents’ home as he chased the life of a musician on the road.

Leming’s heart-on-his-sleeve crying jags on the show also endeared him to his fans. When he later revealed his mom is ill with in his words a terminal form of cancer, his emotions came into clearer view.

“His feelings about what is going on with his mom, the fact that he’s been going through this has shaped him certainly as a lyricist and a philosopher,” Male said. “Her circumstance has really made him who he is.”

Male has been in contact with Leming’s mom, in fact, his mother put in a good word for Male at the L.A. show to make sure she got in.

That concert, Leming’s first after Idol, was to a packed house at a small club known for indie bands. Male says Spider-Man himself, Tobey Maguire, was in the audience.

“(Josiah) was so happy and humble,” Male said. “He was taken aback by how he was being greeted by people.”

Idol, though obviously an emotional roller coaster for Leming had opened many doors. In fact, the weekly Idol appearances were a spring board into Josiah fandom for all of the Lemingheads. However, they are quick to point out that his MySpace page revealed musical chops that producers didn’t accentuate as they focused on his back story. The Web, each of the women said, is what kept them coming back for more.

“I realized he was really a musician, a singer/songwriter of the old school age,” Conway said. “He seemed very much to be an old soul. I had an opportunity to concentrate on his music because I had to wait a week for him to be back on television.”

Once Josiah was off the show and the subsequent wave of TV appearances ended, the friends had to turn to his Web site for Josiah news.

The fact that he shows up there to answer questions or chat with his fans was an added bonus.

By the time Josiah announced the Dallas show, Conway was comfortable enough within the group to open her home.

“It was impulsive,” she said. “But I love cooking and hosting. It was very much in my nature to say everybody come here. We’d made friends and this was a very big thing. The fun of this is us getting together. If everybody’s here, we can stay up all night and talk, which is what we did.”

The freedom to be spontaneous seems to be an invigorating factor for the Lemingheads. Stepping outside the molds of being mom, wife or office worker, doing something unexpected and sharing it with new friends was a common theme.

“By the time we all made the trip, we were as excited to meet one and another – almost – as seeing Josiah,” Frasier explained.

When Josiah took the stage – with the Lemingheads supporting him wildly from the front row – sharing the experience made it all the more fun.

“I think knowing that people were there of the same mindset made it much more comfortable in interacting with Josiah,” Frasier said. “Enjoying the show, we were there as a group. He knew that and he welcomed that.”

The show – they all said – was fantastic. Leming played his older songs as well as some new ones for an upcoming album that will drop nationwide later this year.

“It was phenomenal,” Frasier said. “I’ve been to a lot of very good shows … his emotion – joking back and forth – it was very personal.”

They have since returned to their lives, complete with promises to make the get-together an annual occurrence.

But Conway said the experience runs deeper than that. Leming’s dream – maybe more importantly his commitment to that dream – provides the ladies with the inspiration to shake themselves from the ruts of their everyday lives.

“I know that it brought me back really hard. Could I have done that when I was 19 years old? Did I even know my dream at 19 enough to make those sacrifices?” she asked. “I can do this, too. I can rethink my goals and really get out there and do what I want to do in my life, too.

“That’s the inspiration of us getting together and going to his concert and applauding him. We wanted to give him back the joy he has given to us.”

Source: Citizen Tribune

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