Kris Allen Working With Fray Frontman, "Idol" Vets On Debut

June 22, 2009 1:33 PM ET

Last week Adam Lambert revealed he's working with Lady Gaga producer RedOne on songs for his first post-Idol album. Now AI Season Eight champion Kris Allen is talking with Billboard.com about the producers and songwriters he's recruiting for his debut disc, due out in the fall. So far, Allen has nailed down collaborations with songwriter Claude Kelly (Kelly Clarkson's "My Life Would Suck Without You," Britney Spears' "Circus"), producer Salaam Remi (Amy Winehouse, Nas) and former Evanescence keyboardist David Hodges, who previously worked with Idol alumni Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry and David Archuleta.

"I've been writing a lot with a lot of different people, and it's going well," Allen told Billboard. "Each writing session has been a learning experience. I think that we are trying to figure it out and that it's going the right way and I'm really excited about it. I can't wait." Despite the dance/rap influence of his current writing partners, Allen is reportedly hoping to make a disc in the Jason Mraz mold. Allen also recently spent time in Timbaland's Virginia studio, not to work with the Shock Value producer, but to collaborate with the Fray's Joe King, who inspired Allen's Idol performance of Kanye West's "Heartless."

Hodges — whose fellow former Evanescence bandmates just last week recruited Idol Season Seven contestant Carly Smithson to sing in their new band the Fallen — will also reportedly work with Lambert on the runner-up's first disc for 19 Recordings/RCA, Billboard reports. Hodges has essentially become Idol's go-to producer, previously helping to co-write Clarkson's "Because of You" and Archuleta's "Crush," plus tracks by Daughtry and Blake Lewis. Hodges is so far the only producer to work with both Allen and Lambert on their debuts.

Related Stories:

Adam Lambert Teams With Gaga's "Just Dance" Producer RedOne
Kris Allen "Flattered" By Adam Lambert's "Hilarious" Crush
"American Idol" Winner Kris Allen Sets Debut Album

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Song Stories

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Otis Redding | 1966

This pop standard had been previously recorded by dozens of artists, including by Bing Crosby 33 years before Otis Redding, who usually wrote his own songs, cut it. It was actually Sam Cooke’s 1964 take, which Redding’s manager played for Otis, that inspired the initially reluctant singer to take on the song. Isaac Hayes, then working as Stax Records’ in-house producer, handled the arrangement, and Booker T. and the MG’s were the backing band. Redding’s soulful version begins quite slowly and tenderly itself before mounting into a rousing, almost religious “You’ve gotta hold her, squeeze her …” climax. “I did that damn song you told me to do,” Redding told his manager. “It’s a brand new song now.”

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