The enchanting and charismatic smile and voice of Jared Cotter was perhaps one of the reasons viewers tuned into American Idol. This time around, Mr. Cotter decided to sit down with De novo Magazine to discuss life before and after American Idol, life on the show, and an introspective look into his life.
Mr. Cotter graciously accepted our interview invitation and through the process we have greatly enjoyed getting to know him.
Moreno: Jared, thanks for meeting with us. Glad to see you are doing well. As with all our interviews, tell us when the magic began.
Cotter: Well my father was in the entertainment industry and he opened my eyes to it. He had record deals when he was my age. And my Great- Grandfather was the first African-American to perform at Carnegie Hall. So it’s in my family.
Moreno: Wow! That's quite an accomplishment. Tell me about your childhood.
Cotter: I had a great childhood. I grew up in Long Island about an hour and half away from New York City. I was very happy and active.
Moreno: Sounds like you have nice memories. Are you still close with your family?
Cotter: I have a great relationship with my family, and luckily they have always been very supportive. I’m very blessed in that aspect of my life and it's something I try not to take for granted. There are a lot of families that are broken and I know that in today’s day and age having both parents still together seems like a rarity, let alone having them be supportive.
Moreno: What qualities do you look for in your friendships?
Cotter: A true friend is hard to find. That person will be with you no matter what. Will stop everything just to help you out. I’m blessed to have a few of these people. I need to be better a better friend to some of my friends. I’m glad they’re still around
Moreno: During your performance on American Idol, were you surprised by anything?
Cotter: I was surprised at the judges sometimes. But I understand that at the end of the day it’s a TV show. It was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. You can never really expect anything because they keep you in the dark. It’s a need to know basis. Moreno: So, what did you make of the judges?
Cotter: My impression was that they were doing their jobs
Moreno: Tell me about the moment when you found out your Idol journey ended.
Cotter: I did not see it coming walking up there; however, since I’m very tall and Ryan is not the tallest guy in the world, I saw right over his shoulder to the cards. I was very surprised at the results. I was actually surprised at all the results that night.
Moreno: So, who did you think was going to win? Did Jordin's win surprise you?
Cotter: I knew Jordin was going to win from the start. She has it all. Her voice is absolutely amazing. I’m so happy for her. And I let her know how proud I am of her every time we speak
Moreno: What do you think makes you different as an artist? What did the Idol viewers miss out on?
Cotter: What makes me different is that I’m going to bring real music back. There are a lot of artists that are fabricated. I’m not going to be one of them.
Moreno: Clearly you see success in your future. So, how do you define it?
Cotter: Success is defined by the individual. There are people with jobs that society may look down upon, yet they may feel very successful, and they should.
Moreno: I've been asked by some of your fans to tell us what like is like on American Idol. Care to share?
Cotter: It’s not as glamorous as you might think. It’s a lot of waiting around and rehearsing. Its very hard work.
Moreno: Before you auditioned for American Idol, what were you doing?
Cotter: I was auditioning for everything else, waiting tables, [and working] as a struggling musician, model, and actor.
Moreno: Now that you have appeared on Idol and received some fame and popularity, how do you plan to keep the momentum?
Cotter: It’s about persistence and knowing exactly what you want and pursuing how to get it. The day I got voted off I was hustling to see what the next step would be and that’s how I landed a TV hosting job on Fuse TV. I co-host a show called “The Sauce”. You should check it out. It’s a lot of fun! Its Live Monday through Friday 6-7pm EST.
Moreno: Since you work in the entertainment industry, Is there anything that bothers you?
Cotter: It's just not what it used to be. There’s no more artist development. Real artists are not getting shots anymore. And there are a lot of people that are in high positions that are not creative. They are just people that are good with paperwork. We need to put music back into music business.
Moreno: It seems you think a lot about your career, whet else do you think about?
Cotter: I’m actually always thinking about the next step, which sometimes is a bad thing because I don’t give the step I’m in enough time. I’m always asking myself what’s next and I pray a lot about the answer. I just try to take what God gives me and do the best I know how to with it
Moreno: What do/did you make of the Sanjaya hype?
Cotter: I thought the hype was a little crazy, but I think Sanjaya is a great kid and I wish him all the best.
Moreno: In general, what annoys you? What brings you pleasure?
Cotter: Ignorant people annoy me. I know that’s probably a broad statement but it’s the truth. Whether its ignorance about something as significant as racial discrimination or something as simple as just being a jerk.
Moreno: Do you still keep in contact with other idol members? If so, who?
Cotter: I stay in contact with as many as I can. I’m very busy with “The Sauce” and I know a lot of us are busy with other things too. Like the top 10 are on tour right now but I did go and see one of the shows and met up with them. On a regular basis I still speak with Brandon, Antonella, Blake, Chris Rich, Paul Kim, and of course Jordin. From time to time I speak with Phil, Lakisha, and AJ. It;s funny I’ve hung out with past Idols too like Elliot Yamin, Constantine, and Anthony Federov.
Moreno: What do you ultimately want from life?
Cotter: I think I want what everyone wants and that’s just to be happy. Happiness is different to everyone but God knows what will make me happy and slowly but surely He’s getting me to where I want to be.
Moreno: Is that what you ask God for?
Cotter: I ask God for Health for my family and me. He’s given me so much that I hope to be able to enjoy it with the people that I love.