Student looks to future music career after ‘American Idol’

Nicki Scruggs, an entertainment business major, had the opportunity to audition in Hollywood last week to become the next winner of “American Idol.”

by Andy Thigpen Life Editor

Nicki Scruggs is taking her recent loss in stride. Last week, she performed in Hollywood in front of Stephen Tyler, Randy Jackson and J-Lo before being sent home from the first round of “American Idol.”

After an exciting victory in St. Louis, Scruggs-a freshman entertainment business major-had high-hopes for making the cut and progressing into the next round. Her arrival back home, however, has left her undaunted.

“I would do it a hundred times again.,” she said. “Well-maybe not a hundred. That would be pathetic.”

Part of her good nature may stem from a conversation she had with the executive producer of “American Idol” after her performance.

“He told me, ‘Well, you’re young, so come back next year.’ When he told me that, that really meant a lot to me, because he never talks with any of the contestants,” she said.

According to Scruggs, her time will be spent doing what she’s been doing: writing songs, school and learning new music.

“I want to learn piano. That’s my next step,” Scruggs said. “I feel like it could make more of a variety with my songwriting.”

Even before she picked up the guitar when she was 12 years old, Scruggs has loved writing songs.

“I have about six notebooks full (of songs),” she said. She estimates her song-count well over 200.

“I wouldn’t really do my homework (after school). I would come home from school and write songs. And if I was really in the mood, I could write three in one afternoon.”

For Scruggs, the songwriting process flows like her voice.

“I just start playing chord progressions, and I’ll just start singing random lines that come out of my head,” she said.

“I feel like if (the song) is planned, it’s going to be – I don’t know how to explain it. I just don’t like my songs like that, ” Scruggs explained.

While there are many songs between first and last, her first one and her most recent one are both about boys.

“My very first song I wrote was when I was eleven. I think it was about breaking up with a boy,” Scruggs said.

She explained that her newest song – written Sunday night – is about a love triangle between the girl, Mr. Right and Mr. Wrong.

The only thing Scruggs said she loves more than writing is performing.

“I love (performing),” she said. “I love playing for people and making people happy. I was the kid in class who wasn’t afraid to get up in front of class. I’ve always had that confidence.”

The love of music is something that she has carried since childhood.

“I wrote a paper in second grade that said, ‘If I had a million dollars, I would help mom pay bills and build a recording studio. I’ve always wanted to pursue music,” she said.

A negative nod from J-Lo will not stop her from competing in next year’s American Idol tryouts, even though she believes the contest’s motives to be misguided.

“It’s really about TV,” Scruggs said. “It’s not really about music. Going through that experience, you learn a lot. I’ll be a lot more comfortable in front of the judges, and I know what they’re looking for.”