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When Jena Irene sings her coronation single, “We Are One,” on the American Idol finale, it will be an exciting moment for another Idol — the song’s co-writer, Felicia Barton.
“It’s a real full-circle moment for me,” the season eight alum, who also penned songs for Demi Lovato and Lea Michele, tells The Hollywood Reporter. “I’m kind of freaked out.”
“We Are One” was written by Barton, Anne Preven and Mitch Allan, and the song, released on iTunes last week, is already starting to chart.
“It’s exciting,” she says of the show’s historic decision to release the coronation singles before the Tuesday performance show. “I think it was a genius move. I am really excited because I know that people are going to be in here tonight, and they are going to know the song and be excited about it.”
Barton is best known for competing on the show’s storied eighth season, which finished with a showdown between Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, but her history with the show goes even further back.
“I was on season eight, but I auditioned for season seven and didn’t make it past the first round,” Barton recalls. “I sang a song called ‘Listen’ by Beyonce that was written by Anne Preven, who also co-wrote this song with me. At the time, I didn’t know Anne at all, and so from the very beginning of my American Idol, journey she and I have been in it together.”
Barton adds that when she heard Irene sing “We Are One” in the studio, she was “blown away not just her voice, because let’s be honest, it’s a given — she’s insane.”
Barton was equally impressed with the teen’s personality and attitude. “Jena was so humble,” she said. “She was so grateful just to be at this place and to have this opportunity, and I was just so excited.”
You could say the same of Barton. “You wait for these moments as a songwriter to be able to have a song sung by someone that just loves it and makes it their own and turns it into their baby,” she tells THR. “She really did, so I’m very proud of her and excited to go back and vote for her a million times.”
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