|Return to American Idol||
GGM: Your single, “Beautiful Life,” is the official Women’s World Cup song and is taking off, but as I understand it, it was just given to you. I know you have songwriting experience with your band, Beach Avenue. How did it feel basically being told “This is your first single?”
NF: As a songwriter, it’s a little scary. I remember walking into the room when I made it to the top three, literally twenty minutes after I got offstage, and people who are now my managers were like “well, here’s your song.” I do remember being a little freaked out, like “please be good, please don’t ruin my career!” (laughs) To be honest with you, right off the bat I liked it, but I was still tense because it was happening so quickly. Then they sent it to me, and I listened to it that night. I sat down with my guitar and I remember learning it really quickly, which I knew was a good sign. I had it in my head right away. I think that really helped me in terms of winning the show, and I still really like it. I like playing it out. I think I really lucked out with it. It was written by Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional, which is really cool.
GGM: Do you have an idea of what your debut album is going to be like?
NF: I’ve been writing with a bunch of different cowriters for the past couple weeks in Nashville and LA. It’s gonna be slightly different than the single. The single is kind of like what I was doing with my band, but I think my vision is gonna be a little more pop, but going more towards Maroon 5 with a harder edge. A little more rock vibe is what we’ve been doing, and the few things I’ve done have come out really cool so far. But you know, it’ll still be—you know, I’m digging Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5, and I’m trying to find my way around that.
GGM: Obviously the victory is propelling your solo career. Do you have any plans with Beach Avenue after this?
NF: As of right now, they’re still with me. They’ve been with me every step of the way since I’ve won. We’ve been rehearsing together and doing all the different radio shows together. They’re gonna be in the music video for “Beautiful Life,” and we’re doing shows together, so as of right now, they’re still rolling with me, which is pretty cool.
GGM: Idol is coming to an end soon. What are your thoughts on the show as a cultural staple coming to an end, when you’re so close to it yourself?
NF: When I first found out, I was a little bummed, because you feel like such a big part of it when you’re on the show. But then I thought about it, and you know, fifteen successful years is pretty—you can’t say that about many television shows. And at its height it really changed pop culture and was this phenomenon-type show. It’s the only show—you know, some shows are similar, but it’s the only show that was really able to create some names we’ll remember for a really long time, serious superstars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. It’s the only show that proved it could do that. That’s the way I look at Idol. It’s a show that propelled some serious artists and I’m proud to be one of the winners out of the fifteen there are going to be.
GGM: Which song were you most excited to perform on Idol?
NF: I really liked “Bright Lights” by Matchbox 20. It’s not one of their most popular songs, but actually I was writing with Paul Doucette of Matchbox 20 recently and he said that that’s their number one live song to do, and I can see why. It’s really fun. I had a blast doing it. I actually did it twice on the show, once at the top five and again at the finale.
GGM: What are some of your favorite albums?
NF: My favorite album is Abbey Road or The White Album. I’m a Beatles freak and those two albums have a lot of my favorite songs.
GGM: What are some songs you’re jamming right now?
NF: Right now I’m jamming Sia’s “Elastic Heart.” I’m a big fan of Andy Grammer, and I still like “Honey I’m Good” even though it’s on all the time. And there’s a new song called “Renegades” by X Ambassadors.
GGM: Can you tell me a couple favorite movies?
NF: Aw man. Alright well, The Godfather is one of my all-time favorites. For some reason, I’ve always really liked Gladiator with Russell Crowe. Rocky IV.
GGM: How about TV shows?
NF: I don’t keep up with a ton of TV shows right now. I like Netflix and binge-watching shows. For instance, in between the pre-taped stuff and the live stuff on American Idol, I had a lot of time home without a lot to do, so I binge watched Breaking Bad in three weeks. I think I’ve seen every episode of Seinfeld.
GGM: Are you reading anything?
NF: I’m a history major so while I like fiction, I tend to like a lot of biographies, especially music biographies. I just read a biography of James Taylor that was really good. I read a lot of books on The Beatles and John Lennon.
GGM: Do you have any favorite restaurants?
NF: I eat sushi. I seem to eat it non-stop. There’s one place near the Orlando in LA when we were there that was great called Sushi Roku.
GGM: Style-wise, do you find yourself returning to any style or accessories?
NF: Yeah, Varvatos I like a lot, and I also like All Saints.
GGM: What’s the last thing you splurged on?
NF: Honestly, since I’ve won, I had no chance to buy anything, but right when I made it to the top 48, I bought these noise cancelling Bose Headphones. They were like 300 bucks, but that was a major splurge to me.