Wheaton College grad Nick Fradiani took home the gold when he won "American Idol" in 2015.
Now the 30-year-old singer and songwriter is looking forward to some home cooking when he returns for a rare concert in his native New England on Friday night, March 31, at the The Center for Arts in Natick.
"It's exciting," the Connecticut resident said in a recent phone interview. "I've already heard from some of the people I went to school with who are planning to come and hang."
Fradiani, who had been playing in bands since age 17, burst on the national scene following his appearance on "Idol." He released his first album last August and scored a top-40 single. He's currently in the process of writing and recording new material as a preliminary to either a new album or release of a series of singles.
Fradiani, who writes his own material, says he enjoys the process of creating and recording new music in the studio. But that's hardly the pinnacle for the veteran musician who loves being in front of an audience.
"The whole goal for me is to bring it to people and perform it live," he said.
The New Haven native, who prior to "Idol" performed with his band on "America's Got Talent," said the process of competing and winning on the popular Fox television series is "still a little surreal to me."
"When you're in the middle of it, you're in a bubble," Fradiani said. "It's like a blur."
While he hasn't experienced the same level of celebrity enjoyed by some earlier "Idol" winners, Fradiani says it's still a pleasure to be recognized by people in a strange town. He particularly enjoys the widespread support of people in his home state.
"I've often said it would be great if we could duplicate Connecticut audiences in every state," he said.
Fradiani's working on his latest project in a studio in Connecticut and says he's changed his approach to creating music.
"I'm not thinking as much about what I think will play on radio as I am about what feels organic," he said. "My hope is that if I make music that pleases me, it will please the audience, too."
That's the kind of authenticity that appealed to "Idol" audiences, and Fradiani hopes it will come through on the concert circuit as well.
Nick Fradiani will perform at 8 p.m. Friday, March 31, at The Center for Arts, 14 Summer St., Natick. Tickets are $35. (www.natickarts.org, 508-647-0097)