"Having 12 hand-selected girls really boosts your confidence going in," the musician jokes to PEOPLE
Credit: Sarah Michaud

Hey there, Delilah – there’s a new girl in town.

Over the summer, Plain White T’s guitarist Tim Lopez took a step back from the stage to search for his soulmate on Ready for Love. The reality show, premiering Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC, has matchmakers pairing prospective partners with one of three bachelors.

While the identity of the woman he chose is under wraps, Lopez admits he did pen a song about his love, featured on the band’s new EP, Should’ve Gone to Bed.

“These four songs are just taken from our personal lives – one of which is inspired by a girl I met on the show,” Lopez, 32, tells PEOPLE.

The experience may have scored him a future chart-topper, but becoming a more public figure also comes with the territory.

After arriving in New York City for a press trip, Lopez “sat at the bar with the other two guys, had a drink and watched five or 10 cabs drive by with our faces on them. We just dropped our jaws. Plain White T’s have been all over the place but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“I’m actually a little bit scared about the loss of anonymity,” he adds. “I thought about that on the plane. I hadn’t slept more than two hours, got a seat at the very back and crashed. I woke up with my mouth open, probably drooling. The idea of having people watching me at all times and maybe taking photos scares the hell out of me.”

Fortunately, Lopez is willing to face the music. “This summer was just a chance to focus solely on my personal life,” he says. “I met someone amazing and for that it was worth going through whatever I’m about to go through.”

From the Stage to the Show

Although Lopez is comfortable performing live, he tells PEOPLE that relying on his stage presence for confidence in front of the cameras wasn’t an option.

“As much as I’ve played in front of crowds, there are times where I still get nervous. This was just overwhelming from all angles: dating, cameras, live audience … there’s nothing more frightening than those three things for me,” he explains. “At some point you just zero in on who you’re with and things just start to become natural the more you get to know the person. The cameras fade away.”

Admittedly “terrible at first dates,” Lopez says the show’s set-up definitely tipped the scales in his favor when it came time to narrow down his choices.

“Having 12 hand-selected girls really boosts your confidence going in – you’re still a little bit skeptical, but it does feel like you have better odds than just going down to the local bar and seeing who you meet,” he says. “At the same time, I feel like I’m a really good judge of character when it comes to girls. I based it off attraction and a connection that I was having, just like any normal first date.”

So did his quest turn up the love of his life? “I feel like the people I was with at the end – the final three – were the best matches for me and actually the most sincere and genuine people,” Lopez says. “It’s a crazy experience.”

Reporting by SARAH MICHAUD