We recently sat down with former Olympian and the 2004 Athens All-Around Gymnastics Gold Medalist, Carly Patterson, to discuss her debut album, "Back to the Beginning".

At just 5'1" Carly packs quite a voice that has an extraordinary and beautiful range. Had we not known or heard of Carly by way of the Olympics we might have been introduced to her by her winning American Idol. "Back to the Beginning" is an album packed with 11 wonderfully crafted pop songs that will catch one's brain and could probably make a big bad biker dude dance around in the nude while doing household chores; "Back to the Beginning" is that powerful and good!

Starpulse: Can you tell us a little bit about your album, "Back to the Beginning", and what the listener can expect?

Carly Patterson: You know, I got to co-write over half the CD, so I'm very excited and proud about that part of the album and I just think it's a good album, a good product and I'm proud of it. It's very upbeat, has catchy songs, and I've gotten nothing but good feedback so far, so hopefully that just keeps coming in.

SP: We saw in your bio that you had an album released back in 2007 entitled "Back to the Beginning", is this the same album? Or is it different? Or is it just the same title?

CP: It was an EP and I think it's what my label heard of me before they signed me. We kind of re-did all those songs that were on that, and made them better and more upbeat. I re-recorded it; so those songs are actually on the album too, and then just about six more new ones.

SP: If you were to describe "Back to the Beginning" in one or two short sentences, what would it be?

CP: (Laughing) Oh gosh. I should really think about this stuff, huh? I’d say, catchy and upbeat.

SP: That works with me.

CP: (Laughing) Good stuff, relatable.

SP: (Laughing) Wonderful. Who or what were some of the inspirations behind the songs on your album?

CP: Relationships about guys, obviously, as every girl who has a CD [does]. Different relationships with family. There's some stuff about moving on to a different phase, new phase in your life. I had inspiration about moving on from one career to another, like gymnastics to singing.

SP: Who are some of your musical influences?

CP: I love Kelly Clarkson and Christina Aguilera. Normally when people [ask what] kind of sound? I always say like a Kelly Clarkson-ish vibe. (Laughing) She's definitely an influence of mine, but I love all music, so hopefully next album I'll just have an even bigger array of people to go from, but I love all types of music.

SP: Are there any tour plans in the works to support "Back to the Beginning"?

CP: Definitely promotional tours and things like that right now. I'd love to open up for someone in the fall or the beginning of the year. That would be awesome. That's kind of my goal.

"Time to Wake Up":

SP: Obviously you come from a good gymnastics background; do you think you'll be doing some crazy dance and gymnastics combo routine during shows?

CP: (Laughing) You know what, I totally want to add gymnastics stuff in there just for the fun of it, because I think that would get the crowd going. I definitely like to have stuff like that. It would definitely set me apart.

SP: Absolutely.

CP (Laughing) Backflip off the drums or something… (Laughing) definitely.

SP: Can you tell us how you went from the gymnastic world and winning the Olympic gold medal in 2004 to being signed with a major label group with an album coming out?

CP: I always loved singing. My dad used to be a singer so I kind of grew up watching him sing, so I think I got that from my dad, and gymnastics from my mom, she was a gymnast. I've always loved singing, it's always been a huge passion of mine; I just never got the chance to do it because gymnastics was so time consuming, and so I knew that after I was going to retire from gymnastics that I wanted to start pursuing music full time and that's basically what I've done.

SP: What are some of the things you've done with the actual Olympic medals? We were thinking that if we had one we would like to use it just as our coaster when company is over.

CP: (Laughing) I normally just keep them in a safe and I'd really like to get them put in a shadow box some day.

SP: What are you more proud of, your Olympic gold medal or your album?

CP: Oh gosh, that's really tough. Ummm, well, Olympic gold medal is like the pinnacle of what I could do in my sport; and just to have a CD out is like, I don't know, already more than I guess I could ask for. I'm very excited that I'm actually getting this chance. And for me I think the equivalent for that would be having it be successful; people loving it, people being able to relate to my songs, going on tour and getting to share it with people.

SP: Before we go, what's one last thing you want the world to know about yourself or your new album, "Back to the Beginning"?

CP: I'd just like [people] to give it a shot. I've been getting good feedback, a lot of good positive things from it. I think people; if they give it a chance will like it.

Story by Eric Stromsvold

Starpulse contributing writer

Check out Carly at the 2004 Athens Olympics:

Image © Universal Music