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JAN
16
11 MOS

Candice Glover Talks Finally Releasing 'Music Speaks' Debut Album

The season 12 champ also thanks Jennifer Lopez for helping her focus, cheers on new judge Harry Connick Jr. and shares how she rose above Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj's bickering.

Candice Glover album cover P
"Music Speaks"

If you like love songs and silky vocals, chances are you'll love Candice Glover's Music Speaks.

The 24-year-old season 12 American Idol winner is set to release her first album on Feb. 18, and spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about making music and life after Idol. 

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"Love is my favorite thing," she said of the record. "I'm a hopeless romantic and I want people to listen to the album and fall in love all over again. I'm hoping it helps people get through what they're going through. My main focus is to help people through music."

Originally slated to hit shelves only two months after she won Idol, Music Speaks was pushed back twice before securing a firm release date seven months later. "At first, I thought people would forget about me, and then there were all the negative things people were saying about the season as a whole, and that discouraged me," she admitted. "Eventually, I got to that moment where I knew delaying the release would help me more than hinder me."

The extra time gave the South Carolina-native a chance to spend more time writing for the album. While "Forever That Man" is one of her favorites, others were more of a stretch for the mild-mannered singer, who admitted she was apprehensive about how the public would react to more grown-up subject material in songs like "Damn," a track that chronicles the heartache of being a man's other woman.

"I was like, 'Are you sure people are gonna connect with this?' When I went into the studio and heard it I realized this is something a lot of people won't admit to being a part of, but they're in that right now. I think it's gonna connect for a lot of females," she said.

The 12-track album is filled with songs that prove Glover is a lot more confident than her shy demeanor on the show would suggest. 

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"It's funny because ever since American Idol, people look at me without makeup and think I'm 15 years old -- they think I'm really young and quiet and shy, and that I've never been in a relationship and have never been in love or anything," she explained. "I didn't portray wanting someone to touch me all over when I was on the show, but I'm 24, and I had to realize that people are going through stuff like that and people want to hear songs like that."

She credits her time on the Idol tour for her newfound confidence -- thanks to performing Beyonce's 'End of Time' at so many shows -- and acknowledges how far she has come since America watched her fight for the top spot for a third time before winning. "I knew it would be work, but I didn't know it would be practice and sound checks and meet-and-greets. It's tiring, but it's good."

Returning judge, Jennifer Lopez, helped Glover get her game up for the competition when she auditioned for her on season 11. "When I made it, I was on the floor sobbing. Everyone else was cheering, I was a mess and J. Lo came in there and told me I needed to get it together because I had a gift."

She has high hopes for the new judging panel that includes Harry Connick Jr., the man who served as one of her season 12 mentors. "In every interview, when they would ask me who should be a judge, I would always say Harry Connick Jr., so I think I had something to do with him becoming a judge!" she gushed. "He has a blunt, dry sense of humor. You never know if he's joking or not, and I think that's going to catch a lot of people by surprise."

The new panel has lost Randy Jackson, but retained Keith Urban, and Glover agrees that the drama between last year's decision-makers, Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey, might have made it difficult for fans to focus on the contenders.

STORY: 'American Idol' Finale to Be Held in New York?

"People would always say that the drama that was going on overshadowed us, but the one thing they agreed on was me. I don't know if I agree with that too much. I tried not to pay attention," she said. "When I was backstage, I wouldn't even watch the screen because I didn't want to see what was going on or hear any arguments, especially if I was next. I tried not to pay it any attention because it would probably mess me up." 

Glover is hoping to model her career after fellow Idol alum Jennifer Hudson and revealed she would love to tackle Broadway or the big screen. But for now, Glover is hell-bent on launching a successful singing career and adjusting to life as a bonafide artist. 

"I think after a while, they start to take you seriously -- at first, you're just a girl who won a talent show, basically," she said. "It takes a while to go from that to being a real artist and being taken seriously. You have to be confident and know that you're an artist now, this is work, and this is how you pay your bills. I remember when I was younger it was such a big fantasy for me. Now that I actually have a career and have made an album, it's really surreal." 

Music Speaks hits shelves on Feb. 18 on 19/Interscope.