Malaya Watson Q&A: life, career after ‘Idol’
Malaya Watson Q&A: life, career after ‘Idol’
The 16-year-old tuba-playing Fil-Am has great things ahead of her

MANILA, Philippines – The journey to becoming the newest American Idol may be over for Fil-Am Malaya Watson, but her singing career won’t be ending in defeat.

The half-Filipino Watson, whose first name in Filipino means “free,” garnered a lot of support from the Filipino community in the US during the competition. The 16-year-old tuba player from Michigan was booted out of the show’s 13th season, but Malaya made  it to the show’s top 8.

Being out of the competition did not dampen Watson’s spirits. She is set to continue her music career and join the American Idol summer tour, building up and improving based on her experiences on the show.

What else is next for Watson? Find out in this Q&A with Malaya below, courtesy of ETC:

You received a lot of praise from all of the judges and mentors this season about your vocal talent. Did that surprise you at all? And how does that make you feel, moving forward with your career?

Malaya: I mean, it didn’t really surprise me. And I think like everything they tell me, I’m just going to ride along with it and just work on it and stuff.

It seemed like Harry was always talking to you about scales, about listening to music and working on runs. Did you understand what he was trying to tell you?

Malaya: Yes, I did, because some of the stuff that he would talk about is the stuff my dad talked about, and it just helped that my dad talked to me about that type of stuff with me. So—because I could understand what he was talking about, besides everybody else.

So you sang a Broadway song, “I’m Changing” from Dreamgirls last night, and is Broadway something you’re keeping on your radar for your career in the future?

Malaya: Yes. It’s a debatable thing. I can’t really dance—I mean, I can dance if you tell me the routine, but I can’t like freestyle. So, but I don’t mind doing a Broadway type thing. That would be kind of cool, actually.

Did your braces affect the way you sang, and when are you getting them off?

Malaya: I’m sorry. I don’t know if they have, because I started singing when I got my braces. Like, that’s when I started taking it serious, when I had these braces on my teeth. So, I mean, maybe it did. Okay. Oh, God. I was supposed to get them off almost three years ago, and apparently that didn’t work out. So, I’ve just got them still. I was supposed to get them off freshman year.

If you could do anything differently, as far as song choices or arrangements, if you could go back and change something, would you?

Malaya: Yes, I’d probably play piano more. Probably one thing I would do.

You had said before that you had considered doing a little acting, and with the acting and the singing, do you envision having some kind of a career doing stage, or going somewhere like Jennifer Hudson did? 

Malaya: Yes, like doing movies and stuff like that, yes. I’ve always wanted to do stuff like that. That would be pretty cool, like, I’ve always wanted to just venture off and just get big in that also, because I don’t want to just stick to just making music.

At only 16, did you actually go into the competition already knowing what kind of artist you wanted to be? Or did that develop throughout the competition?

Malaya: It kind of developed throughout the competition.

Being the youngest person on the show, did you find yourself pretty impressionable, and therefore did you have kind of trouble taking in all different opinions and figuring out what to do?

Malaya: No, I just picked whichever opinions sounded more realistic and more of a thing that I could work on to improve myself, and just worked on it.

What are your thoughts on there only being two girls left now? Do you think Jena and Jessica are in trouble at this point? Or could you see either of them actually winning the whole thing?

Malaya: I don’t know. It’s really tough to decide what would happen, now that I am gone. But yes, the girls are like, becoming a little scarce. It’s really weird. But, I mean, at the same time, you never know, because America changes their mind a lot.

What do you see your album looking like?

Malaya: Probably, like, a lot of collabs with people. Much more of an R&B-type feel to it. Like, throwback and up-to-date R&B, and blues, and soul.

Did you ever feel like Harry was ever too harsh on either you or the other contestants? Or did you think he was pretty fair?

Malaya: No, I think he was honest, honestly. That’s the best part about it. He actually told you what you should work on, or what you need to do, and stuff like that. So, I think, to me, his advice was honestly the best, if you want my opinion. –


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