He made it big as a member of the boy band NLT, but now singer Travis Garland is breaking out on his own. The Texas native just sang his single, "Believe," on American Idol, and now J-14's got the scoop on the song, what it was like to perform in front of Idol judge Simon Cowell, and if he's still friends with former NLT member and current Glee star Kevin McHale.
J-14: Can you tell us the story behind "Believe"?
Travis Garland: I co-wrote it with [producer] Danja. I've just been working with him, and this is the one we selected as the first single. I get inspiration from everywhere. For "Believe," it was just going in and free-styling melodies. That's how I start -- Danja will give me the track and I'll just lay down melodies. Sometimes it just comes out, and that was what came out, the word "believe," and I went from there with the concept and ran with it.
J-14: What was it like to perform on American Idol?
Travis: It was an incredible experience, one I'll never forget. I talked and Simon after. Randy was super nice. Joe Simpson is my manager, and Randy and Joe are like best friends, so Randy was like, 'What's up dawg? You chillin' man? You chillin?' And I was like, 'Yeah, man, I'm chilling!' And then they introduced Simon to him, and he was like, 'Are you excited?' I was like 'Yeah, I'm excited man!' And he was like, 'You don't seem excited.' I was like, 'Oh, I'm tired man. It's been a long week.'
J-14: Do you think you would've been able to compete on Idol?
Travis: I have so much respect for them after performing on the show as a non-contestant. It really takes a whole lot of courage to get up on the stage every week. It was hard for me being an artist already out there with a record deal, so I can't even imagine how hard it must be for them, putting themselves out there like that to be critiqued in front of millions and ripped to shreds by Simon every week!
J-14: What has it been like to have so much support from Perez Hilton?
Travis: It's awesome to have such a huge supporter like him behind me. I'm really blessed. I see him a few times a week -- we went to the Glee show the other night in L.A.
J-14: Do you still talk to the other guys from NLT?
Travis: Everyone's so busy. JJ [Thorne] lives in Orlando now. Kevin McHale's shooting 24/7 -- he was actually at American Idol. He came to see me perform. I talk to V [Sevani] the most because he lives near by me -- we go out for lunch here and there. All the boys are doing their thing, so I support everybody and wish them the best.
J-14: How do you think you've grown as an artist since NLT?
Travis: NLT was the most incredible ride for me, such an awesome experience. It was a learning process for me more than anything else, growing as a man, as a person, and as an artist. I learned a lot on the business side and about people and relationships. It was five years I was in the group, so I grew up with those boys. It really prepared me for being a solo artist now cause I feel like I've been through it all before.
J-14: Who is your celeb crush?
Travis: Megan Fox!
Travis also played J-14's Truth or Dare while he was in the office -- check it out here:
Photo: Courtesy of Geffen