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'American Idol' Contestant Didi Benami on Her Tattoo, Writing New Songs and Brooke White

by Gabrielle Dunn, posted Jun 14th 2010 4:00PM
Didi BenamiIt's not everyday a reporter gets to talk to an 'American Idol' contestant, let alone a car full of them.

But that's exactly what happened late last week when TV Squad chatted with 10th-place finisher Didi Benami, who was on her way to rehearsals for the 'Idols Live' tour -- which kicks off July 1 in Auburn Hills, MI -- with some of her former competitors, who couldn't help but interject.

Benami, a beautiful singer/songwriter who showed off many different vocal personalities, spoke to TV Squad about which of her fellow contestants might snore on the tour bus, writing songs for her upcoming album, meeting her 'Idol' doppelganger Brooke White and what really goes into a "Didi Martini."

Where are you right now? It's kind of loud!

I'm sitting in the car with all the contestants. They're crazy! [Laughs] We're on our way to rehearsal right now. We're sitting in traffic. [Laughs]

Do you know what your set looks like for the tour?
Do we know what our set looks like for the tour? [To the other contestants] Do we know what our set looks like yet for the tour? Yes! Yes, we do. We saw blueprints. I don't know what mine looks like yet particularly, but I just know that they're big and there's big screens behind us.

What are you going to be performing?

One of the songs I'm going to be doing is 'Terrified.' I don't know if I'm allowed to say the second one yet. I can only say one! I will be doing 'Terrified.'

You're not going to be doing any original stuff, right?
No, unfortunately not, as much as I would love to.

Siobhan and DidiHave you seen the bus? Do you know the bunking system yet?
We haven't seen the bus. I don't know what the bunking system is yet. I'm a little scared, because Siobhan [Magnus] snores really loud. [Laughs] I'm just kidding! [to Siobhan] I'm joking! She's sitting right next to me. I'm just giving her crap. No! [Laughs] I'm just joking. She doesn't. I'm not nervous about it at all. Yeah, no, she's been my roommate for a while so I'm sure ... plus, it's gonna be small spaces. We're all going to be there together, so if anybody snores we'll figure something out.

You could throw stuff at them.
Yeah, or earplugs or something. Throw water on her face ... [Laughs] I'm just kidding. I won't do that.

People love you and Siobhan together. Do you guys have a preference for your 'Brangelina' name?
Team Magnami! That's what they call us. [Laughs] Yeah, well, I guess it's Magnami. The fans made it up for us. We like to go with that. I think it's funny. I like it. It's also a little game that people play with magnets, but yeah, somebody copied that. I just found that out just recently. It's all good.

Would you do a duet on tour?
It's difficult, because, technically, we can only go on in the order we were eliminated and the other people can't come out ... I would have wanted to, but technically, unless I come into somebody else's set, I can't sing with anybody. I wanted people to come sing with me, but then I'd have to wait to do my set, and then it'd be a mess ... I really, really wanted to get that together. I wanted Crystal [Bowersox] to come on and play guitar with me ... But that's OK. It'll still be a good show.

Didi BenamiHave you been working on putting out your own album?
Yeah! I've been working on it already. I just wrote a new song with Jason Reeves and his friend MacAnna two days ago. Which is really exciting, because it's probably the best song I've ever collaborated and written on. It's amazing and beautiful, and I'm really excited about it. I have several other songs. I've written, like, four other songs since I got booted from the show, and then I have some material from before. I've been thinking about maybe possibly making a trip after the tour and finishing up my album, like the last leg of it and everything. I still don't know what's going on as far as signing and management and that whole deal, so I'm just writing my little heart out right now.

What are your songs about usually -- like the one you just wrote, for example?
It's basically about your heart. It's kind of just everything that happens with your heart and your emotions. Obviously, my album's going to be kind of like me getting everything out, like the whole everything that happened in LA and, you know, people get hurt and you've got to pick yourself back up, and write something inspirational and make beauty out of a horrible situation. That's kind of what it's about, in general.

Will it have a kind of Ingrid Michaelson sound?
It's gonna have a Didi Benami kind of sound! [Laughs] You know, it's interesting, because I am really heavily influenced by singer/songwriters like Ingrid Michaelson, Colbie Caillat, Norah Jones and Amber Rubarth. I just really kind of write what's on my mind, and I think that's what I want to put out, something real and something substantial -- something that has substance to it and is not just noise. I want it to be beautiful words of encouragement and inspiration and [something] that people can relate to.

Didi BenamiI never thought I'd hear Ingrid on 'Idol' until you sang 'The Way I Am.'
I love Ingrid Michaelson. Part of when I came out to LA and started working on music was going out to Hotel Cafe, and Room 5 and The Mint and the singer/songwriter venues, and watching everybody and seeing what they were doing. I thought it was really interesting, and I learned so much from just watching everybody. So I think that's where I found my home, and where I like to be, because it's a really honest, intimate, vulnerable environment, and the people, the songwriters, are just pouring their hearts out. I think that that's the real stuff right there. I think that's what I want to hear, and so that's what I'll make. I hope the fans will like it, because I tried to, in some way or another, portray that on the show.

