Carly Smithson is at the center of an American Idol debate: should singers with a professional background have an opportunity to audition on the show?
The contestant recently talked to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about her previous recording contract and failed album "Ultimate High," released in 2001.
"I kind of had a bad experience," the American Idol finalist said.
Smithson (known then as Carly Hennessy) worked with Gregg Alexander, lead singer of the New Radicals and he pushed her toward a more alternative record that she was ready for.
"Gregg pushed the envelope with the lyrics," Carly said. "I thought it was a great, cool record. I listen to it to this day. It had some great tracks on it. He helped me find exactly what my sound was. I was pleased."
Given the adult nature of the CD, MCA waited until Smithson was 18 to release the single "I'm Gonna Blow Your Mind" (about oral sex, Antonella Barba fans).
It was gaining traction, she said, but then 9/11 happened and "nobody was interested in shopping a new record."
At that time, the label tried to promote the CD in Europe. Carly moved there, but she said the record company went away at that point and promotion really stopped.
"The [Wall Street Journal article that documented her failure] forget to mention all that," she said. "It looked like I put out a record and it went nowhere."
She said the reacton to the story "was kind of crazy. One article can have such a snowball effect. They believed everything in it."