SS: We're always trying to help people find their passion in life. Seems like you are a great example of someone who is doing exactly what they were put on the planet to do.
AL: I do feel that way. It's funny because I think timing's everything. I think sometimes we're meant to do something but things aren't lined up correctly. This year, things were all in the right place, all in the right time. I was really fortunate to have all the experiences that I've had up until now that have prepared me for this in an indirect way. It's kind of like Slumdog Millionaire—everything he's been through is what allows him to win the competition he's on. That movie really resonated with me in such a way like, "Yeah, I kind of feel like that could be the case with me too." There's been so many full-circle moments, you know, people I've met or songs that I've already performed or loved that came back for the show for me.
SS: What's the best piece of advice you've received?
AL: There's been a lot of advice, and I listen to all of it. Katy Perry gave me a really interesting piece of advice. It's something I kind of already knew but having it reinforced by someone who's been a huge star this year and really exploded on the scene, she said to me, "Make sure you keep your family and your close friends you had before this whole experience at your side. They're the ones who are going to keep it grounded. They're the ones that are going to keep it real."