'American Idol' Nick Fradiani Ready to Hit the Ground Running

Michael Becker / Fox
Nick Fradiani

One day after being crowned as the new American Idol, Nick Fradiani said he is ready to go to work.

“This is what I signed up for. I’m ready for it,” the Guilford, Connecticut singer said on a conference call with reporters. “I’m just so happy to have this opportunity. It’s going to be a wild ride.”

Part of that wild ride, he said, starts this summer with making his album and embarking on the American Idol summer tour with the top 5, including runner-up Clark Beckham, who revealed the other contestants had an affectionate nickname for the 29-year old singer: "Grandpa."

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"I know they make the ‘grandpa joke’  at 29," he said. "I grinded this music thing out for a long time. There’s a lot of times I could have given up and said ‘Go get a normal job. Start making some money.’ I just truly felt like I was supposed to do this. I never gave up on the dream I had and I’m glad I never did.”

His dream will become a reality as early as "the next couple of days," when he plans to sit down with Big Machine Records head Scott Borchetta and discuss his debut record.

The songs, he said, will be the key to his future success.

“American Idols that come off the show and don’t have a hit song -- that makes it tough. If you come off the show and the song isn’t big, and it takes a couple months to get your single out there -- that time could be damaging,” he said.

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He said he believes he is already off to a good start with his first single, “Beautiful Life,” penned by Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba, Rykeyz and Ayanna Elese.

“One thing I’m excited for -- I think the single is going to do well. The one thing I’m really the most confident in as an artist is my songwriting ability and ear for pop music. I’m really excited to show that off. It was a side that I wasn’t able to show on American Idol,” he said.

His strong point, he said, is his songwriting ability, and he hopes to put some of his original material on his forthcoming solo record. One song, “Coming Your Way,” is familiar to fans who may have seen his band, Beach Avenue, perform it on America’s Got Talent.

“I was trying to play that on the show. They wouldn’t let me do it for fairness issues,” he said. “I wanted to sing some original stuff the whole time. I’m excited to do some of those on tour…I’m hoping to be able to recruit that one for the record. I”m going to have to show it to Scott and see what he thinks.”

His set on the tour, he said, will be “solid.”

“I know that I’m going to be getting a decent amount of time, probably more than any other season, because there’s only 5 of us this year on the tour,” he said. “I don’t know if my record will be written by then. It probably won’t. I have a lot of original music that I’m going to share that my band wrote, as well as the single I have right now. I’m looking forward to playing some original songs for people.”

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As for the news that American Idol is coming to an end after next season, Fradiani has hopes that the show will find some kind of afterlife.

“It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be gone forever. It means that FOX decided not to pick it up. I’d love to see the show continue. It could be cool to see a revamp of it. Maybe they could do something a little different,” he said. "There will never be another American Idol. If it does end next year -- it was an incredible run. The amount of success this show has had -- to be on for 14, 15 years -- it’s truly amazing. To have been able to be a part of it is really awesome.”