July 30, 2008

Life after 'American Idol'

<b>Back in Indiana, Overmyer works on new album, plans wedding</b>

by Melissa Soria

After competing in the most recent season of “American Idol,” Amanda Overmyer’s main focus is pursuing a career in music.

Overmyer is currently in Mulberry putting together a new album, which she describes as “southern rock.” Her single “Play On” will be released on Apple iTunes at the end of September. The album, which has not been signed by a record label, is tentatively set to be released in December.

The 23-year-old Camden native finished 11th in “Idol,” after being voted off the competition in March.

Overmyer was described by judges as the “rock-and-roll nurse” and the “bluesy-rocker chick.” In the end, “Idol” judges weren’t impressed with her performance to “Back in the U.S.S.R,” and audiences sent Overmyer home.

After the competition ended for Overmyer, she spent the next couple of months in Los Angeles, where the show was taped, where she began recording her album. Rocco Guarino, the producer of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, is working with Overmyer on her new album, which does not yet have a title.

Finishing touches are being made to the album in a recording studio in Lafayette.

Overmyer has been back in Indiana for the past month. She said she has no regrets about the show and was ready to leave when she did.

“You always had people telling you where to go, what to do and what to wear,” she said. “You were always surrounded by 50,000 people. It just got old.”

Her first concert after “Idol” was in May at the Whiskey A-Go-Go in the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles.

At the end of August, Overmyer will perform at the Harley-Davidson 105th Anniversary Celebration in Milwaukee, where she will perform original songs and covers from “Idol.”

Overmyer said she wasn’t disappointed that she didn’t make the top 10 “Idol” tour occurring nationwide this summer, and she is planning a Midwest tour after her Milwaukee performance. Overmyer will also open Lucas Oil Stadium, the new home of the Indianapolis Colts, with the national anthem at a future date.

Overmyer said the sound of her album is “straight forward rock-and-roll.” It will have ballads as well as “funky” rock songs.

Overmyer described some of the album’s songs, which she wrote after competing on “Idol.”

“‘Iroquois Lane’ is a song about a bad area, one you’re mom always tells you not to hang out at,” she said. “’Love me like you want’ is a typical rock-and-roll song about meeting someone one night. ‘Fight like a son’ is a tribute to female soldiers in Iraq: A woman can do what a man can do.”

She said the single “Play On” will be dedicated to her fiance, Casey Taylor, who she is set to marry on Aug. 23.

Since returning home, Overmyer has focused on finishing her album and planning her wedding. She said she still gets noticed occasionally.

“There’s an element to celebrity there,” she admit.

Overmyer was photographed by paparazzi after being voted off the show in March, though she said it didn’t bother her because she knew it wouldn’t last.

Amanda’s passion for music came at an early age, when she competed in 4-H sponsored talent contests and a WAZY Idol contest in Lafayette.

Overmyer is a 2002 graduate of Delphi Community High School. She received a nursing degree at Ivy Tech. Her mother, Kathy Overmyer, lives in Lafayette, and her father, C.J. Overmyer, resides in Camden.

Before “Idol,” Amanda worked as a nurse in Kokomo.

She spent time performing in several Lafayette bands, including Steeleto and Ruinaces.

In Camden, friends and family said they were proud of the “Idol” contestant.

Kathy Dunbar, a family friend and owner of Country Hair II in Delphi, said this year had been magical for Amanda. Dunbar’s family had been trying to get Amanda to audition for “American Idol” for awhile.

“For years we suggested, ‘You’d bring something new. You’d be terrific for ‘American Idol,’” Dunbar said.

Amanda has a lot of determination, Dunbar said in February.

“If she sets her sights on something, she’ll do well in it,” she said. “We’re just really proud of her.”

Several of Amanda’s family members were present for the taping of the show as she competed earlier this year.

C.J. was in Los Angeles supporting his daughter for the duration of the time she competed.

He said he was impressed that Amanda went out to Atlanta to audition.

“Getting on the show was sort of the icing on the cake,” he said.

He said he wasn’t nervous for her because he believes his daughter is “strong-headed.” Though, at times, he admit, it was hard hearing what Simon Cowell had to say.

“To watch your child take some of the criticisms, nobody likes that,” he said.

In the end, though, C.J. said the show has allowed Amanda to pursue her passion. At the time of the tryouts for “Idol,” Amanda admit she was on the fence as to what she wanted to do with her life.

Now, she has a definite plan.

“Music is my job now,” she said. “’Idol’ allowed me to make a living out of it.”

She said the experience hasn’t changed her. Overmyer was always known as being calm and collected throughout the competition.

And for future “Idol” contestants, Amanda suggests they keep a level head — despite what relentless judge Cowell has to say.

“Know who you are,” she said. “And don’t try to change that.”

Melissa Soria may be reached at (574) 732-5143 or via e-mail at