Chayce Beckham

Chayce Beckham


“American Idol” season 19 winner Chayce Beckham performing in November 2023

Nearly three years after Chayce Beckham first performed his original song “23” on national TV, enchanting “American Idol” viewers on his way to winning season 19 of the show, the song has become his first number one hit on country radio, topping the Billboard Country Airplay Chart that will be released on April 6, 2024 — one day after the release of his debut album, “Bad For Me.”

According to Billboard, Beckham joins only three other “Idol” winners whose songs have landed at that coveted spot on the Country Airplay chart, which specifically measures how much songs are played on the radio: original winner Kelly Clarkson, season 4’s Carrie Underwood and season 10’s Scotty McCreery. In addition, Billboard reported that Beckham is only the sixth person in history to top the chart with a song written by one person — himself.

Though it spent 60 weeks slowly gaining traction on radio stations, “23” — a song that Beckham wrote before his “Idol” journey began about his struggles with alcohol — has struck a chord with fans and racked up multiple honors on its way to the top. Looking back, Beckham has said he never could have done it without “Idol.”

Chayce Beckham’s ’23’ Took a Long & Winding Road to the Top of Country Airplay Chart

Beckham, a former forklift driver, wrote “23” in 2020, as he was emerging from a dark time in his life, he told American Songwriter. After playing in a Southern California bar band and developing a dependency on alcohol and marijuana, he told the outlet, he auditioned for “American Idol” — thanks to some prodding from his mom, who thought he needed a fresh start and a confidence boost.

“Going through the experience of being judged by a panel of superstars—Luke Bryan, Katy Perry, and Lionel Richie—was extremely humbling,” he told American Songwriter after winning the show. “I’m surprised I made it through in the shape that I was in.”

When the judges asked Beckham to play an original tune one week, he pulled out “23” and blew them — and the audience at home — away with the country tune. Once he won the competition in and scored a record contract with 19 Recordings/BBR/BMG, the label released “23” as Beckham’s first single.

When Beckham returned to perform on “Idol” in May 2023, Bryan and host Ryan Seacrest surprised him onstage, according to his record label, with his first-ever gold and platinum certified plaques, which reflect a song’s sales and streams as measured by the Recording Industry Association of America. 

But the song’s success didn’t end there. In January 2024, “23” made its debut at number 71 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, which combines radio airplay and streams. That made Beckham the 14th “American Idol” winner to land on that chart, Billboard said.

In addition to its success on the charts, “23” has also earned Beckham his first CMT Music Awards nomination for Breakthrough Male Video of the Year. He spent the summer of 2023 on tour with Bryan and will return to open for him in 2024, as well as headlining his own concert tour.

Chayce Beckham Credits ‘American Idol’ With Helping Him Get His Life Back on Track

As Beckham’s life was spinning out of control in the weeks before his “American Idol” audition, he was in a near-fatal car crash, he told American Songwriter. The accident inspired him to make some changes in his life and, looking back, he thinks earning the golden ticket on “Idol” helped him stay on the straight and narrow.

“On the show, I learned how to be myself without all those substances,” he told the outlet. “I learned how to address my nerves without those things, and found the same person I was without those crutches or vices by confronting all of those things head-on. So it was a beautiful experience to build myself back up on the show to where I started, and not let those things defeat me.”

On March 25, Beckham told San Diego radio hosts John & Tammy from Audacy’s 103.7 KSON that connecting with other musicians on the show also gave him hope for the first time in a long time.

“For me, I was in a very bad part of my life, and I [brought] myself out of [it] by going on that show,” he told John & Tammy. “In a time when I felt really alone I got to connect with a lot of other incredible musicians who I still call my friends today. It was a great experience…I didn’t have many other options other than to take this shot in the dark and see if I could make something work.”

Beckham also told the KSON hosts that it’s been such a whirlwind since his “Idol” win, including touring with Bryan, that he’s only recently had a chance to reflect on all that’s happened.

“I just never had time to sit and think about it,” he told them. “These past couple of months, I’ve processed the whole journey and how crazy it’s been, from driving a forklift in Riverside every day to touring the world. We always go back and listen to the old music I used to write and watch old videos. It’s really cool to see how far we’ve come.”

“23” will be included on Beckham’s debut album, to be released on April 5. He’ll kick off his first headlining tour on the same day in Oklahoma, and will join Bryan on tour again this summer.

Liv Lane is an entertainment writer who covers the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, American Idol and The Voice for Heavy. She has three decades of experience as a local and national radio host, columnist and publicist, interviewing and working with a wide range of celebrities over the years, from Deepak Chopra to Lil Nas X. Liv is also an accomplished watercolor artist whose intuitive art is sold across the U.S. and Canada. Liv attended the University of Minnesota and is based in Minneapolis. More about Liv Lane

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