'American Idol' Season Three Finalist Recording New Album

Jon Peter Lewis, the first singer to bring rock ‘n’ soul to “American Idol,” will release his second album this spring.

Chris Garcia, who has worked with Santana and Michelle Branch, Dido and Jewel, is producing the album under the guidance of executive producer Don Grierson, a former head of A&R for Capitol and Epic Records involved with Bob Seger, Heart, Duran Duran, Cheap Trick, Celine Dion and Tina Turner.

JPL, as he was known on “Idol,” is writing or co-writing several tracks for the album, which will feature such esteemed session musicians as guitarist Nick Lashley (Alanis Morissette) and drummer Kenny Aronoff (John Cougar, Indigo Girls).

The as-yet-untitled album is the follow-up to Stories From Hollywood, a limited release distributed through independent roots rock label Authentic Records, which featured the infectious singles “Boy Next Door,” “If I Go Away” and “Turn to Grey.”

Before he was a successful solo artist and household name, Lewis cashed in his college loans to audition for “American Idol” in Hawaii, where his rendition of Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love” ushered him through to Hollywood. He went on to win the audience vote in wildcard week after his take on Elvis Presley’s “A Little Less Conversation,” a performance MTV News called “one of the most memorable in ‘Idol’ history.”

Lewis’ wide vocal range and uninhibited stage personality eventually prompted Simon Cowell to call him “the dark horse to win the competition,” Rolling Stone to peg him as a “pick to win” and Elton John to praise his “excellent pitch and phrasing.” JPL took part in the 50-city American Idols Live Tour with Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and headliner Fantasia in the summer of 2004.

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