Watch 'American Idol' Alum Pia Toscano Cover Rihanna, Sam Smith - Billboard 8/25/15

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Watch 'American Idol' Alum Pia Toscano Cover Rihanna, Sam Smith - Billboard 8/25/15

American Idol alum Pia Toscano is busy putting the finishing touches on her forthcoming album of original material, but the singer found a minute to record covers of songs for fans to enjoy in the meantime.

The singer released two interpretations on YouTube early on Tuesday, Aug. 24 -- one of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and the other of Sam Smith’s “Lay Me Down.” 

“'Lay Me Down,” she said, “ is a very personal song for me.” 

The clip is simply directed in black and white, with Toscano seated at a table surrounded by lit candles. She begins the song softly in a sweet falsetto before reaching inward for a powerful note toward the end.

“It brings me back to my relationship with my late grandfather and how I long to have him back in my life,” she said in a release. “Performing songs like this are like therapy to me and I needed that outlet.”

Both videos are directed by Jose Omar Hernandez. "Diamonds" features the singer simply seated by guitars and an amp as she sings the song in a lower register against a simple, piano-based arrangement.  

From the very first time I heard 'Diamonds' I fell in love with it,” she said. “I am a huge Fan of Sia's, who wrote the record,” she said.

Toscano’s intention was not to cover the song exactly as written, but to reinterpret it.

“The writing was so unique and visual; it immediately inspired me and painted a beautiful picture in my head,” she said. ”I knew that if I covered it, it would have to be done in a completely different way.”

Toscano has had a busy year. Earlier this winter, she ventured into the world of EDM with DJ Jenaux for a collaboration on the song “Renedgades,” which she co-wrote.

There is also buzz that the season 10 alum may join American Idol judge Jennifer Lopez this winter on backup for the singer’s forthcoming Planet Hollywood Residency at Caesars in Las Vegas. Toscano, who also sings the National Anthem for the Los Angeles Kings, has joined Lopez as a background singer on various engagements.

“I love having her,” Lopez said. “We have a great time on stage. I love her.”




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