04/05/2010 at 12:00 AM EDT
If "Rhiannon" was Didi Benami'
s swan song on American Idol,
she definitely left with a soaring performance that redeemed her pitchy R&B week showing. The judges may not have saved the 23-year-old L.A.-based singer, but Benami exited the competition
with a secured spot on the Idol
summer tour. She spoke to PEOPLE about her experience. … - Cynthia WangYou dedicated your Idol journey to your late friend Rebecca Joy Lear. Does she continue to inspire you?
I'm definitely going to be working on music for the tour and I plan on working on my own music as well and possibly recording some of Rebecca Joy's songs. I definitely know that that's ahead. I have a little downtime now and I definitely need it! I can't wait to relax a little bit and have some time to myself and write and just be free. What did you learn about yourself going through Idol?
I've known that this is what I've always wanted to do, and I knew I was resilient, but I didn't know I was this resilient. I could get knocked down and come back again, get knocked down and come back again. It's like boot camp. You just have to learn how to roll with the punches and try not to over-analyze things. I over-analyze things, I really do. I'm a thinker and a dreamer. I think about these things constantly and write them down. I don't need to do that so much. I can put the paper and pen down and rest and be okay with that. The ladies seem to have a tight bond.
I think all the girls this season are really sweet, and Katie
is sweet, too, but I got to know Siobhan
the most because Katie was always in school. I remember the first day I met Siobhan. It was back when there were 180 in Hollywood Week and I remember thinking, this girl is so strange, but she had something so unique about her, I want to use the word inviting but she had this energy about her that was very cool and I wanted to know more about her. I was drawn to her and it was amazing that we ended up being roommates and becoming great friends. Crystal is just a light. She's amazing. They are both unique in so many ways. It's so nice and refreshing to see that in a competition. We all got a long really well.
Do you have souvenirs from your journey?
I got hair extensions! I did, actually. I got to try them out Wednesday night and that was fun. We really got the star treatment. I got amazing, amazing gifts from who have supported us. And Carrie Underwood
sent us all a little necklace that was really sweet and that was really amazing that she took the time to write us all a card.What can we expect from you on the summer Idol tour?
I definitely want to play guitar and I want to find some songs that fit me. People seemed to like "Terrified" so much that I'm going to try to do it on tour. I'm looking forward to it. I'm going to work on my guitar, too, and hone in my skills even more. But there's more show still left and I still have to watch all my peeps! What will your solo album be like and who would you love to work with?
I’m going to acoustic, low key, chill, relaxing music. A little jazz, a hint of bluegrass, a little bit of everything that I’ve experienced in my life. I would really love to work with Jason Mraz
. I think he is amazing. I'd love to work with Kyler England
, I think she's an amazing singer-songwriter. It would be cool to work with some like Patti Griffin
. These are my influences but I'm not sure what it would be like writing with these . I am kind of going with the wave and figuring out things as I go. It's how I live my life. I'm just looking forward to what's next and what opportunities come out of this and what’s to come.Tell us: What song would you want Didi Benami to perform on tour?