‘American Idol’ Champ Candice Glover Talks Season 12 Memories, Nicki/Mariah Feud, Insecurity, More [EXCLUSIVE]

If you tuned in to the last season of “American Idol,” you know that the Beaufort, South Carolina-winner Candice Glover brought both the audience and judges alike to their feet on multiple occasions due to her soulful renditions of various covers, beating out thousands who auditioned and earning her the title. But what you might not know is that Glover auditioned twice before her win, often cried backstage, and wants to be a voice for girls who struggle with low-self-esteem. Now, the powerhouse is ready to show the world more of her vocal chops and songwriting abilities via her debut offering, Music Speaks, with its first single being the emotional song, "Cried."

Check out what Candice had to say about it all in her chat with Singersroom:

You’ve auditioned for American Idol two times before and finally won! That must feel amazing. How has it been since winning?

It’s been amazing, like you said; I’ve auditioned twice before and got cut so going forward I just hope for the best. Now that I actually won, it’s been a complete whirlwind, and I’m having a lot of fun and I’m enjoying myself.

If you could do it all again, would you?

I definitely think I would do it again; that’s how determined I was at the time. People always ask me why I skipped season 10, because I did 9, 11, and 12. I think the only reason for not doing season 10 is because they didn’t have an audition city close to me. I was so determined and so driven that I would’ve done it again if they were close to me, and I would do it all again as well.

What’s it like now when you go back to your hometown of Beaufort, South Carolina?

It’s absolutely crazy when I go home; everybody knows me as a celebrity there. People consider me a celebrity but I don’t, and I get that people know who I am, but going in public at home is great. People are still supportive: autographs and pictures and everything and my family are more celebrities at home more than I am since they’re always there, but I really appreciate my hometown.

You’re single “Cried” is so passionate, and your vocals shine. Is that a personal song for you?

Actually the song was written by my favorite singer Jazmine Sullivan, and when I heard the song, I definitely connected with it, because I think everybody can identify with being in a relationship and the relationship goes wrong. It’s not all that it used to be, and you try to put on a smile for everyone else, but when you get home in the privacy of your room you just kind of let it all out and cry. I’ve been through that; I know how that feels; I connect with it, and I hope everybody else will, too.

It’s doing well here on Singersroom. What can you tell us about your upcoming debut album, Music Speaks?

My album, Music Speaks, is definitely about love and “Cried” is about love gone wrong, and I have songs on there about being in love and being so into this person that it just feels like you can’t do anything without them; they make you feel alive. It’s so love-driven; it’s something everybody can identify with. I think it’s going to be a great album, and it comes out around Valentine’s Day, so that also works out.

Other than Jazmine Sullivan, who else are you working with on the album?

Well as far as collaborations, I don’t have any collaborations, but there are some people I would love to have on a remix. But as far as producing and writing, I wrote some songs on the album with the Jackie Boyz, Apex, Rock City, Harvey Mason Jr., Rodney Jerkins is on there, so it’s a really cool album, and I’m really honored that I got a chance to work with people who have been in the industry for so long.

What’s your take on the Mariah/Nicki Minaj feud that happened during last season?

My take on it is like, I knew nothing. I get more nervous than everybody on the show. I can’t speak for them, but sometimes I had to go in the bathroom cause I would be in tears cause I would be so nervous. There were TV monitors backstage, and I tried my hardest, especially when Nicki and Mariah were having a little argument here and there, I would turn my head cause I didn’t want to pay attention to it; I didn’t want to do anything that would distract me from my performance, especially if I was next, so I just didn’t pay it any attention. Some people loved it; some people hated it; I just didn’t pay it any attention.

How was it working with all the judges?

Randy knew me the best because it was my third time auditioning, he knew how I’ve grown; he saw me grow. Nicki Minaj was really great; she’s really honest and really genuine. Mariah is the sweetest lady ever; she gave us some really great advice. Keith is just an all-around music lover; he loves real music and real voices, so I kind of connected with all of them, but outside of judging, I really didn’t have too much of a relationship with them. But after the show, they would come on stage and talk to us sometimes, so I enjoyed all of them.

Other than winning, what’s a memorable moment from the entire “AI” experience?

I really enjoyed the time I had with the contestants; we still keep in touch to this day; the top 11, I enjoyed my time with them. Mariah tossing the glitter at me was a big moment, Drake visiting me and surprising me on stage, and Paula Abdul coming on the show was a big deal. So I had a really great run on the show; I had a lot of fun and a lot of big things happened to me, so I enjoyed it.

Who are some of your musical influences?

Jazmine Sullivan is my favorite singer, for her to write my new song is amazing, I love her. I grew up in the 90s, so Christina Aguilera is someone that I really, really look up to. I wanted to be her when I was younger. I also love Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Anita Baker, Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston; I pull something from each and every one of them. Also, Beyoncé and Brandy.

You’ve mentioned in the past that you’ve battled insecurities. How has the response been from girls who look up to you?

Girls that have watched me on the show that have insecurity problems or confidence issues, they tell me on Twitter and everywhere that they have so much more confidence now. On tour, I would meet women and they would tell me their daughters have a lot more confidence now after hearing my coronation single “I Am Beautiful”– that it’s really helped them. And that’s what I’m here for, like, I’m not about the money or the fame or anything, as long as I can help someone feel better about themselves, that’s really what I’m here to do.

I read that along with loving to sing, you would also love to be a counselor, so you can council through your music.

Yeah, I think music definitely helps people, that’s why I named my album “Music Speaks.” Some people might be too shy or too scared to say how they feel, but music says whatever you want it to say. I definitely would love to council girls, especially teenagers who are not secure, who don’t feel beautiful, because I know how that feels.