It is Thursday May 29th 2003 at 1pm and thanks to Julia DeMato and her assistant Marily I am on the Phone with her as she sits in a coffee shop in New York City at the moment on her cell phone.
Now for our readers who may not know who she is. She is one of the final contestants from the mega hit TV show American Idol. In short how it works is they go to several cities NY, Atlanta, Miami, Austin Nashville Detroit and LA. I am not sure it is in that order. Out of the approximately 70,000 people who show up to audition only 234 get to the final audition then of the final 32 chosen by the judges (Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell). America votes on 4 groups of 8 plus 3 chosen by the judges from the recently eliminated and 4 more from previous auditions that didn't make it through the normal process to make a final 12 after votes from the audience. So if you do the math this is quite impressive odds of being in the top 12.
Then each week America votes on the final 12 until there is one and the way the process works is who ever receives the least amount of votes goes home. Unfortunately Julia was the second one to receive the minimum amount of votes and went home. However the 40 city tour will put her back on the map.
A short history about Julia: she was one of the most promising contestants to make the finals. Her audition of "un break my heart" sounds so good without music that you hardly notice it is missing (I may post that clip). I feel bad that she got voted off so soon but two things may have contributed to her early demise. One was the fact that she is really shy, focused and reserved got mistaken for her being stuck up and having done this interview I can contend that that is not true. The second event was earlier in the show a sequence of events led to what is now know as the "infamous spat" which the producers grossly overcapitalized on and may have hurt her (but I doubt it) since it kept being replayed. For any of you who need to know about it you can e-mail me or post it in a response. Out of respect for her I will not go into the details here.
I recorded this interview over the phone and transcribed the whole thing. You can listen to the audio by clicking these links. This one will let you download the file and play it at your convenience (right click "save as") or clicking on it will buffer the entire clip and open your media player. This one will bring up your Windows Media Player© and stream the file. This will not work on dialup very well in which case you will have to download the entire file. The audio quality is limited and I will post some other Bit-rates soon. You can also order this interview in .WAV format on CD along with a copy of the interview with Vanessa Olivarez. The audio quality is far superior.
To those reading this. It was a lot of fun talking to her and I would like to talk to all the contestants but you have no idea how much work it is to transcribe 25+ minuites of audio and get it accurate. Anyone who has gotten court transcripts knows what I am talking about. I have been told by her assistant that this is one of the longest interviews she has done.
If I had a chance to do another interview with her I would do it in a minuite. Contrary to what you may have read on message boards and other sources. She is a real sweetie.
Thursday May 29th 2003 1:20 pm start recording:
LPN: Hello everybody this is Scott Meenen from Liberty Post News and I am on the phone here with Julia Demato who is currently in New York City.
JD: Yes I am...
LPN: What are you doing with yourself in New York City these days?
JD: I am actually doing a... I am being a celebrity judge for a show called "Meow TV", which is on the Oxygen Network.
LPN: As in Oprah. Oprah's network?
JD: Yes it is.
LPN: Ok, and what is the name of the show?
JD: It is called "Meow TV".
LPN: How would you spell that? Neow?
JD: Meow like a cat. LPN: Oh JD: M-E-O-W.
LPN: Oh! Ok. Yeah Ok. [ Editors note: It is hard to imaging a show named Meow TV.]
JD: So basically what I am doing I am being a celebrity judge for human beings that entertain their cats.
LPN: Oh that sounds very interesting!
JD: (laughs) Its pretty interesting and its fun, I went to the premier at the Whiskey Bar the other night in Manhattan and its been a fun adventure.
LPN: How did you end up with that gig?
JD: They called me and asked me if I wanted to do it.
LPN: Its amazing. How many offers have you had so far?
JD: Well since the show I have not stopped, so I have been pretty busy.
LPN: Good... That's good, everybody thinks it is the end of the road when the show ends.
JD: Oh absolutely not its like just the beginning, I can't even imagine what its going to be like when my contract is over with American Idol.
LPN: Is it ok for you to talk about what that entails?
JD: Yeah, basically I am under contract with them 3 months from the final show and then I am done with the contract with them unless they opt to sign me to their record label.
