American Idol's Chayce Beckham on Future Plans — Including a Move to Nashville with Fellow Contestant
After Sunday's finale of the ABC singing competition show, the 24-year-old Apple Valley, California native opened up about what this win means to him, what he hopes to do in the future and most recent upcoming plans.
"I have a lot of stuff that I want to knock out," Beckham, a heavy machinery operator who has long battled with substance abuse, told reporters. "For me, this is just the beginning for what I want to do. This was a great start to my second chance at life. I really did a good job at messing everything up and God gave me a second chance to come back and do all this."
"I've got a lot of work I still got to put in," he added. "I've got a lot of people I'm still trying to make proud. I've got to get my feet in the ground in Nashville and go out there and try to make hit records for the rest of my life. That's my only goal is to make music for people for the rest of my life."
Reps for Idol confirmed that Beckham will be making the move to Nashville with fellow contestant (and friend!) Graham DeFranco (who stepped in for Arthur Gunn and performed alongside Sheryl Crow during Sunday's finale).
Throughout the season, Beckham — who first caught the attention of the judges with his audition of "What Brings Life Also Kills" by Kolton Moore and the Clever Few — has wowed viewers with his soothing pipes and heart-wrenching story of triumph.
"I've gone through a lot of ups and downs," Beckham said during his audition. "It's been quite the roller coaster. My whole life kind of flipped upside down and I moved back home with my parents."
After he was crowned winner on Sunday, Beckham said he never thought "in a million years" he'd be in this position and he could not be more grateful.
"This is my family," Beckham said of the Idol cast and crew. "It's not a competition because there was so much love the whole way. Im at a loss for words."
"This win means everything, not only to me but to my family and to the people who are supporting me and all the blue-collar workers out there in America who are busting their assess every day in the sun, sweating every day and coming back to their wife and kids and their families. That is who I do it for and it means the world to me."
Beckham has been extremely open about his substance abuse struggles throughout the season and, in doing so, has been able to connect with many fans through his vulnerability.
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"It means a lot to the people whose brothers and sisters and moms and dads who might be having a hard time with addiction and substance abuse and things like that," he told reporters. "I know a lot of people reached out to me and said that I give them hope. Their mom or their dad or their brother or their boyfriend, I hope I can show all those people as well that they can turn their lives around and do something good with it."
"[This] just gives me more faith on what is going on as opposed to how I used to react to things," added Beckham, whose original song "23" hit No. 1 on the country charts shortly after its release.
"I used to freak out on everything and thought everything was wrong because I had to be in control. I think this has really shown me that is not the way to process my life. You've got to roll with the punches and make the best. Life has given me lemons many times along this road and I have smiled right back and made lemonade so I am very very grateful for what I have been through because I think that it's shaped me for this experience and this journey made me a better man."