Unless you live in a cave (and perhaps even then), you’ve probably heard of Nick Fradiani. There’s talk that the American Idol finalist from Guilford, Connecticut has a good shot at winning it all. The record deal. The tour. Adulation. Super stardom.
His Mom thinks that’s all fine, of course, as long as he eats his vegetables.
Most people have no frame of reference for their son becoming a star. But Nick’s Mom, Liz Fradiani, is taking it all in stride. She’s been flying out to the coast to support her her now-famous boy, reminding him to smell the roses along the way.
The Fradiani family flies out on Tuesdays for some family time, before the American Idol performance. “We usually walk over to the hotel, hang out, have dinner,” Liz says. “It doesn’t get very deep, but I always say my Mom Words. It’s just simple advice, like reminding him to take care of himself. Other times I tell him, ‘everything is moving so fast, Nick. Remember to enjoy the moment.’ As tough as it is, as intense as it gets, just breathe and take it all in. Enjoy what’s happening to you.”
Nick’s younger sister, Kristen, has been there all along too. She’s her big brother’s biggest fan, and most tireless vote getter. That is, when she’s not at college classes.
Anyone who’s been watching the drama unfold on social media has seen Kristen pictured alongside Nick – and more than a few pop icons. Asked if she’s feeling at all protective of Nick these days, Kristen says, “I am, but he’s really smart. He’s a good judge of people. Actually, I think he’s more protective of me.”
Big brothers are like that – even famous ones.
“Nick is so grounded, and he’s been part of the music scene for a while now,” Liz says. “He’s always made good decisions. I can honestly say that I don’t have those kinds of concerns about him. I don’t see my son changing in that respect.”
She knows a thing or two about the music biz. Liz married a working musician – shoreline musical favorite, Nick Fradiani Sr. It’s a funny story. “My sister actually met my husband first, and told me about this really good band that was playing,” Liz says. “I went to see this band, and met my husband.”
The key to a musical marriage, she says, is being independent. “People will say how hard that life is [on a wife and mother]. But when he had to travel, I had my own career. I was secure. We had fun together. He’s a really good guy. So, that was that.”
And this is now. Liz retired from the New Haven School district last June, where she had been a special education teacher. Next thing she knew, her son was on America’s Got Talent, then American Idol. Teaching full-time would have been hard to juggle. “It worked out well,” she says. “I don’t think I could have done all this in my old job.” Even so, Liz still finds time to be a literacy tutor in New Haven.
Nick being on American Idol is one thing. But they really understood how major things have gotten when the town of Guilford held “Nick Fradiani Day” on May 1 (see video featured with this story). The entire town basically shut down to throw a gigantic party in Nick’s honor. The humble shoreline family was thunderstruck.
“That was absolutely unbelievable,” says Kristen. “I was in the convertible with Nick at the front of the parade. He turned to me at one point and said ‘Oh my God. The streets are packed.’ Then his buddy said, “Dude, you haven’t even been to the Green yet. It’s completely mobbed.’ Nick was shocked at the turnout.”
Ever the Mom, Liz was watching her son’s reactions closely that day.
“There were two points when I knew that Nick was overwhelmed,” she says. “The first was when we walked into the high school gym. He played basketball there. It just erupted with kids chanting his name. He looked over at us and I could see he was overwhelmed. The second time was during the parade. What the town of Guilford did was incredible.”
While “Nick Fradiani Day” was joyous, will they be glad when – win or lose – American Idol is over? “We’re enjoying the experience,” says Liz, “but it’ll be nice to get back to our normal life. Whatever the outcome, we’ll be glad when Nick moves on to the next phase of his life. Things will go well for him no matter what.”
Image Credits: Abigail Scott