American Artist: Anthony Fedorov
Regular readers here have become accustomed to the Idol Interviews that appear here from time to time. Through the course of the year or so that this site has been around, I've gotten to converse with many stand-outs and just flat out fabulous people via the Interviews, as well as our off-the-record conversations. But sometimes it's difficult to figure out who will be next.
This one, however, was a no-brainer. For months now, fans of Anthony Fedorov have been clamoring for me to do an interview with their beloved Season Four star. They're easily one of the most faithful groups out there, rivaling even those of Constantine or Kellie Pickler. And they not only post, but they also make good on their love for the guy by flying across the country, supporting him at shows, and shilling for him at every chance they get.
I found out about AnthonyFanClub, The Canthony Forums and Young and Beautiful only after finding out that they had talked about me (or an article or show I had done) so I took the opportunity to join their community. They in turn read my stuff, and since then, they've been bent on getting me to interview him.
So I thought, sure, why not, but ONLY if they would ask the questions. And as it turned out, they did. Questions poured in by the hundreds. And then, after a few rounds with Nelly Neben, Anthony's manager, the stage was set for the interview.
Here's how it went!
J.D.: I'm loving your song, "Culpa Me" has just been fabulous for us.
Anthony: Well, thank you very much! I appreciate that.
J.D.: Let's go back to your Idol career just a little bit. Tell us a little about your Idol experience.
Anthony: It was a very interesting one. It was pretty much a rollercoaster from the beginning to the end. It was a wonderful experience for me in many ways. The most important thing that I got out of it was that I pretty much took a crash course on the music industry in about a year. And I've kinda experienced a little bit of what the life of a famous artist is gonna be like or would look like if that were me. So, y'know, I learned a lot of new things, a lot of good things. It was a phenomenal experience. The best thing was that I got a lot of fans who are so supportive of what I'm doing. Hopefully that will continue, and I will try not to disappoint them, I guess.
J.D.: How have things been for your family since your brother's passing?
Anthony: It's been a little tough. No, not a little tough. It's been tough. I do have a very strong family, and we're sticking together. I think we're gonna be alright. I know it's gonna take time, but the most important thing is that we lean against one another and help each other out, and that's pretty much it.
J.D.: How has it been for you going through the whole whirlwind of instant fame, tabloid chatter, or all those things that maybe you really weren't looking for?
Anthony: Well, to be honest with you, I didn't really focus on any of that stuff. The most important thing for me was to just focus on what I was doing. It's difficult enough to focus on the things that are in front of you, let alone think about things that are outside of what's going on.
J.D.: Were you already planning on a music career prior to Idol?
Anthony: Oh, absolutely. That's been my goal since day one, and I just got lucky, because, for whatever reason, they chose me for the show, and they gave me a lot of opportunities.
J.D.: Obviously being on American Idol for a decent run like yourself, you get the advantage of starting to develop a fan base. Can you tell me a few memorable things about your interactions with your fans?
Anthony: The most memorable thing that I have, and I continue to have, is just the kind of attention that I get from people. It's not so much like "oh Anthony, y'know, you're the best" and all that stuff, but it's the kind of sincerity that I get from people when I get approached by somebody. I see that I'm making a difference in their life, or in their day, and it's the kind of sincerity that I got, and the kind of affection that I got from fans has been absolutely incredible.
J.D.: You have fans of all ages. I know a lot of them were flying out to the Texas tour that you did with the other Idols recently just to hear you sing three songs. It must amaze you that there's that kind of devotion amongst your fan base.
Anthony: Yeah, I mean, it was pleasantly surprising for me. I saw some familiar faces. I try to remember as many faces as I possibly can, and I did recognize some people. Like I said, I have a very loyal following, and I am just so blessed to have it.
J.D.: Other than obviously Carrie Underwood, do you keep up with or collaborate with any of the friends that you made on Idol?
Anthony: While I was on Idol... I talk to Nikko once in a while. I talk to Scottie. I haven't spoken to Nadia or Anwar in a while. Y'know, I haven't spoken to Bo. But like Bo, Nikko, and Vonzell, like, we all stay in touch once in a while, or we call each other and just see how we're doing and stuff. I think Carrie's the only one who I kept in touch with on a consistent basis.
J.D.: From the end of the Idol tour, what have you been up to?
