AP Music Writer
POSTED: 05:49 p.m. HST, May 22, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 05:49 p.m. HST, May 22, 2013
NEW YORK >> Candice Glover spent more time on season 12 of "American Idol" than she will on creating her debut album.
The 23-year-old, who won the Fox singing series last week after competing for four months, is set to release "Music Speaks" on July 16.
Past "Idol" champs released their debut albums in the fall after winning the contest in the spring, but Glover said she's ready to capitalize on the insta-fame "Idol" has given her.
"I've built a fan base being on this show, and my fan base is interested in me now and they won't see me every Wednesday and Thursday anymore to admire my singing, so I think it's a good thing it's coming out this summer," she said in an interview this week.
"It's crazy that I'm even talking about an album because last year I was working at a resort," she added, laughing.
"Music Speaks" was available on pre-order the day after she won the "Idol" crown, beating out country singer Kree Harrison. Glover's debut single, the inspirational pop ballad "I Am Beautiful," sold 48,000 tracks in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The St. Helena Island, S.C., native, who auditioned but didn't make the cut in seasons nine and 11, said the "Idol" experience has made her more confident.
She said taking risks on the show — like performing Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" and Drake's "Find Your Love" — is helping her find her true voice.
"(From) day one I was still in the mind-set of pleasing people. In season 11, I was all about pleasing people. ... This year I took more chances because I didn't care anymore," she said. "I didn't always have that confidence. I was insecure about how I looked and people would tell me all the time, 'You don't look the part.' And this year I kind of stopped caring about that and just did me."
Glover said she's heading to Los Angeles this week to begin work on her album.
"My album will most likely be R&B, soul and a little bit of jazz, almost like a Jazmine Sullivan vibe because I love her. She's my favorite singer of all time," Glover said of the Grammy-nominated songstress whose R&B hits include "Need U Bad" and "Holding You Down (Goin' in Circles)."
When asked what producers and songwriters she would be working with, she said: "I have no idea."
Glover, who is also influenced by Christina Aguilera, said she wants her album to be full of positive messages, much like her first single.
"I was in school for psychology because I wanted to counsel teenage girls that had those insecurity problems, and I'm glad my music has that connection with people because that's really what I wanted to do whether I was singing or not," she said.
The top 11 contestants on "Idol" will kick off a 40-show concert tour June 29 in St. Louis, Miss.