With his rich tenor voice, distinctive looks, and endearingly innocent charm, Jason Castro won over millions of viewers as a contestant on the seventh season of American Idol, parlaying his substantial singer-songwriter appeal into a third-place runner-up finish. He may not have won the competition, but the 22-year-old Texan earned himself a devoted fan base eager to hear what he would do once freed to perform his own songs. Those folks will get their chance with the release of Castro's self-titled debut album on Atlantic Records. Those who watched Castro on American Idol are by now familiar with his likeably down-to-earth personality and aw-shucks demeanor. But when he opens his mouth to sing, it's like watching a totally different person. Any offbeat quirkiness seems to fall away and the listener is struck by an authentic maturity and the spell-binding intimacy of his voice. "I'm actually a pretty serious guy, and that's the side people didn't see on the show and wouldn't see unless you're my best friend," Castro says. "These songs represent that other side of my personality - the more reflective, thoughtful side. I really think music is an extension of one's self. One can't go without the other, so my personality and character are a huge part of the music and that's what people have told me they love about it-just the realness and that they can feel my heart and the emotion in the songs when I perform them."