Idol Champ Nick Fradiani Talks AGT Past, Thwarted Rap Covers, 'Give and Take' With New Boss Borchetta

Nick Fradiani is a smart guy — and not just because he’s got a master’s degree in education.

The American Idol Season 14 winner, who’s been trying to make a living through music since he turned 18, says he’s excited to write and/or co-write the music for his solo debut on Big Machine Records, but if label chief Scott Borchetta hands him a hit song by an outside writer, “I’m gonna sing it. I’m not that stupid.”

TVLine caught up with Nick this week at Fox HQ in New York City to talk about his previous attempts to juggle music and a teaching career, his Season 14 audition that almost wasn’t, his favorite voting-rounds performance and his thoughts as he sat down to listen to his coronation single “Beautiful Life.” (Spoiler alert: It was something along the lines of “Please don’t ruin my career!”)

I also grilled Nick about the ups and downs of his Idol run, including what he did to overcome his discomfort away from his Beach Avenue bandmates, why he didn’t tackle many out-of-left-field song choices (i.e. “No Diggity“) or arrangements, how he wound up covering Rascal Flatts for his “gravy” song (despite not being a country artist) and where he’ll try to diverge from prior show winners who’ve failed to replicate the success of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood.

“If you don’t have a good album,” Nick offers, “you’re forgotten about — plain and simple.”

Press PLAY above for the full half-hour Q&A, then hit the comments with your thoughts on Nick’s Idol victory and your hopes for his upcoming album!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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45 Comments
  1. Christian says:

    I really want Michael to interview Jax

  2. esqape says:

    Will there be a Rayvon, Jax, and Clark interview? :(

  3. Caroline says:

    This is a really good interview with Nick. He gives a lot of very thoughtful answers.

    But someone should tell him that a lot of the former Idol winners came out with very good albums, but still weren’t all that commercially successful and ended up falling out of the spotlight. It takes a lot more than a good album to keep from being “forgotten” pretty quick.

    • Tess says:

      Perhaps what he should’ve said is it takes a good album AND support from your label. There are some previous Idol winners that could’ve created amazing masterpiece albums but if their labels didn’t want to be bothered to promote them and make sure that even people who didn’t watch the show knew their name and their music and wanted to buy it, then they weren’t going to be successful. Ultimately though, yes you do need a good album or else even the diehard fans who support you on a show like Idol won’t bother to buy it… but you need your label to help make you into more than just a footnote in tv history but also into a bonafide star. Here’s hoping Big Machine will do for Nick what previous affiliated labels have not necessarily done for other winners and will make sure he doesn’t just fade into obscurity by the time the final season of Idol rolls around.

  4. Sarah says:

    Brilliant interview. What a smart guy, best of luck to him!

  5. P H (@ph115) says:

    Hope you have an interview with Clark Beckham.

    • Nan says:

      I have a feeling that Clark’s interview would be on a conversational level below that of Daniel Seavey’s. I don’t think Clark is very bright or complex. Hope they make sure to have plenty of juice boxes on hand.

  6. Diane Hirsch says:

    I’m so happy Nick won! My choice from the first time I heard him. I think he will be very successful with his recording company because he is very grateful not to mention a fantastic singer!

  7. Lisa says:

    Loved this interview. Was a fan of Nick all along, but was very impressed with his charisma and intelligence in the interview. Totally self-aware and ambitious. Look forward to seeing what his future brings!

    • Lisa says:

      Self-aware, charismatic, ambitious, intelligent and mature. His future will be what he makes it. He knows what he wants, and I think he’ll go after it full on.

  8. Lourdes says:

    As always, Michael, you do such a great job interviewing these contestants! So cool that Nick and other contestants were tuning into Reality Check this season! I’ve grown more and more impressed with Nick as he’s gone through his press tour – he’s clearly well-grounded, intelligent, and willing to do what it takes to make the most of this opportunity. I’m hoping Big Machine Records will do right by Nick as I do think he has the vocal chops and maturity to be one of the more successful Idol winners.

  9. BB says:

    Nick who?

  10. Fernando A says:

    This dude has potential to be a good Idol winner successful singer He has the brains and musical talent! As he said, hope he gets the right people working along with him. Nick was a consistent contestant!!! He is good and wish him the best!!! Became one of my favorites in the top 12 actually!! But I was so happy He won, love when an artist with good taste and sense of who they are wins the show!! Definitely gonna follow his career!

  11. MamaLis says:

    #1. Michael – You are the BEST interviewer! #SlezakChatsRule!
    #2. Having just watched a season of AI – how can Nick be way hotter than on TV? Wow.
    #3. Wow.
    #4. I think you’re gonna do great, Nick! Really smart and far too intelligent to drop the ball on this opportunity. I think you’ve got the perfect storm brewing for your success: Scott’s up to bat and & I don’t think he likes to lose. You’re primed and hella ready to go. You’re also willing to work hard and assert yourself. The stars aligned on this one & you’re gonna kill it!!! Congrats!!

  12. lking says:

    Nick Is very well spoken and should do a very good job as an Idol winner. Hope he gets a credible career out of his win.

    • Smokey says:

      Yes, Nick will represent Idol well, and I believe a lot of the future success potential is in the need of having at least a top 40 hit song that gets your name associated with the main music-buying public….. whether it be Pop, Alternative Rock, Urban, Country genre, you must have a Billboard song hit or a strong selling album —-. ……………………………………….

