Exclusive: ‘American Idol’ Winner Chayce Beckham Discusses the Making of His Debut Album ‘Bad for Me’

American Idol album Chayce Beckham released his debut album Bad for Me today (April 5). The 13-track collection features “23,” the Platinum-certified track that made him an Idol champion along with several other tracks written or co-written by Beckham. More importantly, his debut record puts his traditional country influences on full display.

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Ahead of the release of Bad for Me, Beckham sat down with American Songwriter to discuss the album, his rise to fame, writing songs, and more.

[RELATED: Exclusive: Chayce Beckham Talks New Music and the Importance of Honesty in Songwriting]

Chayce Beckham on Finding Acclaim in Country Music

When asked how it feels to have a proverbial rocket strapped to his back, Beckham said, “It feels really good.” Then, he added, “I don’t know how to explain it. There’s a lot of stuff that goes with it. The last three years were just a lot of hard work and playing a lot of shows and earning my stripes and cutting my teeth wherever I can.”

He went on to talk about the road that led him to where he is today. “The whole buildup to this has been really awesome, to get to the point where we can record this album and be a part of awesome tours. It’s what dreams are made of,” he said. “It’s kind of crazy to watch it all happen, Beckham added.

The Return of Traditional Country Music

Beckham’s debut is packed with songs that would have felt right at home on country radio in the ’90s and earlier. When asked about where he drew influences for his sound and songwriting he cited Townes Van Zandt, Blaze Foley, George Strait, and George Jones, among others. “When you dig a little deeper into music and see where it comes from, a lot of it comes from these really down-and-out songwriters who are just singing about life. That’s probably what has inspired me the most,” he said.

Beckham on the Inspiration for “23”

23” has been a huge song for Beckham. However, he didn’t expect it to be a hit when he wrote it. “It’s a song that I wrote when I was about to turn 24, the tail end of 23. I was kind of just recollection some of the stuff that I did and situations that I got in. It was more like a journal entry for me,” he recalled.

“I wrote it just to let off some steam and make myself feel better. So, it wasn’t like a long elaborate drawn-out process. I think that was probably the magic for me, just letting off whatever I needed to get off my chest and dinging about how I felt,” he added. “It’s just a story about my life and how I got to the point I was right before I auditioned for American Idol. I don’t think you ever anticipate it being a huge song or a hit. It just made me feel good at the time and that’s why I did it.”

Chayce Beckham Doesn’t Have a Favorite Song on Bad for Me

When asked which song on Bad for Me was his favorite, Chayce Beckham couldn’t pick one. “I love every track on the album,” he said. “When I walked away from it, I was just glad that I didn’t have one that I thought was much better than all the rest. I thought that each song individually held its own. That was important to me just that every song was one that I enjoyed. So, when I listen to the record, I don’t want to skip anything because I enjoy every aspect of every song,” he added. “When I accomplished that, I knew that it was time to walk away from it and wrap it up. I’m just really proud of this batch that we got. It’s awesome to see all the days we put into it coming out on a record.”

Beckham went on to say that he has one goal with his debut album. “Hopefully somebody who needs to hear one of these songs gets to hear it. If it just gets to one person who needs to hear one of these songs to feel better or get them through whatever they’re going through, that’s always been my mission and my end goal with music,” he revealed. “It’s helped me out so much and made me feel so much better when I was having a hard time. I just hope that it can get out to the people who need it and it can change people’s lives like it changed mine. That’s all I can ask for.”

Featured Image by Omar Vega/FilmMagic

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