LPN: Ok! I always wondered how that worked. I guess that is why some contestants went out on their own already and others you haven't heard much.
JD: From last year?
LPN: From this year.
JD: Well we are all under contract still.
LPN: Ok, Ok that's interesting.
LPN: Yeah the first question I wanted to ask is how in the world did all this happen, how did you end up on American Idol?
JD: I watched last year and I just said "you know what I have this voice and I have never done anything with it" and I have never performed and I said that " If I am going to do anything then this is the time to do it" and I decided to come down here to Manhattan and try out and it worked out for my best interest!
LPN: It sure did! How long a line did they have there?
JD: I waited for nine hours.
LPN: Nine hours! Wow!
JD: Just to get a bracelet to audition.
LPN: Is it like a hospital bracelet that they put on you so that they know who you are?
LPN: Very similar. Yeah I remember watching it on TV that was quite cute, Simon scared you didn't he?
JD: He did scare me.
Editors note: At the end audition she said to Simon Cowell something the the effect of "You scared the (bleep) out of me".
LPN: Is he really that mean?
JD: Actually I absolutely love him. I think he is great. You know he is honest and what he says is constructive criticism and you just gotta take it and move on with it. You know some of the things he says I disagree with but most of them it I agree with. So, and then off camera just him personally I think he is great. So I have nothing bad to say about him
LPN: You just wouldn't know it watching the show.
JD: No you wouldn't, you wouldn't. But you know that's his role on the show and he's honest.
LPN: What do you think of the other judges?
JD: I think they are all great. I don't not like any of them.
LPN: Did you decide on your own to go audition or did you have a lot of people encouraging you that "you ought to go try this out", as I understand that is the rule not the exception?
JD: A lot of people encouraged me but I didn't tell any one that I am going to do it.
LPN: Oh! Ok.
JD: Because I kind of just wanted to do it on my own and you know not have the pressure of everyone "well did you do it"???
LPN: I get, I get the idea, that way if you succeed you succeed and then you can share if don't then no one will know.
LPN: A bunch of questions here: What is your most memorable part about being on the show or what you will miss the most?
JD: Probably the times in the house with the contestants. Editors note: I am thinking aloud "Those were some nice digs"!!! Just the down time that we had together and the personal moments that I have between some of the contestants and I really like doing the group medleys and that kind of thing I mean the whole experience in itself is so memorable that there is not one thing that stands out in my mind when you ask me that question.
LPN: That was a nice house!
JD: Uh Huh!
LPN: Was it nicer than it looked on TV?
JD: It was beautiful, the view from the house was absolutely magnificent. That's the thing I will miss the most is the view from the house.
JD: It was awesome.
Editors note: The producers put the final 12 contestants up in a beautiful mansion that must be worth at least several million or more. They had a fantastic view of Los Angeles, a pool, hot tub and countless other amenities. It was nice that they got to live like superstars, some longer than others. I do not know at what point in time they stopped using the house.
LPN: I understand that after Wednesday's show they immediately have you starting on next weeks show how you pick songs and what you are going to do and everything else. If that that way it worked?
JD: Uh Huh...
LPN: The songs that you got to choose from how did you choose that did they present a list or did you just pick some or how did that work?
JD: They presented a list and if the song that you wanted to do was not on the list then Susan Slamer [pronounced SLAY-MER] who got all of our songs cleared would try to clear them.
LPN: One of my questions here is how many songs did you decide wasn't right to do and then come up with one that you would do. In other words how many did you have to reject. Not that they were bad but there were better choices.
JD: What we would do is we would listen. They would give us a CD of like most of the songs that were cleared and we would just sit and listen to them. I don't know how may were in each category, but that is what we would do and we would decide on which song we liked and then just pick that one.
LPN: Fascinating process. Any idea what the judges mean when they say "the song just didn't suit you"?
JD: I am sorry what was that?
LPN: A lot of times the judges will say "the song just didn't suit you right", any idea what they mean by that?
JD: It just wasn't your style, I guess that is what they mean.
LPN: Or maybe the way it was sung wasn't right for the song.
JD: Or your voice didn't fit the style of the song or the song subject didn't suit your personality or who knows what they mean. it could mean anything.
