Even avid American Idol fans might have trouble remembering Kimberley Locke, as she finished third way back in 2003, behind Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken. But the former plus-size singer has gone on to accomplish much more than most Idol alums can boast. For starters, she lost 40 pounds after the show and has become a spokesperson for Celebrity Fit Club and Jenny Craig, and will participate in her first New York City Marathon in November. She’s also launched her own culinary show, Cooking With Kimberley, in which she takes favorite dishes and shows how to make healthy substitutes for certain fatty or salty ingredients.
Oh, and then there’s her music: Locke has charted two albums on Billboard’s Hot 200, and has also scored four No. 1 singles on the dance charts, as well as becoming the first-ever artist to have three consecutive No. 1 Christmas songs.
Locke takes the stage Friday, Oct. 5 at the legendary gay club Score (727 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) in support of her new single, Finally Free, and fourth album, Four for the Floor. She talked to Miami.com about the show and her journey toward a more healthful lifestyle.
What can we expect from your show?
Basically, I’m gonna come in and sing a couple of my hits, and then the party continues.
What does the title of your hit "Finally Free" mean to you?
Oh gosh, Finally Free is pretty straightforward. We’ve all had those moments where we finally feel free from something. Whether it’s a bad relationship or something, it’s like, I’m finally over that. It’s that moment when you look back and you’re like, “You know what? I wouldn’t change anything about what I just went through, but I’m so glad it’s over — I’m finally free.”
What inspired you to do a cooking show?
I’ve been on a weight-loss journey for several years, since American Idol. Right after Idol, I was a model for Lane Bryant, and then I did Celebrity Fit Club and lost 40 pounds, and then became a spokesperson for Jenny Craig. And one of the things that people always ask me is: ‘How did you lose the weight and how do you keep the weight off?’ So Cooking With Kimberley is an outlet for me to share with people how I maintain my weight loss and how easy it is for us to go in the kitchen and make ourselves a healthy meal. And I just wanted to show people that it’s not about changing everything all at once. It’s about making incremental changes that you can really digest and that don’t send you into shock. It’s not about deprivation; it’s about changing your life one ingredient at a time. The show will be airing online — you can go to my website, kimberleylockeofficial.com.
How was your experience on “Idol”?
It was fantastic. I had a great time doing the show, and I learned a tremendous amount of information that I still use today. American Idol is just an amazing platform to not just sing and perform, but to really execute a lot of things you wanna do in your career. The possibilities are endless.
Do you keep in touch with any of your fellow contestants?
I do — I speak to Ruben. We bonded on the show and we still stay in touch.
How often do you get to Miami, and what do you think of the city?
I don’t get here often enough. I tend to be here a lot for the Winter Music Conference, and I’m actually here working on my cabaret show that’s gonna be at the Aventura Theater on Dec. 7 and 8. When I am here in Miami, one of my favorite places to hang out is on the rooftop of the Perry Hotel.
Locke performs Friday night at Score (doors open at 10 p.m.), 727 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-535-1111 or www.scorebar.net; call for cover charge.