Trent Harmon was crowned the final winner of "American Idol" in April 2016 when the series ended its 15 year run on Fox. Since then, Harmon's visited every radio station in the country -- twice -- and performed at two of Nashville's most prestigious venues for country music superstars -- the Grand Ol Opry and Ryman Auditorium. His most recent single, "There's A Girl," has also landed him on the top 20 country songs chart.
TooFab caught up with the budding country sensation hours before he took the stage Friday at the Steak 'n Shake Carb Night Burger Bash concert for the Indianapolis 500, where he dished about the "American Idol" revival and shared his thoughts on the recent bombings in Manchester.
"I'm very grateful to be able to play music for a living and pay my cell phone bill doing it," he told TooFab.
"It feels like a lot of hard work came to fruition. A lot of crappy bar gigs came to pass."
How has life changed for you?
"I got a little more say on what gigs I can say yes to and say no to, and I can pay my bills now doing music, which is really the goal of being a musician. I was doing music, but I was doing two or three other jobs also. I was waiting tables and I worked on a farm. I did a lot of stuff. Music was just a small, small portion of it."
Any downsides to having won 'Idol'?
"Um, lack of sleep, I guess. I've been going nonstop for about three years now. I've visited every radio station in the United States twice. I've performed at the Grand Ol Opry. I've performed at the Ryman Auditorium. I have my first top 20 hit on country radio right now. That's a pretty big deal for a first time artist to have a first song go top 20. That's really, really hard to do. They usually make you put several songs out before they start playing your stuff."
You're about to perform at the Indy 500? What's going through your mind?
"Yep, we got about 3 or 4 hours until go time. I love Indy. I'm pretty familiar with the city. Seems like a friendly crowd. They don't seem to have any tomatoes or anything they wanna throw at me."
What are your thoughts on the recent Manchester bombing at the Ariana Grande concert?
"That was just really a shame -- shame with a capital "S." I consider places like theme parks, concert venues, movie theaters... That's where you should go to not have to worry about getting blown up or shot. I actually took my mom to a concert for her birthday the night after Manchester, and it just kept going through my mind, you know? What if a bomb went off in this venue? That's just not something you should think about while you're trying to enjoy some Hall & Oates.
I think the goal is to not let something like this affect you. That was kind of the goal of the terrorist act, was to try to get in the minds of musicians and concertgoers. I think you have to have a heightened awareness of what's going on around you, but you can't let it affect your day to day. If I let them affect my psyche and the way I prepare for a concert, they're in control. And that's what they wanna be -- is in control."
What do you think about the Idol reboot? Do you think it'll be as successful?
"I don't know if it'll be as successful simply because I don't know. I don't know the future, but I think it's pretty cool that I'll get to sing my next single on live, national TV."
What do you think about Katy Perry being the first named judge for the reboot?
"I think it's a good move. There's one rule: You never, ever, ever -- that's three evers -- underestimate the power of network television. If somebody wants to pay you to be on national TV, go ahead, I dare somebody to say no. It's always a good move."
What do you think about Ryan Seacrest doing 'Live with Kelly and Ryan' and 'American Idol'? All that back and forth?
"Ryan Seacrest has been out-working every human being, arguably, on the face of the planet, for about 20 years, so if there's anybody up to the task, I mean, he could probably run for president and tackle all of that all at the same time. I think Ryan will be just fine."
What else do you have coming up?
"Shows! We're gonna be on the road all summer playing shows. I'm finishing my radio tour this summer. For every new artist, you have to go visit radio and do shows for them, and in return, they play your music. So that's what we're doing this summer. Next stop is Council Bluffs, IA."