'American Idol' champion Nick Fradiani: I never really gave myself much of a shot
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/15/2015
Nick Fradiani won American Idol's fourteenth season after defeating Clark Beckham.
Nick, a 29-year-old musician from Guilford, CT, closed out Wednesday night's finale with an encore of his new single "Beautiful Life." He beat out Clark, a 22-year-old street performer from Whitehouse, TN, for the win after receiving the majority of home viewer votes cast immediately following Tuesday night's performance show.
Nick has been signed to Big Machine Records and will now begin his journey into stardom with the help of this season's mentor Scott Borchetta.
During a Thursday conference call with reporters, Nick talked about his experience on the show and what's next for him. Below is a portion of the interview. Check back with Reality TV World soon for more.
How much time do you have from the end of Idol to the beginning of the tour's preparations. Where will you be spending that time and will you be putting on any shows?
Nick Fradiani: I honestly don't really know right now. I think I'm going to be meeting with Scott over at Big Machine as well as 19 Records, and we'll probably start discussing what I'll be doing with this upcoming record. I do think there's going to be a couple days, I know, I will be back home in Connecticut.
I'm flying back in to New York. In terms of shows, I don't really know. I'd love to. I hope I'll get a chance to play back in Connecticut again, because when I went back home and got to play for the parade, it was pretty amazing.
What is 19 Records?
Nick Fradiani: 19 is my management now, so it's a split thing with Big Machine Records -- which is my record company -- and 19 Management is my management.
Do you have a girlfriend right now?
Nick Fradiani: I do not. (Laughs)
I heard the contestants on Idol called you "Gramps" this season because you were a lot older than them. Was that a little awkward for you? And was it maybe a positive for you because you got a glimpse into the younger generation's music tastes?
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Nick Fradiani: Yeah, I mean, I have my Master's Degree in Secondary Education, so I actually interned at a high school and student taught at a high school for a year. So, I was kind of used to hanging with kids that are 16 and 17 -- or not hanging, but at least relating to them.
So with a lot of these kids, I was just kind of able to get along with them great. And, I mean, I listen to all different types of music, so I never really had a problem with current pop music or anything like that.
Jennifer Lopez hinted that next year might not actually be the last of Idol. Have you heard anything about that? Do you think they should continue with the show after having been through it yourself?
Nick Fradiani: I do. I mean, I heard that, yeah, it doesn't mean that it's going to be gone forever. It means that Fox decided not to pick it up. So, I mean, I'd love to see the show continue. It could be cool to see a revamp of it, you know?
Maybe they could do something a little different. But there will never be another American Idol if it does end next year. It was an incredible run, I mean, the amount of success the show has had -- it's been on for 14 or 15 years -- it's truly amazing. Just to have been able to be a part of it is really awesome.
As a big Dashboard Confessional fan, you've got a Connecticut connection. Talk to me about your song.
Nick Fradiani: Yeah, I love the song. The single, I was really happy with, and as a songwriter, it's always kind of scary to get a song handed over to you and you just don't know what it's going to be like. And luckily for me, I got the demo and I started listening to it, and I'm like, "That's Chris Carrabba!" I just know his voice. I was like, "That's Dashboard Confessional."
And I looked at Scott and he was like, "Yeah, man, he wrote the song." So I lucked out with that one, man. It's spot on to the type of music I wanted to do and what I was doing with my band prior to Idol. So, yeah, it was a real special thing. I lucked out big time.
What was the first thing you did after you got off the stage? Tell me everything that was going through your head when Ryan Seacrest declared you the winner.
Nick Fradiani: I'm trying to go back and remember everything and it's just kind of hard to. It was just such a blur yesterday. I remember when I got offstage, they kind of brought me back into my dressing room that I was staying in and they brought my family down and brought some friends down, and it was just a real special moment. The whole night, everything was done so well.
