Queen Naija, whose real name is Queen Naija Bulls, made it to the “Hollywood” portion of the hit competition show, but was cut before the top 30.
The artist, however, has certainly become one of the most successful, having gone 5x platinum and 4x gold with singles, and 2x gold with albums.
She says she hasn’t spoken to the American Idol judges from her season — Jennifer Lopez, Harry Connick Jr. and Keith Urban — since becoming a popular and decorated R&B artist at 28 years old.
“I haven’t. I would love to, but I haven’t. I would like to one day,” she told “I’m like, ‘You remember me when y’all booted me off the show? Look.”
The artist, who started her career as a YouTube personality before becoming a contestant on the 13th season of American Idol in 2014, is back with a new EP, After the Butterflies, released on Nov. 17.
Talks about current and past relationships in new music
Queen is a mother of two children — Chris Sails Jr. and Legend Lorenzo White — stemming from two long-term relationships. She welcomed her first son in 2015 with her then-husband, Chris Sails. In 2020, she gave birth to her youngest son, Legend, with her current boyfriend, Clarence White.
Queen and White are going strong despite drama between ex-hubby Sails and rumors of cheating.
She uses her music as an “outlet” to express what she’s going through.
“This is called After the Butterflies and this is pretty much the music I made when I was going through a dark period in my relationship. In fact, to be completely honest, I was pretty much bracing myself for a second failed public relationship,” she said.
But she also said there are good songs about him and songs about self love on the album.
Queen on dealing with online trolls — and her ‘connection’ to the Titan submersible implosion
Like many celebrities, Queen has faced trolling and crude comments on social media. In an April 2022 interview with The Breakfast Club, she said, “I get lots of love everywhere but Twitter, they cannot stand me. It’s like I’m the joke of Twitter.”
In June 2023, the OceanGate Titan submersible was heading to the Titanic wreckage when it imploded underwater, killing all five explorers inside. Somehow, her name was brought up on social media as being involved in it.
She has transformed the commentary into a marketing opportunity. She launched an online shop that sold T-shirts and other merch with the sayings “I blame Queen Naija” and “I’ll see you in court.” The merch sold out, she said.
When it comes to online trolls, Queen said she has grown to deal with them differently than she used to.
Message for up-and-coming artists
Now Queen Naija — who went from failing to get on American Idol twice, then being eliminated when she did make it on, to becoming a multi-platinum-selling artist — has a message for those trying to break into the industry.
“I guess just keep going. You got to be consistent. You got to trust God. And also you got to really sit in and ask yourself like, ‘Do I want this and do I want what comes with it?’” she said. “What’s your journey? My journey was, it started from YouTube, and I didn’t even know, it just fell into my lap.”