By People Staff
Updated September 21, 2009 12:00 AM
Credit: Chris Cuffaro/Fox

American Idol winner Kris Allen stopped by New York’s Z100 on Monday to debut his first single, “Live Like We’re Dying,” on Elvis Duran‘s morning show.

Although he’s now dropping in on radio stations to promote his first single, it wasn’t long ago that Allen almost gave up on his dream of becoming a singer. “I was playing in bars, playing three hour shows, singing every song under the sun, taking requests from ,” he says of the days when he was trying to break into the industry. “I was actually trying to go back to school before Idol. This was one of the last ditch efforts. I’m just glad it worked out!”

That last ditch effort landed him at the top on what would become a historic season of IdolPaula Abdul‘s last. “I’m glad I was able to be a part of her last season. She was great. She cared for all of us. We got to know her the most, probably. She’s just a sweetheart,” Allen said. “I’ve met Ellen DeGeneres as well, and she’s great. She’s awesome. I love Ellen to death.”

Allen, whose still-untitled first album is due out Nov. 17, says he’ll miss his home in Conway, Ark., while he’s making the rounds to promote his album and the song. “I miss everything about that place. I miss Chick-Fil-A. It is the best chicken sandwich out there,” he says. “I love it, man. It’s one of my favorite places in the world.”

Tell us: What do you think of Kris Allen’s first single?Chris Cuffaro/Fox