I am Buzz Knight and welcome to this bonus Friday edition of The Takin’ a Walk podcast, music History on Foot.
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Today we talk to someone we feel like we all know pretty well who has been spending many nights in our living room over the years. Certainly the days of American Idol, she was part of that and such an influence. Paula Abdul musician, TV personality, dancer. She’s our guest on this episode of Takin’ a Walk. She talks about her prowess for finding talent. We caught up with her at the Consumer Electronics Show as she was promoting IdolEyes her new fashion audio glasses and we can’t wait for you to catch up on this bonus Friday with Paula Abdul on Takin’ a Walk.
Paula, it’s so nice to meet you and to have you on the Takin’ a Walk podcast as we talk about music and music history. When did you know you were first connected with music?
Well, I was fortunate. I have a sister who, fortunate for me, she’s seven years older. Not fortunate for her. I was the brat she always had to babysit. But I was very heavily influenced by her musical taste. So when I was four and five years old, I was memorizing every song to Stevie Wonder, Carole King, the Tapestry album, the songs in the Key of Life, The Jacksons. I fell in love with music and that was where we shared our common ground.
I had challenges. I had attention deficit disorder and a bit of dyslexia. For me to study and memorize in order to get good grades I would hum songs, nursery rhymes, and that’s how I would memorize the important facts that I needed to remember in order to score well on my tests. In addition to that, I always say that a world without music would be completely unfair. And for me, a world without music and dance would be absolutely diabolical.
I was born three months premature. I had terrible hip dysplasia, and for a dance you have to have turned up hips. But as a singer too, I had collapsed lungs and a broken wind pipe. So the first three years of my life were a complete challenge of having enough breath control to have enough oxygen. I spent most of the time fainted.
But what music and dance did for me was give me that undying love that I had a heart place that I connected to at a very, very, very young age. And if I didn’t have that, I don’t think I would at all be where I am today.
And what I love about music is that it doesn’t matter if you have arrested development in socializing skills. It doesn’t matter what kind of mental distress or mental illness that you’re going through. It’s a place that you can escape and find love, find safety, find comfort, and the ability to communicate with people.
And it’s so fortunate and such a blessing to be able to find your life true calling at such an early age. And I did. Some people search a lifetime to find that outside heart and place. And I knew as a young girl that that’s my passion.
I have goosebumps. It’s awesome. Now, what are some of those many highlight moments from American Idol in terms of certain artists that you knew right away that, bingo, they’ve got it.
Well, that’s the beautiful thing about being able to be a mentor. And I’ve been a mentor pretty much my whole young adult life all the way through. I’ve always been able to spot uncanny, raw, untapped talent and I have a knack for that. It was a job that fit like a hand to glove for me to be able to be… I don’t like calling myself a judge. I’m a curator of talent and I’m a mentor.
But man, every season I would self-address stamp and get notarized on an envelope my predictions when it was the top 20. Even before. When it was like we were at the Pasadena and we were doing Hollywood Week, I would start making my early predictions. And when it would get down to the top 20, I would list my top three finals and then I’d do a separate one who I thought was the winner and it would be notarized and sealed.
And every season on entertainment Tonight at the end when we got down to the finals, they’d open up the envelope. And I was right every single time except for Chris Daughtry because I really believed Chris was going to win, but I feel part and parcel to the fact that he may not have won. But I always say that those who need to win win, those who don’t need to win really do extremely well. It’s a win-win situation.
But I was gunning and championing Elliot Yamin so hard because I knew for a fact in my mind, Chris is going to win. Chris Daughtry is going to win. But I got people to rally behind. And then all of a sudden when there were four contestants left, Chris was knocked out and it was shocking. Shocking. And Elliot was in. But yeah, I love being around talent. My whole life I’ve been a teacher and a mentor to young talent. And I would know immediately who was going to stand and last throughout the competition.
And what I loved about this show, which a lot of people forget, is the fact that we would bring in pioneers in the business. We would celebrate Holland Dozier, we’d celebrate Leiber and Stoller. We’d have Neil Sedaka come on. We’d have incredible songwriters and incredible performers to help give history to these young kids who had no idea about this music, but got a real amazing college level lesson in who these great people were that inspired songwriters and artists.
So you’re combining music now with technology, with an exciting new project. Tell us about the project.
I’m so thrilled because I’ve wanted to enter into the tech arena for quite some time, but I needed to have something that would combine my career history with music and sound outside of the EarPods that people wear to have something fashionable. And I think that when fashion meets technology, you have a win/win situation. And the fact that I found the right partners with One of One and their immense success that they’ve had, this allowed me to get into an arena where I was able to take my fashion sensibility and marry it in the world of technology and created IdolEyes.
Now, IdolEyes, what a great name, but it’s perfect for the through line of my life. And these glasses are incredible. They are universal, they look great on everybody. This is not catered to gender specific. These look great on everybody. And I spent a lot time working on the styles, the colors and just the sensibility, the weight, the ability to wear these all day, have it last, five-hour battery life.
And the fact, like I said, I could teach and move around and dance and not have to worry about them falling off. They’re comfortable and they do so many incredible things, especially the quality of audio is incredible. The fact that you can easily connect it to Bluetooth, you can put your own prescription added to these lenses and they come with an extra set of lenses that you can pop out and pop in. And it’s protecting the blue light. And the fact that the colors and the styles of the frames, they rival any other fashion, like high end fashion sunglasses.
They’re beautiful. You’re beautiful.
Thank you for the joy that you continue to give us and thanks for being on the Takin’ a Walk podcast.
Of course. Thank you, sweetheart.
Thank you. Thank you.
Happy new year.
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