Candice Glover won "American Idol" in 2013, but the aspiring R&B artist had plenty of chips stacked against her ahead of the release of her debut.
After auditioning for the singing competition three times — and being rejected twice before finally making it on the show — the St. Helena Island, S.C., native instantly became a judges' favorite while wowing viewers with knockout takes on the Cure, Bruno Mars, Emeli Sandé, Adele and Drake.
But most of the focus during her run was on the show's faltering ratings, the nasty rivalry between judges Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj and a pending reboot of the series.
And then there was the decision to rush Glover's debut, "Music Speaks," and prep it for release just two months after she became the show's first female victor since 2007 (and its last, with three male winners following her before the series ended last year).
Glover tried to get the album delayed, but she had little say over its direction. "I wasn't trying to put out an album that's not me," she told The Times in 2014. "I had to learn to open my mouth and say something."
Released in early 2014, "Music Speaks" opened to mixed reviews and the lowest first-week sales of any previous winner. The album quickly faded, and Glover eventually split with her post-"Idol" label, 19 Recordings/Interscope.
Now in complete control of her career, the 27-year-old is back with new music.
After spending the last year uploading her takes of popular hip-hop tracks on SoundCloud — Glover's remix of Drake's "Controlla" is especially popular — she's releasing her first single in four years, "My Mistake."
The steamy R&B slow-burner, which The Times is exclusively premiering ahead of its Friday release, sees Glover being tempted by a suitor whom she doesn't want to give her heart to. "Didn't matter what you said, I believed it / boy you had me in the palm of your hand," she sings. "I didn't mean to fall for you, I can't believe I gave in."
Written by Anesha Birchett and produced by Raphael "Noc" Oliveira, "My Mistake" is the first taste from her as-yet-untitled sophomore record. Glover is planning to release the project independently this summer. Take a listen to "My Mistake" below: