'Idol' Alum Stefano Langone Splits from 19, Red Light Management: They Weren't 'Getting It'
The season 10 finalist, who's signed to Hollywood Records, will manage his own career. "I can strategize and feel great about it," he tells THR.
From the moment Stefano Langone began his American Idol journey, he was a survivor.
The season 10 alum, who was rescued from elimination as Jennifer Lopez’s wild card pick, persevered during the competition, eventually finishing in seventh place. After the show, he secured a record deal with Hollywood Records and management contracts with 19 Entertainment and Red Light Management. But in an exclusive interview, Langone tells The Hollywood Reporter that he has severed ties with both 19 Entertainment and Red Light and is taking control of his own destiny by managing himself.
“Truth be told, I had left 19 back in January of this year,” he says. “It really just came down to one thing: my vision -- what I wanted to do and the amount of time that we were actually engaging with each other. I rarely ever talked to 19 Entertainment about anything relating to my career and where I wanted to go.”
As for Red Light, Stefano says that, at the beginning, they were working together “100 percent,” but that the management company wasn’t “getting it as well.”
The 24-year old Kent, Wash., native does have good news for his fans, however: He remains with Hollywood Records and is working on new material, including a mix tape. He's also building a home studio and bringing in his old team from Seattle, Lazar Music. Among his collaborators: songwriting partner Rush Davis, songwriters Priscilla Renea and The Futuristics, and Idol bandleader Ray Chew.
“This is just the beginning," Langone says excitedly. "I’ve been independent for two weeks now. I’ve already got shows lined up. Getting out there and being in control of my own destiny... I like it this way, and it gives me a great opportunity to work with the label on a more one-on-one basis. I can get in there, strategize and feel great about it.”
So what happened? Langone says that, essentially, he and his management weren't on the same page. “I am not one of those artists that gets handed songs and records them,” he explains. “I write a lot of music, and knowing what direction to take... Hollywood gets it in a way. They signed me when I got on the piano and showed them what I do -- how I play and how I sing. They are not willing to let that go.”
Langone, who is now based in Los Angeles, says he feels confident in his decision partly because of encouragement he received from Disney Group president Ken Bunt. “He called me personally and said, 'Regardless of the decisions you’ve made, I respect you for that and we will stick behind you 100 percent.' I am very fortunate to have a label like Hollywood behind me.”
Since signing with Hollywood Records, Langone has released two singles: the summer party anthem “I’m on a Roll” and the romantic slow jam “Yes to Love.” Despite the initial success of “I’m on a Roll,” with 20,000 downloads upon its release, neither single gained traction at radio.
“They were great records for what they were," Langone says. "'I’m on a Roll' was a summer fun record. It got great reviews, sold a heck of a lot, but there was no real push behind that record. And then 'Yes to Love,' which is a really heartfelt record, there wasn’t enough innovation. The ideas behind these records weren’t there. They weren’t executed the right way. They could have been. That being said -- I’m still here. The label believes in what I do. So now it’s about taking that next move.”
With the American Idol season 12 tour getting ready to hit the road, Langone adds that the time is now for the current Idols to make their mark. “This is the most pivotal point," he says. “You are really fending for yourself. And you could look at it from that perspective on the show. I didn’t, unfortunately.”
Speaking from experience, Langone recalls his summer on the road, when he waited patiently as James Durbin and Casey Abrams got record deals. “They got signed for a reason," he says. "That’s what made our season so great. We all had our own niche and truly believed that it was just the beginning."
And even if a restart is in order, Langone insists, “I’m really enjoying this time in my life, and I feel like something special is around the corner. Now, with my team, I’m going to go out there and take it by storm. Why not?”