There are many people who subscribe to the “10,000 hour rule” as a guidepost to success: the more you do something, the better you get at it. If you do reach the 10,000 milestone, it is believed that you’ ve mastered something. Nick Fradiani has been playing guitar and singing since he was about ten years old; if he isn’ t at the 10k mark yet, he’ s awfully close.
Nick grew up in suburban Connecticut, the oldest child of a teacher mom and a musician dad. Music was always part of the household as Nick recalls, “Before I could talk, my dad said I’ d hum along to music.” It wasn’ t long before Nick Sr. could tell that Nick Jr. had the bug. “My dad was my musical tour-guide, so he laid the groundwork for the type of music I liked. I never listened to any kid’ s music, I gravitated toward The Beatles, Billy Joel, Elton John and Tom Petty. My father gave me my first guitar because he could see I wanted to play along with what I was listening to. He taught me the basics and I took off from there.”
While taking off included a lot of talent nights, ‘battle of the bands’ and joining his dad onstage, Nick actually leaned toward sports more than music. In fact, his father, who made a living performing with his band on cruise ships and casinos, cut back on traveling as Nick got older so he could coach his teams and catch his games. Nick was such a good athlete that he went to Wheaton College to study history and play basketball, though an injury sidelined him his freshman year. While he never gave up on music, he suddenly found himself with a lot of time on his hands. “I’ d written a few songs before, but nothing that I ever thought was worth showing anyone. When I was recovering from my ankle injury, I started again and my dad helped me start booking club dates up and down the East Coast.”
At first, Nick would play during breaks from school and was earning enough to forgo a summer job. “I not only became a better musician during this time, but I realized this was truly my passion. I graduated from college, and started my Masters Degree in teaching, but didn’t want to take the time off to student teach. I really wanted to keep playing my music.”
Around this same time Nick began fronting the band Beach Avenue, who had some hometown success. A local television show appearance lead to selling 20,000 singles on iTunes and more regional gigs. While working a day job and performing with his band at night, Nick knew something had to give. “I was tired all the time, and I wasn’ t giving 100% to my job or to my music. Two months later, I tried out for American Idol.”
Interestingly, Nick tried out because friends and family encouraged him. “My mind frame was really ‘ if it works out, it works out,’ which I think ultimately helped me because I didn’ t overthink things. I was pretty relaxed until I was one of the Top 8 finalists, and then I thought, ‘ Wow, maybe I could win this.”As the Season 14 winner, Nick headlined the final Idol tour in and used the time on the road to introduce fans to his first solo single, “Beautiful Life” [written by Dashboard Confessional’ s Chris Carrabba]. “I’ ve always written music and thought my advantage over other singers was being a good songwriter. They chose a final song for me on the show so it was a bit nerve-racking because my passion is performing my own music. Once I heard ‘ Beautiful Life,’ I was immediately comfortable because it connected with me right away. The song suited my style, so much so that I felt like I could have written it, which made it easy for me to really deliver it.”
Nick continues to captivate audiences with his electrifying sound and contagious confidence. Currently working on his debut album for Big Machine Records, Nick has co-written and released an infectiously sexy new single, “Get You Home.” The official music video was shot in downtown Chicago and is slated to premiere this Spring.
Armed with wide-range vocals and a penchant for songwriting, he continues to traverse throughout the US visiting radio stations and meeting fans. “I know I am in the right place, at the right time. Obviously, I don’ t know exactly how it will all happen, but I truly believe in my heart that I’ ll make my mark in music … and the journey is just beginning.”
Nick’s latest release, Hurricane, is available at Exile on Main St. in Branford.
For more info, go to exileonmain.com.