If our January 2012 cover model looks familiar it’s because you may remember Ms. Kimberley Locke from her time on American Idol. During season 2, this relatable curvy beauty lit up the stage with her talent and southern charm. She would eventually come in third place behind Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken.

For the last nine years Kimberley has stayed busy by releasing new music, working with non profit organizations and using her voice to inspire a nation of fans. Scheduled to join the cast of ABC’s The Revolution, Kimberley received news in the final hour that she would not be a part of the group of co-hosts. Instead of letting this news get her down, she’s already planning her next move.

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Stephanie Penn: We officially met you when you appeared on American Idol. How has your life evolved since appearing on the show?

Kimberley Locke: Life is great! American Idol definitely changes the course of your life. It was very exciting and I had a lot of opportunities that I did not expect to have in addition to singing and it has been a great nine years. A busy nine years.

Busy is always good

Absolutely!

How do you feel about the changes on American Idol recently with the addition of new judges?

I think they did a really good job with the new judges. I love J. Lo, she’s very likable. Steven Tyler is just a barrel of fun. Having Randy there as one of the original judges to anchor was a really great move. They did a really great job at selecting the new judges.

They do have a great dynamic between the three of them. How do you feel about other reality based singing competitions like X Factor?

I think that each of them bring their own thing but American Idol is the original. It’s hard to argue that point. American Idol does such a great job of capturing the essence of a true talent show. America needed a family show that they could sit down and watch with the whole family. I think American Idol does a very good job of that. It’s really nice when you meet people (especially parents) who say, “Oh my gosh, my entire family watches you” or “my mom loves you”. I mean it crossed so many generations.

Since leaving American Idol, we’ve heard sing uptempo songs as well as ballads. Of the two, which do you prefer?

Which do I prefer? That’s a really good question. I don’t know that I necessarily have a preference of genres. I think when I left American Idol I wanted to avoid being pigeon holed in any particular genre of music. I think a great song is a great song. Whether it’s a country song, R & B song, pop song it doesn’t matter so I always try to keep my mind open to all types of music.

Growing up, I didn’t just listen to one type of music. I think with a lot of artists, the influence comes from all over. I started singing contemporary music after American Idol, before A.I. I sang Jazz and Neo-soul. Coming from that background and going into pop music and then crossing over to dance I wouldn’t really have it any other way because I get to experience so many different genres.

Read More: The Past, Present & Future Of Kimberley Locke: Our January 2012 Cover Model

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