Elliott Yamin: 'A Soulful Kind Of Dude'

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Songs From 'Fight For Love'

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Elliott Yamin vertical

Elliott Yamin still watches American Idol — and says his favorite this season is Danny Gokey. Nick Spanos hide caption

toggle caption Nick Spanos

If you're not among the tens of millions of people who watch American Idol each week, now is as good a time as any to meet Elliott Yamin from Season 5.

Yamin is a classic Idol story: a young guy from Richmond, Va., who dropped out of high school, bounced around in odd jobs, got his GED and tried out for the competition — and placed third.

His warm, self-effacing personality, mixed with his awesome pipes — and his love for his mom — won over fans of the show. As for the singing part, he covered R&B classics from Donny Hathaway to Stevie Wonder, and that flavor runs throughout his new album, Fight for Love.

It led judge Paula Abdul to call him "one funky white boy."

"I guess it just comes from my environment, my background, where I grew up and how I grew up," Yamin says. "I was introduced to soul music at a very young age — my mom was a soul singer. When I was a kid, I remember trying to emulate Stevie Wonder's sound, and Donny Hathaway's sound. It's just part of who I am — I'm just a soulful kind of dude."

Yamin spoke with guest host David Greene about his new album, his second release after the end of his tenure on American Idol.

"There really was no transition," he says. "I'm still Elliott Yamin. I'm still the funky white Jewish boy from Richmond, Va. Everything that we went through on the show — all the hoops, and that whole machine — coming out on the other end, I feel like I've really handled it well. And I've learned how to handle it well, all from the show, you know?"

Click the link at the top of the page to hear the full interview with Elliott Yamin, starting around noon ET on May 2.

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