The Hippo


Jul 16, 2019








Alex Preston. Courtesy photo.

Alex Preston

When: Saturday, Nov. 8, at 2 p.m. (7 p.m. show is sold out)
Where: Capitol Center for the Arts, 44 S. Main St., Concord
Tickets: $19 and $75 (VIP seating) at 

American Idol runner-up performs in Concord

By Michael Witthaus

Just over a year ago, Alex Preston came close to walking away from his music dreams. Living in Nashville with his cousin, country singer Jo Dee Messina, he worked a day job and played all the gigs he could at downtown clubs like the Hard Rock, Bluebird Café and Puckett’s. 

Still, he said in a recent phone interview, “I was getting frustrated … the call kind of brought me back to it.”
The “call” was an invitation to fly to Salt Lake City and try out for the 2014 season of American Idol. What began with a video submission to the television talent show’s website grew into a whirlwind, culminating in a third-place finish for the New Hampshire native. 
“It all happened so fast,” Preston said. 
Watching his audition and subsequent appearances on the national broadcast made the unreal seem tantalizingly possible. 
“I was hesitant,” he said, “but as I moved ahead in the rounds, I thought, I could actually do this thing.”
Preston commenced a national tour with his fellow Idol contestants the summer after the show wrapped, singing on stages he’d once just dreamed about. 
“We played these legendary places like the Greek Theatre and Foxwoods,” he said. “We all learned a lot and met a lot of cool people.”
He continues to move forward artistically, doing a co-writing session with singer songwriter Jason Mraz that grew out of a meeting on the show. 
“I just played a show with him last month and we ended up hanging out,” said Preston. “I’m going to write at his house later on this year with a group of his friends.”
But perhaps the biggest moment of all came when Preston scheduled his first hometown concert since Idol ended. It sold out immediately, forcing the quick addition of a matinee performance on the same day. 
“It’s amazing,” said Preston. “They told me it’s the fastest that the Capitol Center has ever sold out. … It’s a huge honor to have so many awesome people that want to come see me.”
After performing only two songs a night on the Idol tour, Preston is looking forward to stretching out for a full-length set in Concord. He’s also eager to work with his own band, which includes two friends he played with at UNH. 
“You can really get a chemistry and a feel for the song because it’s never the same twice, and that is cool,” he said. “There is structure but also a sense of freedom.”
His performance will include “a lot of the stuff that I did on the show because I think that people are going to want to see that, but I am also playing a lot of new music,” he said. “I write a lot of songs and I’m working with my friends to get the full band sound.” 
Preston will follow his Concord show with a short tour opening for YouTube sensation Jacob Whitesides (“You’re Perfect”). 
“It’s pretty exciting, and all of the shows are sold out, which is pretty sweet,” he said. 
Later, he’ll return to the studio to complete an EP he hopes to release by Christmas. 
“I’m already in production, arranging all the songs and how I want it to sound.”
What did Preston learn from his fast-paced year in the national television spotlight?
“Stay true to who you are, but also be willing to grow,” he said. “A lot of people are really snobby with their craft. They have a direction they want to go, which is cool, but there are a lot of people out there that can offer a different direction. … I love to add that to my songs. There are so many people in the industry that can really help you shape your craft into something cool.” 
As seen in the November 6, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

®2019 Hippo Press. site by wedu