Tate Stevens

Tate Stevens

Jeff Lipsky

"It is crazy that I get a second chance, and a second chance on a major scale," he tells Billboard

What a difference a year makes. One year ago this week, Tate Stevens was shoveling snow following a winter storm back home in Belton, Missouri. Last week, the area was hit by another major weather-maker, but Stevens has since moved on from his days of working for the city. Instead, he is living his dream.

Stevens, the season two winner of "The X Factor," will release his self-titled debut album for Syco Music / RCA Nashville on April 23. In the meantime, he just unleashed the  first single, "The Power Of A Love Song," to country radio.

"How many people don't love love songs?" he says about the single. "I do, because of how they move you, how they take you places – whether it's missing someone, or that first time you met your significant other, the first dance at your wedding. When I heard it, it just took everything about love songs and how they work, and they put it into a song. It's the truth. It can make you cry, it can make you laugh."

In describing the "X Factor" experience, Stevens stated that "It was harder than I thought it would be. I didn't know what to expect going into a show like that. But, it was tough – mentally and emotionally draining for me. Every week, you perform, giving your best, and hoping it was good enough to stay around another week. You're singing for Simon Cowell, Britney Spears, L.A. Reid, and Demi Lovato, and you have to impress them, as well as America. It was tough," he admits.

He said the weeks taping the show were an emotional roller coaster. "Everyone came out and gave their best on Wednesday. Thursday, it was like a funeral. You knew someone was going home, and that their ride was over, and you didn't want to be that person."

For this chat, Billboard caught up with Stevens at a place where he has had some history over the years: Nashville's Wildhorse Saloon.

"How cool is that? I played here in the 90s," he said before reflecting on what has gone down this year. "It is crazy that I get a second chance, and a second chance on a major scale. So, to be on RCA, and have a single come out, and an album, it's all like a dream. I can't thank the country music fans enough for putting me in this position. My wife and kids pushed me into doing the show, and country music fans got me here."