American Idol winner Noah Thompson is revisiting the song that was a "big turning point" for him on the ABC singing competition's 2022 season as he embraces finding his musical path post-Idol. Releasing a studio recording of his version of Rihanna's "Stay" Friday, which he performed during the Showstoppers round of Season 20, Thompson opened up to PopCulture.com about what's next in his music career.
"It's been a ride, man," Thompson said of life after taking home the Idol win. "At first, after the show ended, I went back home for a minute and took it all in with my family. We just came back to earth for a second, because it's been a whirlwind of a year. It's been a wild ride. But I'm just making these trips back and forth to Nashville right now, and I'm getting to experience co-writing, all kinds of cool stuff, man."
With shows booked and new music being written, Thompson said it's been vital to staying close to his roots for inspiration and grounding. "I think definitely, for me, I feel like I've got to be in my own element to write a song," he explained. "Being back home with my family is where I feel good. ...Or just with my family in general just is where I feel good."
Recording "Stay" for fans who fell in love with his sound during his unique rendition of Rihanna's smash hit was a whole new experience for Thompson. "When we did the Showstoppers round, I was nervous out of my mind. Oh God, it was horrible," he recalled. "... Idol's fun, don't get me wrong, but you also feel judged when you're performing, you know what I'm saying?"
"I just love the way it turned out and I think everybody else is going to love it also, so I'm really looking forward to putting it out," Thompson continued. "I think everybody's going to love it." Working on new music with producer Jimmy Robbins, Thompson said he's embracing the journey to discover his sound – and if that meant recording something with fellow Idol winner Carrie Underwood or Chris Stapleton down the line, that'd be "cool" with him. "I think I'm still trying to find myself as an artist, you know what I mean?" Thompson told PopCulture. "I'm still trying to find out what kind of sound I want ... I'm figuring that out and I feel like that's fine..." Listen to Thompson's new release of "Stay" here.