'We love her, she's one of us'

Fans line up to see 'American Idol' Candice Glover (+video)

eshaw@islandpacket.comMarch 30, 2014 

— At 7 a.m. Saturday, Hogan Hildreth and Nicholas Becker were first in line at Walmart in Beaufort awaiting their chance to meet Season 12 "American Idol" winner Candice Glover, who wasn't due to arrive for another five hours.

"I watch 'American Idol' every season," Hildreth said.

"But this season isn't as good," Becker added. "Candice's season was better."

The St. Helena Island native was in town to sign copies of her first CD, "Music Speaks." She began her day at a VIP meet and greet hosted by the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce at The Arsenal, then went to Walmart, where she was welcomed by hundreds of fans.

Beaufort teens Hildreth and Becker discussed the CD while waiting to see the singer. Becker said he likes "Could've Been Me," while "Kiss Me" and "Cried" are Hildreth's favorites.

"I like the rhythm of 'Kiss Me,' and I think 'Cried' is inspiring," he said.

At the Arsenal, Glover posed for photos with fans, signed autographs and answered questions about her new life as a celebrity.

"I thought I was going to be the winner of 'American Idol' and only sing. But it's been so much more than that," Glover said to the crowd of about 50.

"It's so surreal, especially when I come home to Beaufort to see so many people behind me 100 percent."

Lilly Vergara, 10, and sister Ava, 5, both of Beaufort, stood in line at The Arsenal to meet their idol. Last year, the sisters awaited Glover's arrival at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport for the singer's hometown parade and concert when she was in the Top 3 on "Idol." The girls play "Music Speaks" in the car. "Cried" is Lilly's favorite song.

"She's very nice," Lilly said of Glover. "At these sorts of things she always answers everyone's questions."

Most of Glover's family was at the event. Her mom, Carole, said she's been accompanying her daughter on various appearances across the country. Next up is a trip to Washington, D.C.

"My thing is, I like to shop," Carole Glover said. "So I enjoy going to all the different malls while Candice is doing her events."

Candice Glover, whose homebase is currently in Atlanta, said she's been very busy since her album release and hasn't had much time to contemplate her success

"I haven't celebrated (the CD) yet. I honestly haven't celebrated my win yet."

"Music Speaks" was released Feb. 18 and rose to No. 8 on iTunes' top albums chart -- right behind Beyonce -- and No. 1 on the R&B chart. It debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 14 and has remained on the chart for five weeks, although it has since dropped to No. 179.

"It's overwhelming. It's a great feeling," she said. "I was screaming around the house the night the album came out."

The album was originally scheduled for release in July and then in October. Many have questioned whether the long wait would affect sales, but Glover said she would not have been as proud of her love-driven album if she had to rush to release it. She also said that she didn't care if she sold one album or a million, as long as she was helping people in some way with her music.

"There are negative people," Glover said Saturday. "But there are always people that stand up for real music. I had free reign to do what I thought was best. I stayed true to myself."

Last month, Glover was given the Inspiration Award by The Foundation for Educational Excellence, which gives grants to Beaufort County teachers for classroom projects. Glover also appeared on season 13 of "American Idol" to perform two songs from "Music Speaks." Most recently, she announced she would be singing and acting in a Hallmark Channel movie, titled "Northpole," coming out at Christmas. The singer said Saturday that she has two tours in the works.

"I'm hyped for her," said Glover fan Evie Tia McDuffie outside Walmart. "I just want everyone to know that they picked the right 'American Idol.'

"We love her. She's one of us."

WATCH: Fans talk about meeting Candice Glover

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