Tim Halperin was in millions of living rooms just a couple of years ago.
The Omaha native was one of the top 24 contestants on season 10 of “American Idol.” Unfortunately, after being named a finalist, he was eliminated quickly, but his music career has continued.
After “Idol,” Halperin released his debut album, “Rise and Fall,” in 2011, and it hit No. 14 on Billboard's Heatseekers Chart, which highlights new and emerging artists.
Last week, Halperin opened for the first “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson at a benefit concert in Dallas for Opportunity Education, a foundation started by Joe Ricketts, founder of Omaha-based TD Ameritrade.
We spoke to Halperin just before he opened the concert.
Question. How has your career been lately?
Answer. I've been good. I've been running around a little bit but having a blast.
Q. Are you excited to perform with Kelly Clarkson?
A. Oh, my gosh. I'm out-of-my-mind excited about it. It's just an amazing opportunity. I've never met Kelly. I met a lot of “Idol” alums when I was out in L.A. for the show. I'm excited because, from what I hear, she's really down to earth. It will be cool to not only do a gig with her, but meet her as well. What's interesting is that after winning “Idol” she jumped out of her contract with 19 Management (the management company that works with “American Idol” winners) as soon as she could. I am a little bit curious about that. I bet she's learned a lot on her journey, and it will be interesting to hear how it worked for her after the show. I'd love to know what her life is like. I love her music, and I've listened to her tunes over the years.
Q. What do you do for a performance like this?
A. The nice thing about a good performance opportunity is that it comes along with some good radio and TV promotion. I was telling people today that I need about two big performances in any of my key markets to keep the momentum going. Mine are Omaha and Dallas. In Omaha, we do our annual holiday shows, and I'm in talks to do another Omaha show in the fall. In Dallas, we got to open for Blake Shelton in the fall and now we open for Kelly Clarkson.
Q. How has “American Idol” affected things?
A. My worry coming off “Idol” was, “Will I be relevant two years from now?” Luckily, people have rallied behind my original music. For me, it's one step at a time. Whenever I get a big performance opportunity like this, I get really encouraged.
Q. Have you gotten to meet any inspiring people?
A. I got to meet Ed Sheeran last month. I was pumped about that. His songwriting is phenomenal. Through my friendship with a DJ here, I got to hang with him. I was asking him a bunch of questions, and he probably thought I was some kind of crazy fan.
Q. You've had some music on TV shows, including “Revenge” (on ABC). What has that been like?
A. Yeah, I've had some cool opportunities with licensing. We had “Pretty Girls” on “Revenge” and then my song, “She Sets Me Free” got renewed for a national ad campaign for Belk, a clothing store. I'm really excited for what's coming up next. I just got back from a college booking thing that we showcased at, and we'll be hitting 22 schools in the fall. I'll also be putting out another album in the fall.
Q. Have you been working on new material?
A. I've been writing a ton. I did a writing trip to L.A. and did some writing in Nashville. I have a good eight songs. With this next album, I want to write between 30 and 50 songs and narrow it down. I want to really dig deep with my writing. We'll get into the studio this summer. My producer is also my guitarist. He's great. He does good work in both Nashville and Texas, and he has a real organic style.
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