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American Idol Winner Reflects on Life Changing Experience


Nick Fradiani Jr., of Connecticut, describes what’s next in his career, how life has changed and dealing with his newfound celebrity status.
By RACHEL ETTLINGER (Patch Staff)
May 29, 2015

After becoming the pride of Connecticut, American Idol’s newest victor shares what he has planned next while remaining loyal to his home-state roots.

Nick Fradiani Jr., 29, of Connecticut, told Patch how perfecting the art of napping has helped him stay present throughout his chaotic schedule since winning American Idol earlier this month. But, he said he wouldn’t change a thing, sleep schedule and all, because he is sincerely happy with where he’s ended up.

“Oh man, my life has changed in quite a lot of ways,” Fradiani said in a phone interview this week while back home in Connecticut. “It’s what I signed up for though, and it’s really crazy and fun, and it’s been great.”

The Aftermath

While most of us were enjoying a relaxing holiday this past weekend, Fradiani was wrapping up a series of radio performances and interviews, as well as performing the National Anthem at PBS’s 2015 National Memorial Day Concert.

Fradiani finally had a couple of days off to go home to Connecticut and relax this week, he said. When he got home to his parents house in Guilford late Monday night, a place where he and his father used to host many jam sessions, all he did was relax with some friends and watch the basketball playoffs.

His father, Nick Fradiani Sr., of Guilford, used to occasionally play with his son’s band, “Beach Avenue.”

“He was a huge part of our success and we have always appreciated everything he did for us,” Fradiani said. “There will still be some times when we’re playing and we’ll call him up and maybe he’ll do a song or two with us.”

Fradiani and his father have been playing music together since he was a child. “We have a cool connection, musically.”

After spending his first night home with family and friends, Fradiani went to his East Haven house Tuesday for the first time in four months.

“I got to hang out with the guys in my band” Fradiani said. “We pretty much just hung out, we grilled out last night, we were just doing normal stuff.”

Having a sense of normalcy for Nick is definitely something new, as he spent the past several months in Hollywood performing live each week before 10 million people on television to learn if he’d keep advancing in the popular reality television show.

When Fradiani went to the local CVS in Guilford to obtain a passport photo that he’ll need for the FIFA World Cup event in Vancouver, he said it was a crazy experience, just trying to get the photo taken. “Just going around town, it’s been crazy just going anywhere,” Fradiani said.

Fradiani said, while laughing to himself a little, how even mowing his lawn on an average weekday, and doing “normal stuff” for one or two days, is an extremely surreal experience without work to worry about.

Future Career Plans

Relaxation and free time aren’t a permanent luxury for Fradiani, however. He was able to give us a glimpse into the timeline he has to look forward to for the coming months.

He said he’ll be in Connecticut for a couple more days doing more radio performances, and after that he will travel to Minnesota and Arkansas to do promotional events for stores such as Target, Walmart and Best Buy.

From there, Fradiani said he’ll be heading to Nashville, Tennessee, where his record label, Big Machine, is located. This is where he’ll begin working on his next album, and where he’ll also shoot a video for his single, “Beautiful Life,” which is the official song for the Vancouver FIFA World Cup.

After the World Cup in July, Fradiani will begin his trip across America on the “American Idol Live!” tour, which starts July 7 in Florida and will continue throughout the country.

“The calendar is filled up and it’s pretty insane,” Fradiani said.

Starting to write songs for his album is high on Fradiani’s priority list. His record company knows writing his own songs is a strong point of his, and they are planning on using his ability to their full advantage.

“I’ve been a songwriter, and honestly that’s what I always felt my strong point with my band was, the fact that we had written original music,” Fradiani said. “I’m hoping fans will be able to see a lot of what I do as a songwriter, as well as with this album.”

Fradiani said that instead of rushing an album to come out in the next couple of months, they will most likely release one or two singles to keep the buzz going and then release an album hopefully sometime early next year. He said there’s too much at risk with this coming album to rush it, like he said “American Idol” might have done in the past with previous winners.

Beach Avenue and ‘America’s Got Talent’

When asked if his band members from Beach Avenue would be contributing to his album or future performances, Fradiani said they already are a huge part of his music right now, participating in radio performances right alongside him.

“Ryan (Zipp) and Nick (Abraham) have been with me every step of the way since the show ended,” Fradiani said. “They’ve played all of my radio shows with me, they’re doing all of the radio shows in Connecticut with me, and, you know, it’s just a very easy transition for us.”

Fradiani said he hopes to continue involving his band as much as he possibly can in the future, and his record company has been supportive of that.

Before American Idol, Fradiani and his band, Beach Avenue, auditioned and made it to the “Judgement Week” on the show America’s Got Talent before being eliminated.

American Idol Tryout

Fradiani said his decision to audition for “American Idol” as a solo-artist wasn’t easy, but the opportunity happened to stem from his experience on the talent reality show.

A talent scout working for both reality shows encouraged Fradiani to try out for American Idol after his band was knocked out of the first reality competition, Fradiani said. He said it took some convincing but eventually, obviously, he agreed and ended up auditioning for a spot on the show, and the rest is history.

When asked how Fradiani’s other band members felt about him auditioning for a music competition as a solo-artist, he said there were tensions at first. But, as he started to excel in the competition, they all quickly realized how this opportunity could benefit not only Fradiani but also the band as a whole.

“That’s something that I will always appreciate, their support, and we all just want to see what’s best for everyone,” Fradiani said. “We’ve been together for so long so we all just look out for each other. At the end of the day, we’ll always be playing music together.”

‘I Might Win’

Beach Avenue recently made an appearance together on the Guilford Green, a couple of weeks before Fradiani’s victory. A crowd of more than 12,000 people gave the budding star a true hero’s welcome just before he found out he had won the competition.

“The concert back on the green, that was the first time I thought I might win because I was just looking at the 12,000 people there, and that’s a moment I definitely will never forget,” Fradiani said. “My band and I, we all played and it was a lot of fun.”

Connecticut is Home

Fradiani said he truly appreciates the support he has received from his home state, whether it’s a fan calling in to a radio station and asking them to play his new single, or a fan coming up to him and telling him how much they enjoyed watching him win the gold.

“I feel like people feel they are a part of this, and the only reason I won was because of the fans,” Fradiani said. “So, I think that’s a cool connection that the fans are on this journey with me, because I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Fradiani said he admits to having doubts about himself and his career at one point or another.

“There’s always times where I felt I couldn’t cut it, especially as I got older,” Fradiani said. “[But] if you believe in it and it’s really what you love, then you gotta just keep working at it.”

Considering no one from the Northeast has won the reality competition since it first began back in 2002, Fradiani did originally think the odds were against him, he said. “If you’re from around here, you can’t win a show like this because of how the voting works.”

That’s what he had thought, until now.

“I think it’s a huge reason as to why I won, because the word around [Connecticut] spread,” Fradiani said. “I think I did a good job on the show, but I think that also pushed me over the edge to win.”

Despite any previous doubts, Fradiani said he knows he is doing what’s best for himself, and is truly excited for the future ahead of him.

“There’s always times where I felt I couldn’t cut it, especially as I got older,” Fradiani said. “If you believe in it and it’s really what you love then you gotta just keep working at it. I knew in my heart that this was what I was supposed to do, so I just stuck to my guns.”

When asked if Fradiani still called Connecticut home, he answered, “Connecticut will always be my home. I lived there for 29 years and I feel like I’ve never really left.”