Meet Travis Garland, the new discovery from Perez Hilton performing on tonight's 'American Idol': it's a Music Mix Q&A!

Travis-GarlanImage Credit: Chris PolkTonight’s American Idol results show will feature a special performance from Travis Garland, a former boy band member — he was in short-lived group NLT, which (fun fact!) also featured Glee‘s Kevin McHale — now striking out on his own with a new single called “Believe.” But Garland’s not alone in his solo quest: he’s also got the support of the world’s biggest gossip blogger-turned-music mogul, Perez Hilton, who brought Garland to the attention of Idol producer Simon Fuller. We got the two lads on the phone for a quick convo about their collaboration, and Garland’s plans for world domination.

Entertainment Weekly: Travis, how are you feeling walking up to the big Idol performance?
Travis Garland: I’m feeling excited, anxious, nervous, but mostly ready. Ready is the strongest feeling I’m having right now.
Perez Hilton: He’s ready. I’ve been going to rehearsals. It’s so amazing. They’re just perfecting it now.

Jason Derulo set the Idol performance bar pretty high this year — Travis, are you going to top it?
PH: Who?

Jason Derulo had a pretty great performance on the show earlier this season.
PH: Who? [giggles] I’m only kidding.

Travis, are you an Idol fan?
TG: I am. I’m rooting for Bowersox this year.

What do you think you need to do to make a mark while performing on the show?
TG: I’ve been really studying a lot of performances, you know, gearing up to go on the show. I think I just want to do something different, something that hasn’t been done before. We’ve got a couple surprises in store.

Tell me one surprise.
TG: Um… we have a little bit of fire involved, but it’s not like the typical pyro. It’s some crazy new technology.

What was your reaction to finding out Perez was interested in your music?
TG: I was blown away. I’d done this remix of “Dead and Gone,” and I posted it on my MySpace and Perez got word of it. Next thing I knew, my manager was calling and said, “Hey, Perez wants to work with you.” It was so unexpected.

Perez, did you know Travis from NLT?
PH: No, I was never even aware of NLT. A bunch of people, probably NLT fans, sent his cover of “Dead and Gone” to me. I heard it and I was instantly blown away, like, “Wow. I like this better than Timberlake!” And then I met him, and heard some of the other stuff he was working on for himself, and I was impressed. I was like, this is not some boy band reject. This is a real artist. He sings, he dances, he writes, he plays piano, he produces, he engineers. He does it all. And he’s also really young and hot. I really think there’s a void in the marketplace for him. There’s a lot of guys right now in radio, but none of them really stand out except for Justin Bieber. For every Justin Bieber there seems to be five others. There’s like Jason Derulo, Iyaz, Taio Cruz — but they just have hit singles. I don’t think any of them are resonating as artists. And I think Travis will really make an impact and connect to audiences, as a person and as a musician.

Why?
PH: Because he really has it all. First of all, he’s young, so he’ll connect to that Justin Bieber audience. He’s only 20 years old. He’s hot. He can dance. He’s got an amazing voice. And he’s got that star quality. And he actually writes his own music and plays piano. He’s not some manufactured pop act. And he doesn’t shy away from pop, which is what some people might do. Some people think of pop music as a dirty thing, but no, it’s a beautiful thing. Because he makes pop music, I hear him getting played all over the world.

Travis, were you writing your own stuff when you were in NLT?
TG: Me and the boys actually wrote our single, “She Said, I Said,” which was produced by Timbaland. But songwriting is a passion of mine. I’ve always been doing it.

You’re a good Texas boy who grew up in Lubbock, a town that always makes me think of that Mac Davis song about “happiness being Lubbock in my rear view mirror.” Were you looking at pop music as an escape?
TG: Naw. I loved growing up in Lubbock. I just always had a passion for acting and singing, and growing up on R&B music like Brian McKnight and Brandy and Boyz II Men, I just kind of followed my dreams. I went to the performing arts high school, entered an acting competition when I was 14 that took me to Dallas, and I won that, which took me to L.A. It all just kind of fell together.

