Season 8 American Idol finalist and fan favorite Allison Iraheta returns to the Idol stage to perform her new hit single, “Scars,” on the first American Idol results show of the season Thursday, Feb. 25 8/7c on FOX. “Scars” was written by Toby Gad and Alyssa James, and produced by Gad.
A devoted American Idol fan since the show’s debut, Los Angeles native Allison turned her childhood dream into reality when she became one of the final four contestants of Season 8. The 17-year-old singer impressed the American Idol judges and viewers with performances that reached well beyond her years. Her debut album, Just Like You on 19 Recordings/Jive Records, was released December 1 and features her first single “Friday I’ll Be Over U,” penned and produced by Swedish hit-maker Max Martin. Also included on the album is “No One Else,” which was co-written by American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, Greg Wells and P!nk.
Allison Iraheta was the last standing girl on Season 8 of Idol. Tune in this Thursday!
Allison Iraheta is having one of those years some teenagers can only dream about. First, she made the top 10 on “American Idol.” Then Simon Fuller, Chief Executive Officer and founder of 19 Entertainment, called her into his office and made her cry. “He told me I was going to have a record deal and I burst out in tears,” she explains. Her debut album, “Just Like You,” was released on 19 Recordings/Jive Records on December 1, 2009 and her first single, “Friday I’ll Be Over U” is out at radio now.
The album release has answered a question that has been on the lips of millions of viewers who watched and voted for Allison on “Idol” – what kind of an album would she make? The answer is, a contemporary pop/rock tour de force that teams the talented girl with the bright magenta hair with some of the top songwriters and producers in the business.
That list includes Swedish super-producer Max Martin, whose credits include fashioning hits for Kelly Clarkson, P!nk, Katy Perry, and many others. Another major producer on the album is Howard Benson, who has produced hits for Chris Cornell, Daughtry, and My Chemical Romance. Then there’s “American Idol” judge Kara DioGuardi, who has worked with Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, and Santana, among many other top artists.
There’s another name in the credits worth mentioning: Allison Iraheta. She’s the co-writer of “You Don’t Know Me” along with Mitch Allan, David Bassett, and David Hodges (formerly of Evanescence). That’s the same Allison who was born April 27, 1992, in Glendale, Calif. She was 10 years old when she viewed the first season of “American Idol” in 2002. “My parents, my sister, and I would sit down and watch. Seeing the contestants who were older than me opened my eyes as to what I wanted to do with my life. I kept watching; I have literally seen every season and I can tell you about every finalist because I remember everything about them.”
Right from the age of five, television was Allison’s window into the world of music. Her parents watched MTV and Spanish music stations. Even before that, Allison’s mother, Sara, would take her daughter to work at the hospital where she was a cashier in the cafeteria. “I’d wander off and go up to random people and start singing to them,” Allison recalls. “Mostly it was Celine Dion’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from ‘Titanic.’”
The soundtrack to that all-time box office champ was a strong influence on young Allison, but so were her parents’ musical tastes. “My dad, Carlos, listened to a lot of classic rock, including Led Zeppelin and the Beatles. My mom was a huge ABBA fan and listened to Spanish music, which is why I started singing in Spanish, even though I didn’t know the language back then.” Then there were the R&B albums that Allison would ask her older sister to buy for her, by artists like K-Ci & JoJo and TLC. And her brother, Carlos Jr., taught her to play guitar. “I’m the youngest, so whatever my brother and sister did, I wanted to do,” explains Allison. “When my brother picked up the guitar, it looked like fun, so I thought I would play, too.”
Allison was just six when she made her professional singing debut at a community event for La Curacao, a local Latin supermarket. “There were about 600 people in the audience. My whole family came. My dad was nervous and I was nervous, too. I ended up singing there every weekend.”
Growing up, Allison took voice lessons from private coaches and sang with her high school chorus. She performed at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood and at Cal State Los Angeles. When she was 15, her mother and sister encouraged her to try out for Quinceañera, a reality competition series that aired on Telemundo. She sang at the audition and was immediately asked if she could fly to Mexico the next day to start the series, which taped there for the next four months. Allison became the ultimate winner of the show.
With three male friends from school, she formed a band called Allison and the Dudes, and then Allison and the Gurus. At a charity performance held on the Paramount Studios lot, Allison met two other singers performing at the event – Brooke White and Michael Johns. She told them of her plans to audition for season eight.
Finally 16, and after watching “American Idol” for seven years, Allison was at long last eligible to audition. The family drove to San Francisco and Allison got in line at the Cow Palace one evening at 7pm. She was too excited to sleep, so was still awake at 9am the next morning when she was one of the first 50 people to sing for the first round of judging. She performed P!nk’s “Heartbreaker” and Etta James’ “At Last.” When she appeared before the four judges, Randy told her she “had something” and Paula said she was “very distinct.” She won a golden ticket to Hollywood, where she made it into the top 36, the top 12 and then the final four.
During her weeks of competition, she impressed the judges as well as viewers with performances that belied her age. She sang with maturity far beyond her teenage years. “For me, choosing songs always has to be about connection,” she says.
Her most memorable performances included a take on the No Doubt hit “Don’t Speak.” Allison says, “I am definitely a huge fan. They’re my inspiration. I grew up listening to their first album with its punk/ska sound. It was really, really nice to do one of their songs on the show.”
Allison will long be remembered for singing Janis Joplin’s version of “Cry Baby.” Allison says, “I grew up listening to Janis Joplin and I’ve sung ‘Piece Of My Heart.’ ‘Cry Baby’ is also one of my favorites. For me, I definitely connect with that one. I thought that was one of my best performances. It’s one of those songs I’ve always wanted to do.”
It was announced today that 19 Recordings has signed Allison Iraheta , and her recordings have been licensed to Jive Records.
Allison made it to the Top 4 of the recently completed Season 8 of the FOX TV sensation American Idol. The vibrantly red-haired rocker was the youngest contestant ever (age 16) to make it into the Top 12. She had aspired to be on American Idol since its debut in 2002 when she was only 9. Early in the season Allison Iraheta caught the attention of Idol judges, with Kara DioGuardi commenting, “keep your eye on that girl!” One of her defining moments on the show was her performance of the heart-wrenching Bonnie Raitt classic “I Can’t Make You Love Me” in the Top 8 round of performances.
“I think I’m still in shock that this is happening — getting to record my first album and this whole awesome experience is a dream come true!”
Simon Fuller, Creator and Executive Producer of American Idol and Founder & CEO of 19 Entertainment says, “Allison is an incredible young singer. She is without a doubt one of the best teenage singers ‘American Idol’ has ever discovered. We all watched Allison grow in confidence and stature as she performed each week on the show and we can only imagine how far this special girl can continue to blossom in the years ahead.”
“Allison was an absolute stand-out this season,” stated RCA/JIVE Label Group’s Chairman and CEO Barry Weiss. “Her bluesy, powerful voice, spunky attitude, and edgy star power immediately captivated us and it didn’t matter where she ranked on Idol, we knew we wanted her to join our amazing crop of young talent at Jive.”
Allison Iraheta is from Downey, California. The now 17 year old was born in California to Salvadorian immigrants, and has been “singing since she was a toddler” according to her family.
This summer Allison will tour across the U.S with her fellow Season 8 finalists on the American Idols Live! Tour 2009.