LPN: I sometimes think they are not sure themselves. Although JD: Yeah. LPN: I understand that as many grueling hours that they must spend on that show its amazing that everybody can keep their cool like they do.
LPN: Any advice for anyone auditioning for the show obviously the odds of getting on the show are astronomical and I estimate that if 50,000 (Actually I believe the official number was 70,000 if you include the interviews done at local TV stations) I am afraid to guess how many people will show up next year.
JD: You know what I wish them the best of luck and you gotta to go into it with a positive attitude and just think. I went into it thinking I am going to make it to the top 10 and I did. You really have to keep your head on straight and have a lot of patience because it took 6 months to get where I am from first audition until now. I mean that is not a long time but when I think back at the beginning like oh my God its such hard work, people have no idea what we went through to get where we are today.
LPN: Right. The audition process between the you arrived in Glendale [Calif.] and the time that we saw it on Television what was that like, or how was that handled?
JD: How long was it?
LPN: What was it like, what were the judges looking for I am guessing it is like an endurance test to see how you can endure performing without breaking? Is that a fair estimate of what it was like?
JD: Well they were looking for many different qualities obviously your talent your style your confidence your personality it was kind of worked in together and I don't know how they picked between all these 70,000 people but they knew what they were looking for when they ran out to audition people.
LPN: Before you got in front of Simon Paula and Randy did they have like a pre screening panel?
JD: Oh yeah we went through two auditions before we got to the three judges.
LPN: That would be interesting to watch, those auditions.
JD: Yeah we went through about seven auditions all together.
LPN: Seven, wow!
JD: It wasn't just one it was seven different auditions.
LPN: Is that until you get to see the three?
JD: No there was two before we get to see the three and then when we went to Glendale there was about four more auditions. LPN: Ok. JD: In front of the judges.
LPN: Ok. Now it is starting to make sense how all this works. I guess that's the hardest part of the whole thing.
JD: Well its just the process of elimination.
LPN: This upcoming tour what is that going to be like, I assume that everybody is going to be on the tour.
JD: Unfortunately Corey and Vanessa aren't on the tour which I am very upset about.
LPN: Yes, it remains a mystery as to why Vanessa is not on the tour.
JD: And we tried, I love her to death we tried to get her on. Like we have been complaining and they are we like "there is nothing that we can do". Which it's just a bunch of bull to me. But you know we don't have any say as to what who goes and who doesn't.
LPN: I believe the unofficial reason is she didn't sign a contract.
JD: Yeah I think that is what it comes down to.
LPN: In that case I can understand what they are up to and Corey we will find out down the road what happened with all that.
LPN: I am not going to speculate.
Editors Note: All of the final 12 contestants would
be doing a 40 city tour (July/Aug 2003) with the exception of Corey Clark
who it was discovered had been charged with a crime that he kept from the
producers and was disqualified from the program but still got a song recorded
on the CD, Joshua Gracin who is in the military may or may not be on the
tour and Vanessa
Olivarez , the exact reason that she will not be on the tour still
remains a mystery and she did not get to record on the CD.
The best information I can get about the tour is that the organizers of the tour will only planned for the top 10 which gets complicated: Since there was originally a top 10 but the judges added more to make 12 then Vanessa got voted off she was now considered to be in the top 12 . So there will only be 10 on the Tour. I have very good information that there were some other factors that led to her demise but I will not publish them openly.
LPN: What are your plans for the future as far as singing. What songs would you like to do, would you like to produce an album, do you like to sing in groups or individually?
JD: I would like to have a solo album. I definitely want to get a contract with some record label. I have also been offered a lot of acting positions so I am kind of going off into two directions right now. Right now I am basically concentrating on the tour and my voice and definitely going to pursue acting also and I have gotten a lot of offers for modeling. So it has brought on a lot of things that I have never thought that I would want to do and be able to do when people see this in me and they tell me that I should definitely go in those three directions.
LPN: I would take what you are most comfortable with first and don't burn yourself out.
JD: Yeah but I am very comfortable in front of the camera and singing so I guess "hey why not" if you have it all then you should just go for it you know. If people see in me that I have it then I should definitely go for it.