      It is a situation for some recent past winners,,, have not sold any where near as many songs——– as they got for votes on the show………..

      Most Idol watchers/voters are not buying new music when the show is over, but just going back to listening to old albums from the past or classic rock stations on the radio.

      ………That’s why if you don’t catch the attention of the young avid music buyer, (that doesn’t care about Idol but likes the song(s)) ,,, you don’t get the good sales or big money bookings after the buzz from the show is gone.

      Ask 100 college students if they know who Caleb or Candice is — then ask them if they know who Phillip Phillips is. PP was very lucky to have the hit “Home” right after the show…,,,which caught and still has the attention of the Pop/Rock markets —- and the kicker is that most of them will have no idea that he won a show called American Idol to get his start..

  13. lorie says:

    Interesting that he dropped the key down on Beautiful Life for the live performances, but is he always going to play it that way or will he usually play it like the recorded single?

  14. Ctz says:

    Great interview. Interesting to heat Nick had followed Reality Check during the season and name checked Melinda. He sounds like he has a reasonable outlook on what it is going to take to “make it” and he isn’t delusional on his chances. I wish him the best of luck. It would also be great for Idol to produce another big winner at the end of their run.

  15. Excellent interview!

    A lot goes into making an American Idol successful including the team (record label and management) around him or her as well as the material they choose to record. Ultimately, though, it is the personal connection the winner has with his fans that decides whether a Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood level of success is achieved. As can be seen in the interview, Nick seems to be a really nice person. Viewers of Season XIV were responding to that fact as much as the musical performances in helping him become the current American Idol. Nick is and has always been a talented musician that people can see by watching the Beach Avenue videos on YouTube. His current fan base will certainly stay with him and will only increase when the new album is released.

  16. Kakhi says:

    This kid will not make it sorry folks. He is just an ordinary singer and will sell zero EP’s.

    • bobsaccamanna says:

      Well that’s a pretty stupid statement seeing as his former band Beach Avenue has already sold a bunch of EP’s with zero promotion. But thank you for your uninformed , misguided opinion anyhow.

  17. Great interview with Nick! So happy he won. He seems ready to get right to work with Scott and BM. Here’s to hoping that it is a good working relationship and they promote him well with some solid hits. I love Beautiful Life. He performed in on Kelly & Michael. Slowed it down acoustically and turned it into a ballad. It was so good! Good luck to you Nick…will be waiting and watching for new music and videos.

    • Lisa says:

      We don’t always know how well the contestants work with the teams behind the scenes. However, the things that are going on behind the scenes to prepare them for the performances are much the same things that will continue afterwards, and help to shape the contestant’s future career. I believe those collaborations are part of what will help determine the course of their post Idol career.

      We don’t really know how the behind the scenes relationships have affected previous winners. Although, from the sound of it, Nick is a self disciplined individual that seriously thinks things through and he’s in touch with what is best for him while realizing that he’s part of a team. He openly realizes that sometimes my ideas are better, sometimes yours are. Just because you win Idol, doesn’t mean you know how to be the best team player for your own success.

      I think Nick has a great handle on that, and I think that is part of what WILL make him successful. It’s not just about being able to sing and being promoted properly. It’s both being willing and knowing how to work with your team to ensure your OWN success. From listening to Nick, he apparently realizes that, and he’s fully prepared for it.

  18. Linda says:

    Great interview with Nick Fradiani! Smart and very polite! Very good singer I think you sing as well all the others and had stage presence! I
    Listen every day to your song Beautiful Life!!

  19. Jess says:

    Great interview! Love the maturity and logical responses from Nick. I really do wish him all the best with his career. Too bad on the show he couldn’t bring out more b/c the co writers wouldn’t clear songs. Have to say even though one of the more “vibrant/creative” singers didn’t win I’m really glad it was Nick who won this and I also still stand by my thought that Nick will work well with Scott.

  20. vicky says:

    Everything said about “the Run” is very true but I really thought Nick sealed, at least top 2, at the hometown visit. I could see how genuine he is and how much people around him love him. that is the moment I thought he had a real shot at the title.

  21. Puchinsmom says:

    Wonderful interview! What a well spoken and thoughtful guy. I think he is a PERFECT winner. He knows himself, his limitations and his strengths. AND he is willing to do whatever he can to make it in the business. Plus, plus, he is grateful to his fans and doesn’t want to just forget them in the post season rush.
    I hope he does well. For himself as a down to earth guy, and for Idol. Like to see the brand succeed. It might give the last year more momentum going forward.
    Another successful interview Michael. Everyone you’ve done this year has gone so well. Thoughtful contestants who were serious artists.
    Oh, and I liked how Nick gave props to Tyanna’s voice. Good guy.

  22. joey says:

    One more bit of fine work for the third place finisher of season 10 of American Idol, Miss Haley Reinhart.
    .

  23. That was absolutely a fantastic interview between Nick and Michael!!! Nick is the whole package and that to me was how he is above the rest of the other Idol singers!! I voted for Nick every week , not because he is from CT, my home state, but because I thought he is a great singer and his personality is amazing!! Such a likable guy as is shown in this interview!!
    I wish Nick all the BEST and can’t wait for his album to be released !!!I love BEAUTIFUL LIFE!!

  24. Gennalu says:

    Nick is boring and a 90’s throwback band fronter. And since when does a master’s in education make someone smart. Dime a dozen…

  25. Lyn says:

    Great interview! I am so impressed!

  26. meskerem says:

    Nick Nick v.nice job go head.