Were you worried at all at the end of NLT that it was the end of the road for you?
TG: Um, there were definitely some of those thoughts crossing my mind. But I try not to dwell on the negative. I feel like if you work hard and keep hope alive, anything is possible.
PH: Like his song! He believes!

Way to tie it back in! Perez, Travis’s appearance on Idol was driven by your advocacy. How do you know Simon Fuller so well, that you can call in this favor?
PH: I’ve known him for several years now. Late last year we got in a partnership together with this boy band we’re putting together. It all comes full circle.

And it all comes back to boy bands.
PH: The time is right! We’re trying to bring the boy bands back. So like three months ago, I played him a bunch of the other artists I’m working on, and he was just really impressed at the variety. He told me he really wanted to help me break one of my acts, and have them perform on Idol. He was excited about having an unknown singer have their performing debut on that platform, which is the biggest one on American television.

Are you still surprised that you’re able to wield so much power over people’s taste buds?
PH: I don’t like to use the word power. I like to use the word opportunity. I have a great platform. I have several great platforms, to share. Whether that be my website, my Twitter, or my radio shows. And my audience has the ability, or the opportunity, to receive. There’s a lot of times when I recommend music and it just doesn’t connect. So it’s always really nice when it does hit. And this, I think and I feel and I’m starting to see already, is hitting in a big way. No one deserves it more. Travis has been working at this for years, and I’m so excited to be part of the process. I can’t believe the song is at 130 on iTunes right now, just based on my website mention, and the work we’re doing on Twitter, and maximizing the little press we’ve already gotten. He hasn’t even gone on Idol yet.

Speaking of, what happened to that poor Sliimy fellow?
PH: [laughs] I’m still working with Sliimy, and I think he’s fabulous. I love that I worked with him. I’m not your traditional record label that just sees dollar signs. I want to work with people who make good music. I’m a believer in artists, and a believer in good music, and I’ll continue to work with artists who I think maybe aren’t the most commercial, but speak to me. Thankfully, though, I think Travis has got it all. He’s a real credible artist, but he’s also making music that I can wholeheartedly hear on radio all over the world.

What’s the ultimate dream for you, Travis? World domination right off the bat?
TG: I’m extremely ambitious, so Perez, you might want to answer that one first.
PH: I’m extremely ambitious, too. But at the same time, I look at someone like Lady Gaga. She achieved world domination, but it took a long time. I still remember her releasing “Just Dance” in March of 2008, and that song not going number 1 in America until January 2009. So we’re both ambitious, and I have the strongest faith and confidence in Travis, but I’m also patient. I’m not going to give up on him, and the music is that good. If it doesn’t connect right away, then it’s about getting it to the right audience.
TG: I have a lot of long-term goals. I’m willing to put in whatever it takes to get there.

Longevity is definitely the trick these days. We’re all about chewing people up and spitting them out.
TG: I love you said “we.”

Yeah, I know. But I feel like people have to be careful not to throw everything at the wall right out of the gate and then have nothing left for a followup.
PH: That’s something that really impresses me about Travis. He’s only 20 years old. He writes these great pop melodies, these hooks, and these lyrics that are well beyond his years.

It’s a very youth-oriented moment in pop culture — Travis, who are some of the people in your age range who you admire?
TG: I really admire Justin Bieber right now. I really appreciate his talent, and I can really respect someone who handles the kind of success he’s received so well. I respect his maturity.

What else can we expect from your upcoming album?
TG: You can expect a great urban pop record. Danja produced a good chunk of the album.

Any other collaborators?
TG: I did a duet with JoJo.

All right. And Perez, are you still gunning for that empty Idol judging chair next season?
PH: Absolutely! Although I haven’t personally picked up the phone and asked Simon Fuller, I’ve made it very public that I want the job.