Anthony: The most important thing that I've been doing is really concentrating on getting great songs, because the one thing that Simon Cowell told me at the end of my season is "the only thing that's gonna make you successful in the end is your material. You are only as good as what you put out." The reality of the situation is that I'll probably have one shot to come out and make a statement and to kind of leave my mark on the music industry. And that one shot will tell whether or not I'm just gonna do one and done, or whether I'm gonna be a successful artist for many years to come. So I've been really focusing on just getting the best quality material, been working with some tremendous songwriters and producers on both the English and Spanish side, and just gearing up for 2007. We're taking our time to make sure that we do it right, because if you don't do it right, or if you hurry things up just to put it out there, the reality of the situation is that you might not be successful, because you need great songs if you're gonna succeed.
J.D.: So do you consider shows like Fear Factor or the talent show that you were a judge for steps toward that end as well?
Anthony: I mean, sure. I wanna keep my face in the public eye. I had a good time doing that stuff. I'd do it over again. It was fun. It was good exposure. I think it's very important to do everything you can to keep your face out there as much as you can doing the proper stuff. I haven't been in the public eye as much as I have been in the past, in the previous maybe six months or so, but that's because I've been really focusing on music. So, y'know, shows like that and other stuff, it's great. Whatever helps you maintain your visibility. But like I said, the songs are the most important thing that you could get in the beginning.
J.D.: So we've played "Culpa Me" on Idol Waves quite a few times. I wonder if there are other songs recorded out there?
Anthony: There are a lot of songs that are recorded. With "Culpa Me," it's interesting that it's doing as well as it is, because it's a simple piano track, with some string arrangements behind it, so it's not fully produced. It was interesting for me to see that people still enjoy it, because it's kind of stripped down, and it's naked, and you can really feel the soul. It's very interesting to see that "Culpa Me" is doing so well, and thank God, because it gives me some hope for the future when the rest of my stuff comes out.
J.D.: We've heard a couple of songs that you've either co-written or written yourself, and I've heard that you've even written the music for several songs that you're hoping to record for your album. What inspires you to write?
Anthony: Life. I mean, I don't write a lot. I'm not one of these people who has the natural ability to just write a great song about absolutely anything on any given day. I'm just starting out in the writing scene, so when something happens in my life that triggers that part of me that I haven't developed willfully yet, I can't help myself but to sit down and I start having melodies in my head, and words start to come out. I'm just writing because life is telling me to do it.
J.D.: Do you have any publishing contracts yet?
Anthony: We will pursue that as soon as we're gonna be getting closer to putting out a record, because I can get a lot more money from a publishing company when they know that my record is gonna hit the stores. And if there's any possibility that any of my songs could make it on the record, they give you a lot more money, so we're kind of holding off on that for now.
J.D.: A lot of fans don't really understand what's involved in securing a record deal or recording a CD. What has your experience been like thus far?
Anthony: I mean, it's not easy! You'd think that you'd get off the number one show in America...in the world pretty much...and you'd be a no-brainer. But the fact of the matter is that the rest of the music industry doesn't look at American Idol the same way as fans do. The truth is that not a lot of people want to sign people from American Idol because they're not sure what to do. They don't want to lose their jobs. Everybody's kind of scared of their own shadow in a lot of ways. But you know, they say it only takes one. So that's kind of the philosophy that we go by. It's a long process. It really is a long process. It takes a long time, because not only do you want to get a record deal, because anybody can get a record deal...well, not anybody...it's a lot easier to get a record deal rather than to get the right record deal, with the right company, where you have the right people surrounding you and pushing you forward. It's gotta be right. You can't just get a record deal. You have to get the one that's most convenient for you.
J.D.: When you're shopping your demo around, which I assume you're preparing to do, do you work with a team in choosing the songs that you might include on an EP, or do you like to keep creative control over that?
Anthony: No. I mean, I have a management company that has been in the business for, wow, a very long time, and they know a whole lot more about this stuff than I do. So I listen to them and everything they tell me. It's a collective team effort. We come across a song, we listen to it, we discuss it and see if it fits what I'm trying to do and the kind of message that I want to put out, and then we all collectively decide whether I should put my vocal on the song or not.
J.D.: Do you have any idea when a debut CD might be released?
Anthony: It'll be some time next year. I don't want to give you any dates. I don't wanna disappoint, but I do promise you that it will come out, and when it does come it, it's gonna be right. And God willing, my fans will continue to stand behind me, and they will help me to succeed with this thing.
J.D.: If, God forbid, a major record label doesn't come through, are you prepared to release independently?
