Alyssa Raghu may not have walked away as the winner of American Idol Season 17, but she surely has been a winner since her run into the Top 10. Raghu, who previously auditioned on Season 16 before being cut in the Top 24, proved that she belonged on the show after taking the judges' initial critiques of her stage presence and becoming one of the more comfortable performers of the season.
Since her season, Raghu has been busier than ever with producing music and traveling the country for various events. She has performed the national anthem in Washington D.C. at the 2019 Memorial Day Concert that aired on PBS, and more recently did the same before an Orlando Magic game. Moreover, the Orlando native has been enjoying the success of her most recent single, "New and Improved," which dropped on Jan. 2.
"The support for the new single has been overwhelming," Raghu exclusively told PopCulture.com. "I love releasing music that means something to me. Every single time I release a new song it’s definitely for a heartfelt reason."
She noted that she is currently filming a video for the single, and is expecting fans to really enjoy what she has come up with. In regards to the meaning behind the song, Raghu said it's about how she felt in high school and how she "always kind of felt out place." The lyrics share a message of someone who feels that they're never good enough to get the guy.
Raghu is hoping to continue to build off of "New and Improved," sharing with PopCulture.com that she has some more singles in the work. When they will come out remains a mystery, but Raghu is eager to get them out to her fans. She's hoping that these new songs, which all are being composed with different producers, will pave the way for her debut album.
"I'm super excited because all of them are going to be different," she explained. "Every single is different than the last in terms of genre, beat and vibe."
While music remains her biggest mark, Raghu continues to keep an eye on Hollywood. She's hoping that through her music, she can begin to dive into a more permanent acting role. Raghu revealed that she has done some work with HBO in recording a short-film and hopes to snag some auditions down the road, perhaps with the ever-growing Disney+ catalog.
"All of these things would not have happened if not for Idol and showcasing and being able to get my head above the water," Raghu admitted.
From here, Raghu, who said she "doesn't classify myself as a singer," but rather a singer/actress now, remains optimistic that someday she will be able to go on tour and play at her dream venue, Madison Square Garden.
At the pace, she's been moving at ever since debuting on American Idol, the sky certainly appears to be the limit for Raghu.
Catch the new season of American Idol as hopefuls from across the country attempt to jumpstart their music careers. New episodes premiere on ABC on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.