Chayce Beckham Releases His Debut EP in the Hopes of Helping Others: 'Music Saved My Life in That Way'

"I go back there, and it gets to my stomach and the nerves start and just being there in that environment again gets to me," Beckham tells PEOPLE of his time on American Idol

Chayce Beckham Admits that the “American Idol” Judges Still Freak Him Out: ‘I’m a Deer in Headlights’
Chayce Beckham. Photo: Ethan Helms

There was a time when Luke Bryan didn't know Chayce Beckham's name and he certainly wouldn't suggest that Dierks Bentley go fishing with him.

But not anymore.

"Yesterday I drove out to Luke's place to go fishing," Beckham, 25, enthusiastically tells PEOPLE during a recent interview. "I fished till about 7:30 at night, so I called him up to ask if I could stay at the house since he was in Los Angeles doing American Idol. Luckily, he told me that there was food at the house, and I could crash there."

And the next morning, Beckham went fishing with Dierks Bentley.

"We caught quite a few," laughs Beckham. "It was the first time I met Dierks. He's really a nice guy. I just thought it was funny because every time I fish with a country celebrity, they always leave by some form of aircraft. And that's exactly what Dierks did."

Certainly, the surreal nature of the former fork-lift driver's life now is becoming more and more clear to Beckham now, as he basks in the successful release of his highly anticipated debut EP, Doin' It Right. In fact, Beckham recently performed the feel-good title track on the very stage that changed everything for the California native last year.

"It's really cool to get to go back and share my experience with some of the American Idol contestants and talk to them about just what I went through while I was there," says Beckham, whose self-penned track "23" skyrocketed to the top of numerous viral charts shortly after his American Idol win over fellow contestant Willie Spence last year. "They always ask me, 'How do you make the nerves go away?' and I'm always like, 'They never go away.'"

In fact, while Beckham admits that he is getting more comfortable with the idea that he will spend the remainder of the year touring alongside powerhouse artists such as Jimmie Allen and Luke Combs, standing on that American Idol stage still messes with his mind.

"I've played for thousands of people, but if you put me in front of [Idol judges] Katy, Luke and Lionel and turn those cameras on, I'm a deer in headlights again," Beckham admits with a laughs. "I go back there, and it gets to my stomach and the nerves start and just being there in that environment again gets to me."

Second-guessing his obvious talent is something that Beckham has long battled, despite the impressive amount of success he has experienced thus far in his brief career.

"I didn't really stop [second-guessing] myself until not that long ago," explains Beckham, whose current single "Can't Do Without Me" alongside Lindsay Ell is currently climbing the country radio charts. "I started looking back on it and just thinking, 'Wow, the people who are here actually do like the way that I sing.'"

That "way" he sings could be described in a multitude of ways, from gritty to powerful to achingly relatable. And when words don't do his talent justice, the music does. And it's not just about the sad songs anymore.

"I was fishing with Luke one day and he was like, 'You got to stop singing that sad country music, you got to start writing some happy songs buddy,'" laughs Beckham, who had a hand in writing four of his EP's six upbeat tracks. "And I was like, 'You know what, you're right. I agree with you.'"

"It was just one of those deals where I didn't want to put out a bunch of music that was really depressing and sad, but I also wanted to stay true to myself and the country music that I love. So, I think that what we ended up with was the perfect collection of songs to say, 'Hey, I'm here. This is what I'm doing. And hopefully, you like it.'"

And yes, the fans like it, with the EP snagging the No. 1 spot on the all-genre iTunes chart upon its release. And while he is certainly enjoying the accolades and the spotlight and the chance to hang out with a bevy of country music celebs, Beckham seems the most thankful for the personal growth he has seen in himself as of late.

"I've lived a lot of little lifetimes in my almost 26 years now," Beckham concludes. "I've experienced so many different ways of life. But I couldn't be happier with where this career has put me and the things I get to do as far as my music reaching the people who need it. That's all I care about because music saved my life in that way."

Related Articles