RICHMOND, VA (WTVR) - Life is awesome insists Elliott Yamin.
The 33-year-old singer spent the first half of 2011 in a Los Angeles recording studio putting the finishing touches on his latest album tentatively titled "Let's Get to What's Real."
"It’s really organic, it’s real soulful, it’s real R&B. Heavy songwriting, really conversational," Yamin said about his latest effort set to be released in August in the United States.
It will be Yamin's third studio album of original content. Unlike his previous two albums, Yamin says this time he is not shooting for Top 40 success.
"My previous two albums I was focused on making contemporary music. I wanted to get back on the radio," said Yamin. "I did not do that with this album. It might hurt a little bit. But it might not, though. I don’t know that I have any singles. I just don’t really know. But that’s the exciting and challenging part about it."
Coming off his third-place finish on American Idol in 2006, the Henrico County-raised Yamin experienced great success.
His eponymous debut album sold 90,000 copies the week it was released in 2007.
It went on to sell more than half a million copies and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.
The single "Wait for You" was certified Platinum and reached #5 on the U.S. Pop charts.
In 2009 Yamin released his second studio album of original material, Fight for Love. That album only sold 49,000 copies.
"It’s been tough. Records don’t sell like they used to," Yamin said about the current state of the recording industry. "Every year there’s a new crop of American Idol finalists, and they’re putting out albums and so you’re always competing," he said.
Still, Yamin says he’s thrilled to be part of the ongoing competition.
“To be able to do this for living, wake up, and come to the studio every day and challenge myself with new sounds and new lyrics and really getting creative is a real fortunate thing,” he said.
Yamin's rise from Richmond, VA karaoke star to national recording artist was a fast one.
He went from singing in Virginia karaoke clubs in 2005 to touring the country one year later. His voice has carried him to concets in Asia, South America and Europe.
“I’ve been able to travel the world and experience so many different cultures," said Yamin. "Most importantly I've learned a lot about myself and the business.”
The business side of show business is one thing Yamin wished he knew more about before exiting the American Idol stage.
"I wish I had more of an idea of how cut-throat it is," said Yamin. "People always talk about that. But [you don’t get it] until you’re really in it and experiencing the business aspect of it. You learn how fickle a business it is. It’s kind of become … not a 'what have you done for me lately' business, but more of a 'what can you do for me right now' business.”
Yamin is quick to point out he is doing what he loves and feels fortunate he has a career making music.
“Man I’m having a ball. Loving every second of it. Very happy,” he said.
Elliott Yamin is scheduled to perform in Richmond on June 4, 2011 at the Stone Soul Music and Food Festival.