‘American Idol’ finalist to spend summer at Carolina Opry in Myrtle Beach area

06/04/2013 7:56 PM

06/04/2013 7:58 PM

Stars from Fox-TV’s “American Idol” series find extra rays with concert tour stops in Myrtle Beach, but LaToya London, from the third season, will spend the whole summer here.

London, who finished in the top three of “Idol” in 2004 as second runner-up to Fantasia Barrino, behind Jennifer Hudson, has joined The Carolina Opry” and “The Good Vibrations Show” through Sept. 7 at the Calvin Gilmore Theatre.

David Olive, president of the theater, called the rigors of artists touring city to city “tough,” but the casts of both house shows welcome singers such as London stop by “to sit down and do what you want” for a season.

“It’s a nice thing for them,” Olive said, “and it’s a nice thing for us.”

After a flight last week to perform in Philadelphia, London, who was born in San Francisco and raised across the bay in Oakland, called to chat for a few minutes about her summer ahead on the Grand Strand.

Question | Gosh, 2004 seems so long ago. How has growing, evolving, recording and hitting it big on the radio made you even more happy in your heart with your voice in almost a decade since then?

Answer | It just makes me happy because it allowed me to do what I love for a living. “American Idol” was a platform; before that, I was performing with various bands. However, it’s even better if people know you ... from being on “American Idol.” It’s an even higher platform for you to be able to sustain momentum to build.

Q. | Joining “The Carolina Opry” and “Good Vibrations” shows in such a hot summer spot, how does this let you relax, not only outside work, but in focusing as part of a new family for a season, cast members with such a diverse background and such musical variety?

A. | I’m really, truly excited to be with a new group of people with whom I sure it will be a wonderful experience. And I’ll be performing for people from all over the world, all the tourists. Also, this will let me breathe a little bit, and slow down a little bit. As an entertainer, you never know what the next day is. It’s nice to do some something to slow down and do what you love to do, and meet new people and just have a brand new experience.

Q. | What songs might be your babies this summer in Myrtle Beach?

A. | You’ll have to come and find out. We’re still working on finalizing things, but there will be quite a few.

Q. | Seeing “Idol” through the years, what trends have you noticed as a fan, a viewer, and a colleague from such a big family of performers?

A. | They’re able to stylize their songs. Now, whatever songs they choose, they get to re-create it in their own artistic expression. ... That would have been sweet to be able to do that. “Idol” has gotten very huge. It’s really grown, and it’s great just seeing it evolve. It’s just bigger and better.

Q. | Who’s been the most impressive winner in your ears and eyes, from the fourth season on?

A. | As a winner, Jordin Sparks has been very encouraging ... and Candice Glover: I can’t wait to hear the material she comes up with. Girls rock!

Q. | When people hear about Oakland, besides the resurgent Athletics baseball club, people might think of the Pointer Sisters’ home base. Since the youngest sibling June Pointer’s death in 2006, do the surviving sisters stay in the spotlight?

A. | Absolutely; they’re legendary. We continue to show love to everyone who is from Oakland and has moved on to do wonderful things, and we always pay homage to them because we’re so proud.

Q. | So what leads your to-do list for autumn? A follow-up to your first CD, “Love & Life”?

A. | I’m working on new material for my upcoming album, and looking forward to getting on the road and touring in some different areas this fall and just showcasing my new material, in preparation for and promoting my new album.

Q. | Does having this summer getaway let you refresh and recharge your creativity for the studio?

A. | It does. I’m going to be in a beautiful place. And having that time to just sit down ... and sing to yourself, and really let what it is that you want to express to be able to come out ... especially with this business – it’s really go, go, go, go, so we have to make that time to really feel everything and check in with ourselves, and check in with where we are.

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