'American Idol': Scott Borchetta Talks Nick Fradiani Plans, Season 15 Return

Scott Borchetta

Says the Big Machine Label Group chief and season 14 mentor: "We're going to make sure that we have great songs and do our best. … The music comes first."

Now that American Idol is over, Scott Borchetta is heading back to Nashville. But he won’t be flying solo; The Big Machine Records boss will be bringing Season 14 champ Nick Fradiani along. Backstage after Wednesday’s finale, Borchetta could not have looked prouder of the latest addition to his label's roster, deeming Fradiani “ready to go to work” and teasing that he plans to keep the Idol winner extremely busy.

Borchetta discussed the victor’s upcoming album and the care that will go into artfully selecting the right songs for the project. He revealed that he’s already been hobnobbing with hit songwriters like Stephan Moccio, who penned The Weeknd’s “Earned It,” and that he is open to taking on tracks that Fradiani drafts himself. Borchetta also revealed that he’s game to return for Idol’s 15th season, so long as the show’s mission looks forward in addition to looking back. 

Check out his full backstage interview below:

You just signed Nick Fradiani to your music label. How are you feeling right now?

Honestly, both Clark and Nick are fantastic. And the fact that Nick won tonight doesn’t take anything away from Clark’s talent. But I think if you look at who is ready to go to work tomorrow, I think I felt that way last night. And Keith Urban felt that way last night as well. America voted. Nick’s ready. So I’m going to take him back to Nashville. He’s the newest member of the Big Machine Records family and he is your new American Idol.

How soon does his picture go up on the wall?

You’re talking about when we went to Nashville and I took the Top 5. We had all the artists in the hallway and a spot open for the new American Idol. And so we’re going to make a big deal out of hanging that picture. So we’re going to have Nick come in and place it up and we’ll make sure all of you see content of this.

How much is timing important to this? How soon do you want him to release an album?

Well, I think right now, the single is already out. We’re literally sending the single out tonight to all radio and it’s on. So as far as the album goes, we want to make sure that it’s about the music first. We could rush in ... [but] that’s not how we roll. We’re going to make sure that we have great songs and we’re going to do our best. We’re going to do what we always try to do at the Big Machine Label Group and make sure the music comes first. I really think we have a great single to start with. I think “Beautiful Life” won him the competition. As JLo and Harry said, “This is absolutely a wash -- that Nick sang that original song like he’d been singing it for years.” It sounded great and thousands of people have already downloaded it. So we’ve got to find more songs like that. Chris Carrabba who is the writer from Dashboard Confessional, he’s going crazy. He’s sending me songs and just texted me, “Oh my God. My son won American Idol.” I talked to Stephan Moccio this morning. I don’t’ now if you know who he is but he’s the writer of The Weeknd’s song ‘Earned It.” And he’s got songs. I’m going to go everywhere I can. My team is going to be on a mad song hunt to make sure that we have great songs. The mission really is just getting started for Big Machine.

Big Machine’s contract to sign the American Idol winner was just for this year. Will you and the label be back for Season 15 of Idol?

If the mission is “we want to find one last great American Idol” and it’s going to be about that, then it makes sense. Because you have to remember that if I come back, that means that I put my time and money on the line to find a great artist. With no disrespect, if the show’s going to be about nostalgia, then really it’s not going to make sense for us to be a part of it. That’s OK. That’s just the reality. This is a business too so it depends on what the mission is for Fox.

Will you be working with Clark or any of the other singers?

At this point right now, it’s all about the winner. We do have an option with the entire Top 10 with 19 Entertainment, our partners, but right now we are going to focus on Nick and the tour.

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What are the next few weeks going to be like for Nick?

Nonstop media for him. I mean, literally. We’re going to attack all media online, in person, radio, retail. We’re going to continue to work his butt off.

What about Nick’s original songs?

Nick is actually a really good songwriter and I’ve heard a couple of things that are absolutely recording worthy. So I think that there’s a good possibility. And believe me, we’re always drawn towards singer/songwriters. If you look at most of our roster, we’ve got great singer/songwriters. I’m always attracted to that. So we’ll definitely encourage him but at the end of the day, the best song wins.

Did you think Nick was going to win all along?

I can go back to the first time I saw Nick at the House of Blues and he did “Drops of Jupiter” and I thought, “OK. I know who this guy is already. He’s a guy who’s been in a band. He hasn’t been a frontman. I’m going to have to go kick him in back because I see something in him. You need to let your inner Mick Jagger out and be the man.” And he showed that he has that. And so I knew he had potential. Fiver or six weeks ago, there were three. Jax could have won, Clark could have won, Nick could have won. No offense to any of the other ones, that’s just my own thought. And Nick made a very prophetic statement about six weeks ago. He said, “I’m the 8-8 Giants. I am peaking as the playoffs are starting. I am going to win the Super Bowl. Well, Nick Fradiani won the Super Bowl. Congratulations Nick!


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