"I've known for a very long time we were going to get married," says the star

By Melody Chiu
Updated March 17, 2016 11:45 AM
Credit: Source: Jordan Smith Instagram

On New Year’s Day, Jordan Smith surprised his now-fiancée Kristen Denny with a romantic proposal, but the singer says the happy milestone has been a long time coming.

“I’ve known for a very long time she was going to be my wife,” says the season nine winner of NBC’s The Voice. “I knew we were meant to be together.”

The couple first met at summer camp and have been dating for nearly four years. “I was a camper and she was a counselor. It was a little scandalous,” jokes Smith. “We just got along so great and it was such a perfect fit.”

After the show wrapped and Smith (whose new album Something Beautiful is out Friday) took home the trophy, he knew he wanted to take their relationship to the next level.

“I knew that this is a huge year and I’m going to be making a lot of big decisions that are going to affect the both of us and our relationship,” he explains. “I thought it would be unfair to be making these huge decisions on her behalf without her.”

For much more on Jordan Smith’s journey to self-acceptance and his plans for the future (including a wedding!), pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

The timing of the engagement is especially fitting for the couple, who initially talked about Smith auditioning for The Voice when they first began dating.

“She’s just been there for me through all of this,” says Smith. “The first time I auditioned [and didn’t make it], she was there to be like, ‘Listen, it’s not the end of everything.’ She reminded me I have so much more to look forward to and was a huge support for me and has kept me grounded.”

Smith also credits his longtime love, a speech language pathologist, for boosting his self-confidence. “Having somebody else love you in that way and being able to love someone else for who they are shows you that you should love yourself that way too,” he says.