LPN: That is very good. Obviously by the number that showed most people don't have that kind of talent. But obviously if you are getting offers from all over then there is definitely some...
JD: I mean I have gotten a couple. It's just certain people that I have talked to that have been in the business for A long time and I know people who say things and just to say "I am in Hollywood". But a lot of people who I trust in Hollywood have told me that I should do it and I trust them and I am definitely going to pursue it.
LPN: That's good, well I am looking forward to seeing you. I have a few more questions here I am just trying to see what I have not covered. What perks will you miss most when you are gone, other than that nice view?
JD: Oh Man, It's sad that the show is over and fortunately we have the tour coming up and you know it is hard to see it end and I am very excited to see what everybody does because I know every one is going to be very successful from the show. I am going to miss that first week that we were all together: The Top Twelve it was so amazing that first week was just absolutely incredible and Ill miss that the most. Just the whole thing, the whole experience you know to see where we all started and now there is an American Idol [Ruben Studdard won the competition by a narrow margin] and I can't wait for their albums to come out and it's very exciting and it's emotional.
LPN: I did listen to the CD and your song "At Last" although I will be honest and admit that I don't recognize that song.
JD: You don't know Etta James?
LPN: Ill be honest I don't. I listen to a lot of music but I don't recognize it, sorry.
JD: Wow, really hmmm.
LPN: Although I noticed that there were a few songs that Simon [Cowell] didn't even recognize .
JD: Oh no, he knows that song.
LPN: No not that I mean other songs that were played on the show. He said "I never heard that one before".
JD: Oh Yeah there were a lot of songs on the show that I didn't even know and I listen to everything..
LPN: Yeah so I guess it just depends on you demographic.
JD: Yeah, Yup.
LPN: Other than the thing on ... Let met try this again? (I hate when that happens)
LPN: Oxygen, I'm sorry what else is in the immediate future besides the tour?
JD: I am singing at the Special Olympics, I am going out to Atlanta to do some more stuff for "Meow TV", I am singing at a Mets game hopefully before the tour. There has been talks about me singing at a Yankee game. But I am not definite about that yet and just media stuff really. I mean we leave in three weeks, so we leave June 23rd for the tour.
LPN: That's going to be awful grueling.
JD: Yeah and the tour is 40 cities in 55 days.
LPN: Everybody thinks that show business is all fun and no work.
JD: Oh I have never worked so hard in my whole life. I do not stop. It is amazing. But I love it it's my passion, you know and if you have passion for it you are not going to stop until you get it.
LPN: This is true and you don't know what else is going to come your way until it happens. So while you are working on this something else may come along JD: Exactly LPN: Or you may do a bunch of movies.
JD: Hey, who knows I mean, I think my voice comes first and then if that happens then that happens. But I really want to use my voice to get me somewhere.
LPN: So you would prefer signing versus acting?
LD: Well I would love to do both. But I really concentrating on my voice right now.
LPN: Have you had anymore training with you voice or done more practicing as a regular schedule?
JD: Well I do have a vocal coach but unfortunately with all my trips to LA. and my busy schedule I have like had not any time to meet with him. His busy schedule and my busy schedule kind of conflict. But once the tour is over I am going to go back to seeing him.
JD: Yeah, he taught me a lot in the three sessions that I had with him. So it did help.
LPN: When you choose your songs on the show how long did you have to spend polishing them up, before the next show?
JD: Well whatever time we had, like maybe a half hour a day. We had no time to do anything it was like grueling 15 hour days.
LPN: What was the bulk of that day spent if you only had a short time to practice the song for the show?
JD: Photo-shoots, interviews, appearances, everyday there was something more to do from 7 am till Midnight. So it was like we would have our headphones and we would go into the studio and record the song that we were going to sing and we would just really literally just listen to it and that was like basically the only practice we had unless you were singing while you walking through the house or doing what we were doing. Literally that was the time, we maybe had an hour with [Debra] Byrd and Michael [Orland] who helped up with preparing the songs.
LPN: Right, I understand that they were awesome.
LPN: That's not much time to get good, I think that may be part of the elimination process or part of the procedures to see how well you can learn a song on a quick note (no pun intended).