Why haven’t you picked up the phone?
PH: I don’t know. I think it’s nice to be courted?

You can’t play hard to get in Hollywood.
PH: That’s a good point. All right. Thank you. If I don’t see him at Idol, I’ll send him an email.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

More from EW.com’s Music Mix:
‘Glee’ Exclusive: Susan Boyle to play the McKinley High lunch lady?
Axl Rose sues former manager over alleged ’sabotage’
Joy Division’s Ian Curtis: Gone 30 years today
Christina Aguilera’s Lady Gaga talk: For real, or for show?
Austin City Limits 2010 lineup: Eagles, Phish, Strokes, M.I.A. among headliners

Comments (86 total) Add your comment
Page: 1 2 3 4
  • susan

    Anyone associated with perez hilton is reason enough for me never to buy him. Idol will give him a boost but just like Sliimy hopefully he’ll disappear. Artists need to realize that perez is poison and a digusting excuse for a human being.

    • cassie jones.

      perez has done nothing but good things for travis.
      he believes in him & isn’t trying to change him whatsoever.
      & he’s definitely not ‘poison & a disgusting excuse for a human being.’
      that’s the most ridiculous thing i’ve ever heard.

      • josh

        is this perez’s mom?

    • Sally in Chicago

      If Travis turns out to be gay, can he be a teen idol? Like Justin?

      • Juan

        You mean like Rock Hudson? Tab Hunter? George Michael? Adam Lambert? I’m going to assume you are dense and answer all these questions for you. Yes, if Travis turns out to be Gay he can be a teen idol.

      • sumwhut

        but juan he better not admit he is gay (if he is) until he is at the end of his career. It is hurting Adam Lambert most def. The other guys you mentioned were dead or almost gone when were outed.

    • Heather

      They made a really big deal out of this guy like he was already a household name. If he wanted to compete on Idol he should have gone through the same process the other contestants did.

      • DJ

        Um, I dunno. Maybe because he already has a RECORD DEAL and his album is coming out THIS YEAR. What would be the point in him being a contestant?

  • Bettina

    The idea of having Perez Hilton join American Idol is so horrible, I almost want it to happen.

    • Kit

      I would never. Watch. Again.

  • dgh

    Really Perez Hilton this website is going to sh*t after Doc gives his last LOST recap this site will go into the dumpster right beside zap2it.com

  • Tommy Towhy

    I hope he isn’t porking Perez Hilton. If you are gonna sleep your way to the top, you could do so much better than PH, especially if you are as hot as Travis…

  • Jen

    The boy band was LMNT, not NLT! Wow, I am embarassed that I know that…

    • Jen

      sorry, I got confused at the Glee reference…ignore comment

      • courtney

        It was NLT stands for Not Like Them. I was actaully a fan…sadly. SO yeah…

  • abby

    God I hate Perez. Why would anyone associate themselves with him. Sorry Garland but hope your career dies an early death.

    • cassie jones.

      why do you have to hate on travis?!
      if anyone deserves it, he does.
      he’s worked so hard for this & he’s so talented.
      i don’t understand why you would hate him so much.

      • josh

        maybe you’re this travis kid’s mom too?

  • Sam

    Wow, people really are hating on Perez! Personally, I love him. I think he’s bold, ballsy, and knows what he’s talking about. I would LOVE to see him on Idol.

    Oh, and Travis’ song is hot as heck. Just sayin’.

    • lisa

      Perez sucks balls. He’s a piranha. I went and listened to this kids song and it sounds like all the other club pop songs all over radio. Nothing innovative at all. He’ll do well at first because of Idol but with any luck he’ll drop to nothing because of perez. If he has any talent he should quickly disassociate himself with hilton.

      • crispy

        “Perez sucks b—-”? Seriously?! Why would you state something so obvious. Your just a wittle idiot aren’t ya?

