'American Idol's' Kris Allen Visits L.A. Area Middle School to Promote Music Education
The season 8 winner used hit songs by Katy Perry, Rihanna and Britney Spears to tell the story of how music impacted his life.
A gymnasium filled with some 400 eager teenagers in navy blue Frost M.S. T-shirts and khakis erupted into shrilly cheers as soon as American Idol season 8 winner Kris Allen entered the room.
The 26-year-old Arkansas native had a mission: to share with the middle school students the important role music has played in his life -- so he included brief renditions of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” and pop hits like Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time” and Katy Perry's "Firework" to tell the tale.
In conjunction with Starburst and the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, the organization dedicated to promoting, reviving and restoring music education programs in schools, the Idol alum took time out of his busy promotional schedule (Allen's second album, Thank You Camellia, is due out May 22) to entertain the kids, answer their questions, and talk about his inspirations and songwriting process. He was then joined by the Frost Middle School percussion ensemble for his hit single “Live Like We’re Dying.”
“I’m a huge advocate for music in schools and this is just another thing that I can help out with,” Allen told The Hollywood Reporter after the event. “Music was such a huge part of my life ... I want to try to give it back and pay it forward.”
In fact, Allen liked the accompaniment so much, he was pumped on the idea of taking the tweens on the road. “I seriously want them to come on tour with me,” he said with his signature smirk. “I don’t think they would and they probably cost a lot, but I love the way it sounds.”
Asked who he would have dreamed to see as a musical guest at his middle school, Allen didn't hesitate in answering: “I’m a huge Beatles fan, so Paul McCartney, that would have been amazing. If he would have walked in [to my school] and said, 'Let’s play 'Come Together’ or something, I would have been like, ‘Ok, I’m down.’”
In another philanthropic gesture, Allen is donating the piano he played on “Live Like We’re Dying” to the school's music program -- theirs was lost in a flood. Said Allen: “I think it means a lot to them, so I’m just happy to be here and happy to help them out. I’m glad that I’m in a place where I can do that."
For more Kris Allen, check out the video below where the season 8 winner talks to fellow alum and THR special correspondent Didi Benami about his new album.