American Idol's Dalton Rapattoni Says He Won't Abandon North Texas

American Idol's Dalton Rappatoni in Sunnyvale this March.
American Idol's Dalton Rappatoni in Sunnyvale this March.
Mike Brooks

Dalton Rapattoni, freshly famous from his strong showing during the final season of American Idol,  isn't turning his back on North Texas.

"Dude, I will work wherever people need me to be, but North Texas is my home," he told the Observer during a media call today. "I can't relax anywhere else. This is the place I recharge my batteries."  

Last night Trent "Dude from Mississippi" Harmon defeated the powerful voice of La'Porsha Renae to take the final Idol crown. Rapattoni placed third, but he proved he was a fan favorite and a social media powerhouse. He was able to use the show to demonstrate how music can be therapeutic for artists suffering from bipolar disorder. 

One reporter asked him and Renae if they were exhausted. "I cannot feel my limbs," Rapattoni said. 

"That's an understatement," added Renae, who just signed with Motown Records. 

Rapattoni has no such record deal waiting, but doesn't seem too bent out of shape about it. "I am fortunate enough to have a big team behind me and can pursue this independently if need be," he said. Some of this team were with him before Idol, others are newer additions, he said. 

With no American Idol tour scheduled, the last crop of Idols is now officially in the wind. The Sunnyvale native is not waiting for the spotlight to fade, knowing that the first moves after the show ends are critical. He said he'll be recording an alternative-pop album immediately. 

This weekend he's planning on heading to Austin to record with Matt Novensky, the bassist from the Houston band Blue October. He says it will be available in a few months, put out independently if no label signs him. "Right now we don't have word back from people whether they will pick up my option or not," he said. "But the work must go on."

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The American Idol finalist, who worked as a School of Rock teacher in Texas, says that he'll maintain ties there. "I'll always be involved with School of Rock in some capacity," he said. "As schools cut back on music programs, it becomes more important for things like the School of Rock to exist for kids who don't want to play sports." 

Rapattoni said his performances require an emotional connection to work, something he learned under the glare of the television spotlight. "One of the biggest things the judges stressed is to only do music I connect with and relate to," Dalton said. "I feel like what carried me to the top three was my philosophy in doing that."

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