Reigning American Idol Calls Music City Home

Why Nick Fradiani Lives in Nashville

No, Nick Fradiani isn’t going country.

His feet are planted firmly in the pop world since winning American Idol in 2015. But they are planted in Tennessee, because there’s something about Nashville that seems to just lure in all kinds of artists.

In fact, when Fradiani was in Chicago to shoot his new video for “Get You Home” — which he promises will not be your basic guy-meets-girl storyline — he told me about his move to Music City last November.

“When Scott (Borchetta) brought us all to Nashville, I just fell in love with the city,” Fradiani told me of his trip down there with the Idol mentor and other finalists. “I told myself that if I had the opportunity to move there, I would. And I did. It’s cool to be surrounded by music.”

And while he didn’t sing much country throughout the 2015 season of American Idol, the one time he did, it really worked in his favor. Fradiani chose Rascal Flatts’ “What Hurts the Most,” partly because he’d always loved it and partly because his dad had always loved it.

“When I did that song,” he told me, “it ended up being the best sold track on iTunes that I ever did on the show.”

Fradiani had grown up listening to a lot of Keith Urban, and he and his dad had gone to some Urban concerts together, so he was bummed that he couldn’t audition for him when it was his turn to stand in front of the Idol judges for the first time. (It was when Urban took some time off for his father-in-law’s funeral.)

Eventually, though, he did get to know Urban a little bit on the show. And I asked him what he was like.

“Well, one, he’s the nicest guy ever. And two, besides just being an insane talent, you can see why people want to work with him and be around him. He is just genuinely a really cool dude. He was tough on me in the beginning of show,” Fradiani admitted, “but by the end, you could tell he was rooting for me in a way. It think he could see progression and that I’d taken a lot of his advice.”

And since moving to Nashville, Fradiani told me he’s even run into Urban around town a few times. Yet another reason to hang your hat in Tennessee: random run-ins with your own idols.

Fradiani, who signed with Big Machine Records after his Idol win, is part of the label’s Outnumber Hunger initiative, so he will be featured along with other artists on over 150 General Mills products — from Cheerios and Lucky Charms to Hamburger Helper and Nature Valley Granola Bars — that when purchased, help Feeding America secure meals for local food banks.