As the top-13 “American Idol” contestants were practicing their Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston songs on Wednesday, three of the show’s alums were in Washington, D.C., beating the pavement for Malaria No More, a nonprofit that distributes mosquito nets and information to decrease malaria deaths worldwide.
Jason Castro (season 7, 4th place), Melinda Doolittle (season 6, 3rd place) and Elliott Yamin (season 5, 3rd place) met with 11 senators and representatives to discuss the progress that Malaria No More has made and to encourage them to continue supporting the organization.
“We’re saving the lives of kids and who wouldn’t want to get on board with that?” Melinda asked. Melinda and Elliott have both had a chance to travel to Africa with the organization, hand out mosquito nets and work alongside Malaria No More staff.
“Malaria is totally preventable and treatable and with a little bit of money and a little bit of effort it goes a long way and gives kids a chance at life,” Jason explained.
Malaria, which is caused by a female mosquito that bites at night, kills one child every minute. “They die because they don’t have any medicine, or they don’t have a mosquito net or they don’t know how to use the mosquito net,” Jason explained.
S2S talked with the singers to find out what’s coming next for them musically. Elliott Yamin said his third album, Let’s Get to What’s Real, comes out in April. “I wanted to get away from machines and implement more live instrumentation,” Elliott told S2S. “It’s real good soulful music. No gimmicks.”
Melinda is writing music for her second album which she says is “very new for me, but very exciting.” She hopes to release her album later this year.
Jason recently signed with Word Records, the Christian music label that handled promotions for his Atlantic Records debut. “I’ve been working a lot with Word a lot over the last year,” he said. “So I’ve kind of switched over to them and I’m letting them lead the way.”
The Idol finalists ended their day on the Hill on a high note by treating invited guests to a few songs at a reception for Malaria No More. They even sang a song together for the first time.
—Sabrina M. Parker