    • tom araya

      Perez hilton is the worst. I hate him so much that I will not buy or watch anything that lumpy butt ugly girl made or is associated with.

  • pop

    his association with perez hilton is enough to make me avoid this kid as much as the plague.

  • Perez

    Perez is one BIG ass! It’s hard to take him seriously

  • courtney

    Ok, so the whole perez thing is stupid. But travis is really good, so don’t knock him off beacuse of some stupid gossiper guy, perez itsn’t his manager or anything..so really?

    • Jeff

      Did you watch the American Idol performance? that was pure crap, i was shocked they would even put him on it… isnt the show about talent?

  • toni

    most of u guys havent even listened to travis’s music. hes amazing and ive been a long time fan of him. so what if hes workin with perez. i know travis will make it even u guys dont believe it.

    • cassie jones.

      i completely agree. travis is amazing & people just won’t give him a chance.
      he’s better than half of those artists out there right now.

      • josh

        wow…..maybe your are doing him too

  • Amanda

    I personally LOVE Travis’ music and I have since the NLT days. Who cares if you don’t like Perez. That doesn’t mean you have to hate on Travis, too. Gosh people, be more accepting to new things! :)

    • Kayla Kurys

      AMEM! He’s amazing! I’m so glad that he’s getting this chance, and I know he’ll kill it! He always does(:

      • Kayla Kurys

        amen* ;P

    • tatiana

      LMFAO. I just watched him on AI. Perez thinks he’s better then Justin Timberlake. What a joke. He SUCKED. I was embarrassed for him.

      • mick

        So did I and your right. That was one of the worst performances I’ve seen this year.

  • Lauren

    YAAAYYY! I’m soooo happy you’re FINALLY getting noticed travis, you deserve it.

  • Question

    Perez obviously loves Lady Gaga and is invested in her career, but how does Lady Gaga feel about him? Has she talked about him on record? Curious.

    • Mike

      Well, I can say I went to elementary school with Travis at Honey Elementary school in Lubbock, TX. Afterwards, he attended O.L. Slaton Jr. High and I heard he left town for LA, but I never knew what he left town for.

      NOW I know why!

      It’s impossible for me to forget that sexy mole on his cheek and grey patch in his hair. lol

      I read his name in Lubbock Avalanche Journal and was instantly amazed and appalled that Travis found a way to make a performance on American Idol.

      Yes, according to Perez video interview with Travis on Travis’ myspace. He has contacted Lady Gaga, and she likes his song.

      Overly ambitious? Maybe, but it sure would be neat to be able to say I know a superstar. Not only that, but perhaps the next Buddy Holly to come out of Lubbock!! Our town desperately needs as much positive publicity as possible. Seems like the only national news we do get is when Texas Tech University does something stupid.

      I wish the best for Travis in all his future endeavors! The boy has alot of cahones to pursue the music industry straight out of high school. Opportunities like this come very few and in between.

      (oh yeah…btw..no Travis is not gay for all the haters out there.)

      • ….

        His music still sucks and that fact that he’s associated with Perez should be an embarrassment and bring shame to your town he didn’t get his help for his “talent” in singing but rather bending over and taking Perez one inch pecker

  • mel

    i agree with Sam below. i really don’t see what’s wrong with Perez at all. all of what he has been saying is so very true. maybe if everyone would erase the words “Perez” and “boy band” from your minds, yall would actually open your ears and hear all of TG’s beautiful songs.. and that voice!!! :)

Page: 1 2 3 4
Add your comment
The rules: Keep it clean, and stay on the subject - or we may delete your comment. If you see inappropriate language, e-mail us. An asterisk (*) indicates a required field.

When you click on the "Post Comment" button above to submit your comments, you are indicating your acceptance of and are agreeing to the Terms of Service. You can also read our Privacy Policy.

Latest Videos in Music

Advertisement

From Our Partners

TV Recaps

Powered by WordPress.com VIP