From the moment he showed up to his audition with a melodica, Casey Abrams was heralded as one of the most unique contestants that "American Idol" had ever seen.
He plays the bass, the cello, the piano, the accordion, the drums, the clarinet and the more obscure sitar and melodica. As a contestant on season 10 of "Idol" he kissed judge Jennifer Lopez mid-performance, was saved by the judges when America voted him off in the Top 11, and, in the words of judge Randy Jackson, made the stand-up bass cool.
Abrams finished sixth on the show and has since gone from the bright lights of "Idol" and the crowded arenas that followed with the "Idol" tour, to a smaller stage.
And he prefers the latter.
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"I do little bars and tiny theaters here and there," Abrams said. "Who's not going to love being in front of thousands of people screaming your name? But in an intimate setting like that, you can change the room."
Last year, Abrams released his first eponymous album, which he co-wrote. On July 4, the 22-year-old Idyllwild, Calif., native will play a free concert at Melrose on the Beach on Daufuskie Island.
Question. How has life after "Idol" been?
Answer. It's incredible. And I'm doing exactly what I want, what I love; just getting on stage and telling stories. It couldn't have gone better.
Q. What is your favorite song on your album?
A. Track No. 7, which is "Stuck In London." I recorded the album and that song was actually written in London. It's funky and it's weird and it's stupid and it's about mangos, which is such a funny word to say. On the "Idol" tour we went to the Philippines, which is famous for their mangos. So I kind of wrote it about being on a beach in Manila and eating mangos from a mango tree when I was in London.
Q. The big news in Beaufort County is Candice Glover winning "Idol" this season. Have you met her?
A. Yeah, when I went back to perform this season. We tweeted back and forth every once in a while. I was rooting for her, even the season before she won. I remember she was in a group round with DeAndre Brackensick and Jessica Sanchez, and I was like "Damn girl, that's some good stuff." I'd love to duet with her and play some bass behind her.
Q. What did you think about Candice this season?
A. I knew that she had a crazy voice. She stood out. It's crazy that she could actually go to the top. I was so stoked. I couldn't believe that she won. It was like the happiest moment.
Q. What are you working on now?
A. Nothing in particular. I think that we're trying to work on the second album, see where that goes. Maybe try a little acting here and there.
Q. What kind of acting would you like to do?
A. Definitely stoner comedies, that's kind of my goal. I'd like to just walk into a room and improvise and be on screen, that's kind of my dream.
Q. You and Jack Black have worked together. Would you like to model your career after his?
A. Most definitely. I love everything he does. Music-wise, too, he's kind of an inspiration. He's got a killer voice, he's an entertainer and he can act. And he's a good person, too.
Q. What does your typical show look like?
A. Every show there might be an upright bass, there might be some weird instruments laying around. And then me scatting. It's usually very intimate.
Q. How do you connect with your audience?
A. All you have to do is not be afraid to look them in the eyes. You have to be telling a story at the end of the day. You have to be telling your audience something. You have to be sharing your gift.