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May 21, 2008
Idol Chatter: Local songwriter tastes fame

Charr Crail

The day after his - and certainly, his song's - big "moment" on "American Idol," Ryan Gillmor is sitting in Pollock Pines, having just wrapped a couple radio shows and still basking in the glow of having his tune performed on national television by one of the "American Idol" finalists. (For my take on the show, see my blog item below.)

Ryan, whose band, Gilmoor, has made the rounds in Sacramento and throughout Northern California, entered this season's "Idol" songwriting competition. It paid off. David Archuleta, who seems primed to take the title tonight, sang Ryan's "In This Moment."

When asked if he knew ahead of time that David A. would be singing it, Ryan says he had heard from the "Idol" folks at the end of last week and told that his song had made it into the songwriting competition's Top 10; he also learned that there was a possibility it would be performed Tuesday night.

"But I had no clue (that it actually was being performed) until I got a text message from my cousin in Florida, who watched the show on East Coast time," Ryan says. "He said 'David Archuleta is singing your song, and Andrew Lloyd Webber is talking about you!' "


Family and friends quickly assembled to watch the show during its West Coast airing and, after listening to it about 10 times since, Ryan says he thinks David A. did a fantastic job.

"I've never had anyone else sing my songs other than me," Ryan says. "But to have it sung on 'American Idol' - David has a phenomenal voice. And I was so excited that they gave me a plug. Thirty million people heard my name on the air!"

Ryan admits he was nervous about how they would whittle down his four-and-half-minute song. But he appreciated the arrangement and that it was performed in the same key as the original. "I thought the vocal changes David made were great."

He doesn't know what happens next - did his song win? But, no matter - Tuesday night was a big coup for this local songwriter, who could shoot right out of the "Pines" if he gets a track on an "Idol" album.

"It could be my big break."

When asked what he thought of the judges' critiques after David A. sang, Ryan says he's grown used to hearing Randy Jackson saying that "Arch" can sing the phone book. But he thought Simon Cowell's comments were great.

"The part about the 'egotistical lyric' and that David (A.) picked a better song than Cook - that's perfect," Ryan says. "But to be honest, it wasn't written as a pompous lyric, but more self-empowering."

So what was the lyric that so moved Simon?

Staring through windows at my own reflection;
How can a window encompass perfection.

Ryan says he wrote the song about his first experience in New York. He was walking down Fifth Avenue and looking at his reflection in all the store fronts.

Ryan says he'll be in contact with his manager and lawyer soon, and hopes to talk to David A. personally. "In This Moment" already is on one of Ryan's CDs, but he says he would relinquish the song and not perform it anymore if David A. picks it up.

"It would become David Archuleta's song. I would get credit, but it would mean bigger things for it to be on his album than my own," Ryan says.

As for tonight's live, two-hour results show (beginning at 8 p.m. on Fox40), Ryan says he's bailing on a dinner party to watch. And he'll keep 21Q posted on the aftermath.

Let's hope good things happen to those who can write songs!

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