"This little boy is my higher power," he tells PEOPLE. "He makes me want to be the best musician and the best dad and the best husband that I could possibly be every single day"

By Tricia Despres
June 04, 2021 03:05 PM

It had been one day and four hours since Andrew Jannakos officially became a dad to his wife Kat's 5-year-old son Brenson and already, he was breaking the rules.

"We normally don't let him sleep with us, but last night, we let him sleep in between us because I wanted to wake up and have him in my arms," Jannakos, 26, tells PEOPLE in a recent interview shortly after officially adopting Brenson back on May 18. "As soon as I woke up, I started to cry. It's just been a long time coming."

Indeed, the journey to fatherhood for the singer/songwriter who first made waves on season 16 of NBC's The Voice had many a twist and turn. It was just about three years ago that Jannakos not only met and fell in love with his now-wife, but also met her son, who was just 2 at the time.

In September of 2020, Jannakos married his longtime girlfriend in a beachside ceremony, and little Brenson began to see the guy with the glasses in a whole new way.

"I went from 'Andrew' to 'Andrew Daddy' and then just 'Daddy,' and I've been 'Daddy' for as long as I could remember," says the proud Georgia native, who put the adoption process in motion in February of this year. "I mean, it took him maybe a year of me being in his life was when he really solidly called me 'Daddy.'"

Andrew Jannakos
Andrew Jannakos
| Credit: Matthew Berinato

Certainly, it's a term that he doesn't take lightly, as Jannakos himself found a refuge and a foundation within the strength of his own father.

"I've always looked up to my dad," says Jannakos. "He's always been my hero. So now, it gives me a little bit of hope to know that maybe I could be that for Brenson. I could be the person that he looks up to. I could be his hero."

He takes a deep breath. "It's weird. I never thought I was going to be a dad yet. But here I am, and I couldn't be happier."

What makes the adoption even more special is the fact that the entire process began amidst a flurry of activity within the career of Jannakos, who went viral over the pandemic when Kat posted a snippet of him singing "Gone Too Soon" while cooking dinner. The clip immediately took off, and a few short months later, the song was released as his first single, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard's Emerging Artist chart, and at No. 12 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.

"When you have a viral moment, I feel like some people think it just gets really easy," he says with a laugh. "But honestly, it just gets way harder. I haven't stopped working. You go from zero to a hundred and every single day, there is something new. But it's been amazing so far."

Andrew Jannakos album
Andrew Jannakos' Gone Too Soon
| Credit: Sony Music Nashville

And this journey to the country charts is certainly receiving a much deserving push via the Friday release of his new EP Gone Too Soon, which features the awfully sexy-sounding title track, the recently released "Somebody Loves You" and "Wine Country," along with three brand new songs — every one of which he had a hand in writing.

He knows he doesn't look like a country artist. But no, he could not care less.

"I love Yeezys and Ultraboosts because they're comfortable as heck.," he laughs of the edgy sneakers. "But at the end of the day, I will pull back my bow and sling an arrow at anything. So, I'm just so happy that this new EP shows off every side of me."

Even the fatherly side.

"This is going to sound so corny, but this little boy is my higher power," he explains. "He makes me want to be the best musician and the best dad and the best husband that I could possibly be every single day."