I never once thought that something like this was going to happen to me. It's just beyond words; It's really amazing. I'm ready to work. I signed up for it; I'm ready for it. I'm just so honored and happy to have this opportunity. It's going to be a wild ride, but I'm ready for it.
Any idea what you'll be performing on tour or what your set is going to be like?
Nick Fradiani: I don't yet. I mean, I know I'm going to be getting a decent amount of time, probably more than any other season because there's only five of us this year on the tour. So I think it's going to be really [good]. I'm going to get a solid set, and you know, I don't know if my record will be written by then. It probably won't.
But I have a lot of original music that I'm going to share that my band wrote as well as the single I have right now. So I'm looking forward to playing some original songs for people. [My song] "Coming Your Way," I was trying to play that on the show but they wouldn't let me do it for fairness issues.
But I wanted to sing some original stuff the whole time. So, I'm excited to do some of those on the tour. I'm hoping that we might be able to re-cut that one for the record, so I'm going to have to show it to Scott and see what he thinks.
How do you feel about being a role model now to those younger than you?
Nick Fradiani: Oh man, I guess whenever you're on TV or you're in the public eye like this, you should always be aware that you could be a role model to somebody. That's very important to me. Like I said, I've always been involved with younger kids in education and working with kids and stuff.
I've been a high school basketball coach and I've taught in high school. So I've always known that you can be so impressionable on young kids. It's really important to me, so I'm always trying to do the best I can to lead with a good example.
What advice would you give to aspiring singers?
Nick Fradiani: Just never give up. I know they make the "Grandpa" joke at 29. I grinded this music thing out for a long time, and you know, there's a lot of times I could've given up and said, "Just go and get a normal job. Start making some money. Stop playing bars and grinding out. Maybe it's time to get a real-life job."
But I just truly felt like I was supposed to do this and I never gave up on the dream I had, and I'm glad I never did.
Do your friends back home treat you any differently?
Nick Fradiani: Not really, no. My buddies are still the same. A lot of them flew out here. We still -- everything is pretty much the same still.
What can we expect from your first album?
Nick Fradiani: I think, to be honest with you, the single that you're hearing now, "Beautiful Life," is to me, a good example of the type of genre it's going to be. If you want, my band is called Beach Avenue if you want to listen to some of our past stuff.
That could kind of give you an idea as well, and we'll see! I'm sure I'm going to come up with some new ideas, and I'm hoping to write with some cool co-writers as well. It's going to be cool.
What do you think is your appeal to those people who supported and voted for you? And what sets you apart from the other contestants?
Nick Fradiani: I think a big part of American Idol, besides you know, I don't consider myself to be -- you know, there's been some powerhouse vocalists on this show. I can sing, but I never considered myself to be some powerhouse vocalist, you know, I do the best that I can. I do what I need to do as a rock/pop singer.
But I think a lot about American Idol is just overall hoping that people like you, and I tried to just paint a picture of how I am as a person and just get my personality to come through.
I think that happened, and you know, I don't know. Hopefully I'm just a relatable guy. I'm just a regular dude who likes to play music, and I guess people liked it. I did the best I could and I'm just still shocked but so happy to be in this position right now.
At what point did you know in your gut that you were going to win?
Nick Fradiani: To be completely honest with you, not until I felt it when I sang my coronation song on Tuesday. When I ended the show and sang it, it felt big. It felt really big and it was so loud. It got so loud when I finished, and at that point, I was like, "I think you got a shot at this now!"
I never really gave myself much of a shot, and then at that point, I thought I had a pretty good one. It was the final moment of the show where I finally thought that I had a really good shot. It was probably one of my favorite performances of the season for me. So it couldn't have come at a better time.
Tuesday was a good day. I was so happy with how everything played out -- song choices and the order of which they went. It was a good thing. It showed kind of all the layers of me as an artist, I thought. And I got to play the original song, so it was a special day.
To read the first part of Nick's post-Idol interview, click here. Check back with Reality TV World soon for more.