Your real name 'Vered' is the Hebrew word for 'rose.' Are you Israeli?
My father is Israeli, so they named me Vered. My older sister couldn't say my name when she was an infant, so [she] started pointing at me and calling me 'Didi.' My dad thought it was really funny -- he's a huge soccer fan and there's a Brazilian soccer player who went by Didi -- so they just started calling me Didi and tried to get me to play soccer, and then I sucked.

Do you listen to any Israeli music?
I used to when I was in the car with my dad, when I was really young. I think Mediterranean-style music is actually really cool. They use neat instruments and make it sound really hypnotic and cool if you listen to certain kinds of music. But, you know, a lot of Israeli musicians are extremely talented. I even know several of them out here in LA, and it's just phenomenal. I respect it. I don't think I would really be doing so much of that sort of thing right now, but I think it's a really interesting concept and may play with it a little bit later on in later albums.

Didi BenamiFans on Twitter wanted to know: What is your tattoo of?
The one on my foot? My tattoo on my foot is the word "Joy" and that was my friend Rebecca who passed away -- that was her middle name. She had a tattoo on her foot that said "Imagine," and it was on her left foot. It took me two years to decide to do it, because I'd never gotten a tattoo before and I finally decided that I was going to get her name in place of where she had her tattoo. That's really what it is. It's also not just her. Joy is a beautiful word. It's something that I have to remind myself of every day -- be joyful. Do something that makes you happy and joyful. It makes me think of Rebecca.

Some pre-'Idol' pictures of you modeling leaked a while back. Would you ever consider modeling or acting?

Yes, absolutely! I would love to get into acting. I've taken some acting classes. I came out here and wanted to get involved in entertainment in the first place, but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do: the music first, or do acting or write a book. I felt that was kind of what held me back a little bit for a little while was I was unfocused and I wanted to do so many different things. I was like, "I need to take this one at a time and do what's most important first." So I started focusing on Rebecca's music, and my music and writing. Yeah, I would love to get into acting and modeling at some point. That'd be awesome.

Would ever collaborate with past 'Idols', like Brooke White?
I think it'd be awesome to work with Brooke. I think it'd be really fun, too, because everybody thinks that we look so much alike ... I want to collaborate with several different people from this season and from prior seasons. I met Blake [Lewis] at the 'Idol' party after the finale and he said he wanted to chill and maybe work on some music. I'd totally love to. Absolutely.

Siobhan and Didi FinaleThe finale was like the Wikipedia page for 'Idol'; everybody was there. Was there anybody you met that you were excited about?
[Laughs] Yeah! I got to meet Carrie [Underwood], and Kelly [Clarkson] and Fantasia. Everybody was there. It was really cool to be a part of that finale for that reason in itself, because you get to meet most of the other Idols that came out for Simon [Cowell]'s last show. To be a part of Simon's last show was pretty cool and special. It was a lot of fun. I was excited to meet Brooke. I wanted to meet her all season, because I found out the night that I ended my run on 'Idol,' the night I got booted was the same night that she had a gig at the Hotel Cafe. I went out singing 'Rhiannon' and, apparently, 'Rhiannon' was her encore performance. So I thought that was kind of ironic and hilarious. [Laughs] Somebody told me that after and I was like, "Oh! That's really hilarious," because that was, like, great minds think alike ... It was really cool to meet her. I was looking forward to meeting her all season, because people were like, "Oh my gosh, you remind me of Brooke!" There's differences, there's definitely differences. It was just funny how at the beginning of the season everybody was like, "Oh my gosh! The reincarnation!" I was like, "No, I'm totally different." [Laughs] We're really different, personality-wise. We're really different, but kind of the same.

This is kind of a silly question, but what's your drink of choice?
Well, when I do drink -- because I don't actually drink that much -- is, like, well, I don't know. I guess a glass of Riesling or Pinot Grigio. There's this really fun drink that's kind of like a cosmo, but it also has lime juice, and pineapple juice and a little floater of champagne. It's really, really good. It tastes like a Starburst. It was this drink that I used to get at the restaurant that I worked at. It was called the "Summer Lovin'" or something like that. But now everywhere, if I go somewhere and I want a drink, I'm like, "Can you just make this kind of drink for me?" You can call it "Didi's Martini." [Laughs]

A lot of the 'Idols' from last year put out their albums and songs independently if they didn't get signed, and they've actually done really well. Would you ever do that?
Yeah. Hopefully, I'm hoping to get signed. I would like to get signed, but if they don't, absolutely. I'm going to put out an album independently for sure.

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Liked Didi a lot, along with Casey, Lee, and especially Siobhan.
Like Siobhan, Didi's a good looking babe with a great personality and I personally loved her singing.

At the Finale, a saw a pic with Casey showing up with Didi draped on one arm, and Siobhan on the other. Serious eye candy. Casey looked moooooost pleased!

Pity about how they set up the Tour as a strict pecking order thing and I believe certain contestants will get less song time than others. Like I believe BM gets an extra song over Siobhan but one less than Lee, and Didi might only get one on stage other than the "group numbers" most of us dislike as lip-synched.
And with limited time, wishing to showcase themselves 1st - it appears to discourage duets. A pity because a Didi-Lee duet would be better than Lee going off tune on his own. And after the great, unexpected Siobhan-Aaron duet at the Finale, a pity that more of that or alternate duet partners is unlikely for Siobhan and Aaron..and the fans.

June 15 2010 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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