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James Durbin ready to "Stand Up" in 2012
By Lauren Moraski

(CBS) James Durbin is living the dream. The rocker recently released his debut album, "Memories of a Beautiful Disaster," and he just married his longtime love Heidi.

His single, "Stand Up," has been playing in NFL stadiums all across the country this season; the accompanying music video premiered this week.

Read more: James Durbin watches "American Idol" from a new perspective
Read more: James Durbin weds on New Year's Eve

"It's a lifelong dream come true," Durbin told about his career as a musician. "It's very surreal."

But there was a time when the future wasn't so bright. Durbin sings about that period in "Higher Than Heaven," one of the songs he co-wrote for the album.

"It's about my life right before I met her [Heidi]," he said. "I wasn't in a good spot in my life. I wasn't amounting to anything. I lived at my mother's house, got up every morning, smoked pot and went back to bed and then went and partied. I had never been like that any time before. As soon as I turned 18, I kind of rebelled for a good year."

Meeting Heidi made Durbin realize he wanted to be a better person. "I wanted to be good for her," he said.

The couple wed at the end of 2011 with fellow "American Idol" alums Haley Reinhart, Stefano Langone and Casey Abrams by their side. But Abrams, who was Durbin's best man, almost didn't make it to the wedding. He got lost on the way to the ceremony, making him 18 and a half minutes late. "If all hell were going to break loose, it would have broken loose at that moment," said Durbin. "But it didn't -- Casey showed up."

Looking ahead, Durbin plans to tour in 2012 and fans can expect him to do some more songwriting on his sophomore effort.

"I'm having to fly a lot, and it gives me the chance to go back to song ideas that I had," he said.

The 23-year-old rocker recently started working on a song about his father, a musician who died when Durbin was only 9 years old.

"All my life I've tried to write a song about my father," he said. "I've never been able to find the right emotion and the right mindset in order to write the song. It requires a lot of emotional endurance to muster up those old feelings. I think I'm at the point in my life right now where I can try."