JD: I mean the songs are only 1 minute 9 seconds so it wasn't like we have like to do... You know the medleys were harder than the personalized songs because we would learn the medleys like the night before the show. So it was really a grueling process but you prepare yourself for it, you have to. There is no other way of doing it.
LPN: I love the medleys, especially the fast songs like "Footloose" were everybody runs out into the audience.
JD: Yeah that was fun!
LPN: What were your favorite group medleys that you did?
JD: I liked "Time of My Life" from "Dirty Dancing".
LPN: I liked that...
JD: That was like one of my favorites.
LPN: "What the World Needs Now Is Love", you were part of that and I remember you're the last note at the end.
JD: Yeah, I am famous for that now (laughs). It's funny.
LPN: Yes I have come up with different names for that last note and it is so cute to hear. It's almost like a pure tone. Almost sounds like a pure meow at the end.
JD: Awww... Perfect (laughs), thank you.
LPN: Yes that's so cute at the end there.
JD: Awww thanks.
LPN: Yeah. I really like the group songs are there other songs that you wish they had done that they didn't?
JD: Ummm... Not I really didn't think about that. There aren't really. I wish I could have done songs on the show that unfortunately didn't fit into the categories.
LPN: What were they?
JD: Umm. I would like to have done "Unbreak my heart". Which I auditioned with but I would have like to have sang it on the show. On tour I may be able to do that.
LPN: Ok, I didn't realize that's the song that you auditioned with because I found the clip on the internet last night and played it and I was thinking to myself "My goodness that is a pure clean voice there". JD: (Awww... thank you). LPN: I think someone edited it at the end because you hear Simon say "you're going to Hollywood". JD: Yup. LPN: There was a little bit of echo in the room too you can hear that but that was really nice and clean.
JD: Thank you.
LPN: I like stuff recorded in a studio although live performances are nice too.
LPN: So I guess right now you are off to other venues?
LPN: Somebody from New York who runs several fan web sites sent me questions he just wanted me to ask. his name is Matt and he wanted to know "If you could change anything, what would it be"?
JD: I was very nervous and I think people took me the wrong way on the show like the audience though that I was like a snob or stuck-up and I think it had a lot to do with my nerves and now that I am off the show a lot of people come up to me they are like: "Your personality has totally changed". So I don't know, I guess I can't change that because of the stress level and everything but I just really wish that people saw me for who I really am because I am not, I am not stuck up and I am not a snob. Like you said when you first talked to me that people thought that of me and that really bothers me.
LPN: Yeah It's no secret if you go to the Fox website the have the "Ego-Metter" there and you "peg the scale".
JD: Yeah I think it says I am the top one, what is that?
LPN: "Pretty Princess"
JD: "Pretty Princess", Yes... (laughs). But you know I mean, people are going to have negative comments about me and that's fine. But.
LPN: But you are not the only one that shares that rank too. So.
JD: No, I know, I know.
LPN: You know it could be an honor.
JD: Yeah right...
LPN: Anyway. That's all the questions I can think of right now, is there anything that you want to share that people should know?
JD: Just thank all my fans, all my faithful fans that have been so good to me and have written to me and I hope that they look for my album when it comes out and they buy it and just stand by me and I will show them my talent.
LPN: How much fan mail have you gotten? Hundreds, thousands of letters?
JD: Tons, Tons and I try to write back to everybody. If there is anybody that I didn't write back to just give me a little time I am really busy right now. So I will get back to them as soon as I can.
LPN: That is what I tell everybody who contacts me and I try to but it's a lot of work when you're contacted "day in and day out".
LPN: Yes, Anyway it was very nice talking to you and I look forward to seeing you on the Tour. You're supposed to be here in the DC area at the end of July I believe.
LPN: At the MCI Center in DC.
JD: I look forward to it...
LPN: Well by that time you will probably be so tired that you won't be able to sing.
JD: I know, Well no I have to I have to (laughs).
LPN: The show must go on.
JD: The show must go on... That's right.
LPN: Ok. Well anyway we have been on the phone here with Julia DeMato from American Idol obviously she is going on to bigger and better things. Including an upcoming tour and maybe we will hear from her again sometime in the future.
25:42 end of file.
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