"She's so happy for me and she knows this is exactly what I've dreamed about," says The Voice winner

By Melody Chiu
December 22, 2015 03:15 PM

Since the beginning of Jordan Smith‘s Voice journey, there’s been one special lady by his side: his girlfriend of more than three years, Kristen Denny.

“It’s so full circle,” the newly crowned season nine winner tells PEOPLE. “She’s so happy for me and she knows this is exactly what I’ve dreamed about.”

After host Carson Daly called his name, “she came on stage and hugged me and just told me, ‘This is it,'” says Smith. “That was such a special moment.”

For much more on Smith’s plans for the future and his coach Adam Levine’s advice to him, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Wednesday.

Denny – who also sings – has “been through it all with me and has been such a big support and foundation,” says Smith. “To have her with me was so special.”

Looking forward, the budding star is focused on his debut album, which is expected to come out sometime next year.

“I’ve already started working on it and I’m ready to get in the studio and write new music,” he says. “It’s from my heart and it comes directly from the center of who I am. I want to make music that is thought-provoking and emotionally provoking and connects with people on a human level.”