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American Idol season 11 semifinalist Jermaine Jones is moving on with his career and harbors no ill will toward the show, despite his dramatic disqualification by the show’s producers after it was discovered he gave fake names to Gloucester police for outstanding warrants.
“To sit and dwell on the negative, you will always be in that dark place. I decided to pick up and move forward from that,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter.
Jones is taking a high-road approach, rejecting participation in a current lawsuit brought against the show citing racial discrimination by ousted contestant Corey Clark.
“I have nothing to do with that at all,” Jones says. “My name is all throughout it and people are saying this and that, but I have nothing to do with that. I have definitely moved forward from that situation. I am grateful for the experience, the good and the bad, and I embrace everything.”
At one point, he considered trying out for another show — NBC’s The Voice — but decided against it.
“I was going to audition for The Voice but I have so many great things going on right now in my career,” he said.
Jones has instead opted to put the past behind him and soldier on with several exciting new projects, including a new video, his own company and a career in the movies.
This Sunday, the 6’8” singer, dubbed “The Gentle Giant” on Idol, will don a giant pair of angel wings as the “Teen Angel” in a New Jersey high school production of Grease.
“[The song] ‘Beauty School Dropout’ in rehearsal was amazing last night,” said the Westminster Choir College alum. “The kids are phenomenal. They are so excited. Every time I open my mouth to sing, they were in awe. I’m like, you have to remember your part, you can’t focus on what I’m doing.”
Trained in classical and opera, the 26-year old baritone said he enjoys working with kids and encourages them to “practice, practice, practice.”
“I tell the kids to stay focused and stay true to your music,” he says. “I can’t stress that enough. It’s easy to get distracted, especially in this industry.”
Jones is focused on the music video for his single, “All Around the World.” Jones recorded the song in California with producer Shavoni Parker (Prince of Egypt, Boomerang) and said the clip will be released next month through his independent label, The Maine Train. The song is currently available on iTunes.
Also on Jones’ busy agenda is the singer’s Independent Artist Cafe, an all-encompassing project Jones hopes will help aspiring artists in the New Jersey area. A showcase filmed at the Firehouse Cafe in Mount Holly, N.J., will be filmed next month and broadcast on Comcast Bounce Television in April.
“I am going to build a competition around it, with a winner who will then release a single,” said Jones, who also works as a vocal instructor. “It’s going to give up-and-coming artists an opportunity and a platform to share their gift.”
Jones also said he will be cheering on two of his friends from last season as they compete on Idol this season: Curtis Finch, Jr. and Candice Glover, both cut in season 11 but in the running this year.
“I’m rooting for them,” he says.
As for his future, Jones hopes people will check out his new film, The North Star, co-starring former Philadelphia Eagle Jeremiah Trotter and Clifton Powell. The trailer for the film — which explores the journey of an escaped slave — is up and running on YouTube.
He also said that having his own company is giving him the freedom to continue to pursue his dreams, post-Idol and beyond.
“When you are a real artist, you really love music and you have the gift and the music is in you, it’s not for the competition show or for TV. You really do want to have some kind of control over what you do with your music and your career,” he says.
Twitter: Michele Amabile
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