Anthony: No. We will sign with a major, because I think that's... I don't know if there's any other way to be successful if you don't have a deal at hand. In order to be successful, you need a machine to push you forward. I mean, take American Idol for example. Why do you think it's so successful? Because it has become such a tremendous machine. Anybody who is a part of that show and gets on that stage is an instant celebrity. Why? Because the show is just everywhere, and they have an enormous amount of money that they spend on promotion and all these kind of things that make us "celebrities" overnight. So I think at the end of the day, you need a powerhouse. You need a machine to drive your career and just launch your career. I do believe that, based on the situation that I'm in right now and the kind of progress that we've been making, we're in a very very good position to sign a deal with a major and be successful.
J.D.: Do you ever have those mornings when you just kinda wake up and say "wow, I'm chasing my dreams, and I can't believe I've come this far, and how far am I gonna be able to go?"
Anthony: Well, I'll be honest with you, it's a surreal thing for me every single day, because just to be where I'm at at this point in my life, it's really a blessing. The fact that I was on American Idol has been...y'know, I got lucky. For whatever reason they chose me, I'm glad they did, because that was my one in a million or one in a billion chance to break through and start having a realistic shot at being successful. I think if it wasn't for American Idol, I'd still be singing in clubs and waiting for my big break to happen. It's a surreal experience every second of the day, but I really enjoy it as much as I can. It's not easy to go to the top, but that's why you have to enjoy it and if you really cherish it, then you'll know how valuable it is to work harder to go to the top.
J.D.: Never let anybody out there think it's easy!
Anthony: No, this stuff does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work. It takes a lot of hard planning. If people think that it happens just like that? Rarely ever does.
J.D.: And it's a world where you can be everybody's darling one minute and yesterday's news the next.
Anthony: Absolutely, and that's when you really have to take things for what they are, and you can't really let anything go to your head, because at the end of the day, you've gotta stay human. You've gotta be a person before anything else. Because they will love you one day, and when something doesn't happen, they won't love you the next day. But like I said, I've been so blessed. Even though this is kind of my down time right now, my fans have been behind me 150 percent, and I'm just lucky for that.
J.D.: They've submitted an awful lot of these questions. I hate that I couldn't get to all of them, but I know that you've got a short amount of time that you have to rest and lay down and soak it all in there. One more question.
J.D.: At what point in your life will you be able to say "that's it! I've done all I wanted to do! I can die happy now."
Anthony: Honestly, as far as saying "I've done all I wanted to do," probably never, because there's so much that I want to accomplish. I think I'm never gonna say this. As far as why I can die happy now, I'll tell you this much. When we started on tour last year, and I got up on stage--I think it was Tampa or Fort Lauderdale, our first show--I got up on stage in front of 20,000 people. Every singer, every performer, has a dream to do it at least once. So it was like, well, if nothing else happens, I can die happy. I happened to go up there and get that one chance. When I got off the stage that day, I cried like a little baby, because it was just the most incredible experience in my life. And I was like enough to do it 45 more times, or 50 times, or how ever many shows we did. And hopefully, I'll get a chance to do it as a solo artist later on in my career. I have accomplished that thing I wanted to do at least once. Now what I'm looking for is to do it over and over again and hopefully for many decades.
J.D.: I'm confident that's gonna happen. The guys over at the AnthonyFanClub.com and Young and Beautiful and The Canthony Forums contributed these questions. They're all rooting for you, and they post 24/7 about you, so they're keeping the dream alive for you, I think.
Anthony: Thanks! And one thing I want to mention...I just got the good news today...y'know, since my brother's death...the cancer that he died from is called Ewing's Sarcoma. So the thing that I'm trying to do is make a difference in people's life, and really deal with this cancer and raise awareness for it. So I've been chosen as the official spokesperson for the Sarcoma Foundation of America. And I'm gonna be doing a lot of work for them, and we're gonna be doing public service announcements all over the country for next year. I'm involved with them a lot, so if people want to check it out and see what it is, you can go to curesarcoma.org and just see what it's all about. I'm glad that I will be able to now make a difference and raise awareness of these things.
J.D.: That's awesome. It's definitely a cause that needs to be addressed, and it's great that you're getting to do so much in memory of your brother. Thank you so much for taking time out of your day and letting the fans ask you a lot of questions and letting me ask a question as a fan. I really hope for the best for you.
Anthony: Thank you very much, and just look out for everything next year! I'm not sitting around. I haven't disappeared. Just been putting in the time to make sure that next year is gonna be a good one for me!
We trust that it is. Thanks so much to the fan forums out there. You guys make this writing so much more enjoyable, and I'm looking forward for many conversations to come!