Neither the music world nor the fashion world, or maybe even the film world, has seen the last of Quentin Alexander.
The wheels were already turning inside the sleep-deprived brain of the New Orleans singer Thursday morning, just hours after being eliminated from “American Idol.” Alexander had reached Season 14’s top six in the Fox reality competition before his exit April 22, “Arena Rock Anthems Night” on the show.
“I’ll be back home for a little bit, and then it’s back to work,” Alexander said in a call from Hollywood. “I have a couple of projects that I was working on before, and that is the short films that I’m working on that incorporates my music, as well as the fashion that I’ve created. So I’m really excited to introduce that to everyone so we get a chance to see firsthand what kind of artist I want to be.”
The 21-year-old singer stood out on the show, not only for his soulful voice, but for his original fashion sense — head scarves, furry jackets and all.
“I take a lot of inspiration just from being broke and having to go thrift for things, and seeing the kind of things that are in the costume shops and watching people in the industry today,” Alexander said. “Like André 3000, Erykah Badu, Kanye West — they all kind of have their own look at everything, and they put things together just to make themselves happy. I feel first, and then people just enjoy it.
“I definitely sketched out a couple of things I’ve been working on before, and, hopefully, within the next month or so there’s going to be some clothing out, so be looking forward to that.”
America’s voting off Alexander and once again saving the perpetual “bottom three” contestant Rayvon Owen, of Richmond, Virginia, followed a particularly dramatic previous week on “Idol.” Alexander had exchanged heated words with judge and fellow New Orleanian Harry Connick Jr. after Alexander expressed his frustration at seeing two of his friends, “two great singers,” — New Orleans transplant Joey Cook and Owen — in the bottom two, knowing he’d be saying goodbye to one of them at show’s end.
“This really sucks … it’s all whack,” Alexander said, when asked by host Ryan Seacrest how he felt after a tough critique from Connick for his performance of Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way.”
Connick responded by saying he thought Alexander was being disrespectful to the show, and if he really felt that way, he could leave. The two made amends later on in the show and shook hands.
“I do not feel that I was judged too harshly (by Connick),” Alexander said. “I feel that he held me to a high standard, which is always great to do that to a student, I feel, because it gave me something to work towards. And I’m actually the least technically-trained singer that made it through to the top 10. And the fact that I was even there was a great accomplishment, and I appreciated every chance he got to tell me that, ‘You know, this is what you need to work on,’ so I knew exactly what I should work on.”
As for whether his spat with Connick turned off “Idol” fans, who vote each week for the contestant they want to stay in the competition, Alexander said there’s no way of knowing for sure.
“It definitely could have played a role, but I don’t really know that and I’m never really going to know. But either way, I’m still proud of the way that things happened,” he said. “You know, I wouldn’t change that moment with Harry (Connick) and I for anything because it was a real genuine moment, and for me to change it, would be for me to change my journey overall. And I think things happen for a reason and I’m all about timing, and it happened, and maybe it wasn’t time for me to be on tour, stay on the show. There’s maybe another path I need to take first for that to happen.”
Progressing to the top six in the competition baffles him.
“I would never have imagined that I would make it this far,” he said. “It seemed as though every week that I went through the process, I shocked myself more and more, and it ultimately built my confidence as an artist. They really kind of nurtured my art within myself, because I was afraid coming into the competition that people weren’t going to understand or people weren’t going to be receptive, and they were kind of automatically going to ridicule what I did. And the fact that they embraced it and now want more, it made it all worth it.”
Alexander’s immediate plans are to return to Louisiana for a few days, and catch some sleep and Jazz Fest.
“I’m hoping that I actually get home in time for the festivals because it’s the greatest time of year in New Orleans, to have all the music come in, and all the people come in from different places in the world,” he said.
He’ll return to Hollywood after that to prepare for the “Idol” finale airing May 12 and 13.
He said he also plans to get back on stage somewhere in New Orleans in the near future, and maybe not alone.
“Since we (he and Cook) live in the same city, that’s something that could happen very easily, so we’ll definitely be discussing that … I’ve gained so much knowledge and tools and relationships, and they’re going to be there for life. It’s great that I know I have something tangible to hold onto after everything is done.”