Crystal Bowersox: Life After 'American Idol'

Crystal Bowersox i i
Harper Smith/Courtesy of the artist
Crystal Bowersox
Harper Smith/Courtesy of the artist

American Idol returned Wednesday night with a new cast of singers and a new lineup of judges, including music diva Jennifer Lopez and legendary Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.

But even if you don't plan to follow Idol this season, the show has produced its fair share of successful talent — from Fantasia to Adam Lambert, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and even Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson.

Hear Crystal Bowersox Perform At NPR

Last season, a new talent emerged. Crystal Bowersox, a native of Ohio, didn't win the contest — she came in second — but her talent impressed the judges and audiences alike.

Bowersox recently talked to NPR's Michel Martin about her career and her recent debut album, Farmer's Daughter.

"I've had this vision for years, years before Idol, of what my first album would be, and it is finally here," Bowersox says. "It feels really good."

During the show, viewers got to know her as a hippie single mom with long blonde dreadlocks and a voice few could match. Yet the song "Farmer's Daughter" reveals a different side of Bowersox: "Remember back in high school, my brothers and me / Willie put his head through the door to find clarity," Bowersox sings. "You'd come home with bourbon breath, Jack in the air / And when you broke my bones, I told the school I fell down the stairs."

Bowersox's parents divorced when she was only 2, at which point her mom became the single parent of her and her two brothers.

"It is a little harsh, but it is healing for me," Bowersox says of the song. She says now that she regards her mom as a human being who made mistakes.

Bowersox's life after Idol is quite different from her early years growing up in Ohio, but a new album is just one of the happy developments to come into her life recently. In October, Bowersox married fellow musician Brian Walker.

"There was just an amazing feeling you get when you meet her," Walker says of his first impression of Bowersox. "But I was fortunate enough that that first impression was of her singing. ... She is pretty good."

The album features "Mason," a duet between the two and a song Walker wrote after meeting Bowersox. The couple performed the track — named for Bowersox's son — at their wedding.

"I trust him with my life," Bowersox says of Walker. "I've known him for a long time, and he has always been there for me as a friend. And now he's my husband."

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