When “American Idol” country crooner Colin Stough, who landed in third place on the recent Season 21 finale, visited New York City for the first time this week, the 18-year-old made sure to take his sense of humor along for the ride. Stough hails from a town of 79 residents — Gattman, Mississippi — so spending a couple of days among New York City’s 8.3 million people was a big change for the small-town teen.
Stough hit the Big Apple to perform his new single, “I Still Talk to Jesus,” on the national morning show “Live With Kelly and Mark” on May 30, 2023. Viewers voted for him, out of a group of several other “Idol” contestants, to get to give an encore performance on the talk show.
When hosts Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos asked him how he was liking New York, Stough laughed, “Well, there’s one caution light in Gattman and there’s — I don’t know, it’s everything here. Man, it’s crazy. It’s definitely a big change!”
The team that accompanied him on the trip — including “Idol” Associate Music Director Phredley Brown, who played backup guitar during his “Live” performance, and record label executive Elissa Felman — captured photos and video of Stough hamming it up in the big city.
Colin Stough Shares Big City Adventures on Instagram
Stough shared a behind-the-scenes look at his adventures in New York with two Instagram posts on May 31, both of which featured a carousel of fun and amusing photos and videos from his trip.
The first post began with a photo of him standing at the airport looking very serious next to his acoustic guitar case. He captioned it, “Turns out the big Apple ain’t so bad.” He also included a photo of him literally holding an apple outside what appeared to be his dressing room.
Stough also shared a video of him and Brown jamming on their guitars in a hotel room, and another of him casually playing his guitar and singing as he stepped off an elevator and walked down the hallways of an office building, past cubicles and office doors as he rocked out.
Felman had shared that video to her Instagram Stories the day before, writing, “This one knows the way to my heart — hallway serenades with my favorite songs from back in the day.”
In a second set of photos and videos on Instagram, Stough showed that he’d naturally gravitated to the only horses in the city — the ones pulling tourists in carriages. Stough has a “deep passion for horses,” according to “Idol,” and visiting his favorite animals — Bud and Whiskey — was one of the first things he did during his hometown visit on the show, which he shared on Instagram.
In his second post from New York, Stough also shared a video of him in Central Park climbing down the shore of The Lake to pick up a large turtle. He also hilariously hopped on the bike of a pedicab in his cowboy boots and cowboy hat to give two random tourists a ride.
On their way to Central Park, Felman captured video of Stough crossing a busy intersection while sipping from a single-serve Horizons organic chocolate milk, just as he did in a previous Instagram post while filming “Idol.”
Sauntering across the crosswalk while sipping his milk, he exclaimed with his southern drawl, “Heyyy, I don’t know about New York, but there’s nothing better than choccy milk and coffee, baby!”
But the trip to New York wasn’t all fun and games. Stough also shared several photos from his visit to Apple Music, including a group shot with Felman, Apple’s Head of Artist Marketing Debra Herman, and Brent Battles, owner of artist development company Further, who were all tagged in the photo.
Stough also shared in his Instagram Stories on May 30 that he got to visit the Sam Ash store, which bills itself as the nation’s largest family-owned retailer of instruments and sound systems.
Over a photo from the store, Stough wrote, “Man, thanks for the love today! I was just popping by to check out some guitars and get some guitar parts and I left with a new friend and some amazing new gear. Y’all blow my mind with all this love and support! Thank you so much.”
Colin Stough Heads to Nashville for Songwriting & JellyRoll Concert
Rather than heading straight home to Mississippi, Stough went from New York to Nashville, where he got to reunite with Jelly Roll, who is red-hot right now and appeared on the “Idol” finale.
Stough got to attend the genre-bending artist’s album release party at the famed Ryman Auditorium and see him backstage, which he shared a video of on Instagram. He also posted a photo of himself with Nashville rapper Struggle Jennings, who was also backstage.
Jelly Roll, whose songs have been streamed a whopping four billion times, commented on Stough’s post, “Love you bubba- so happy for you – glad to be in your corner”
In his Instagram Stories on May 31 and June 1, Stough also posted photos of himself in writing sessions with multiple Nashville songwriters and teased that he has “music comin.'”
Fans have loved all the glimpses of Stough’s big week in New York and Nashville, commenting in droves on his posts.
One person wrote, “What I love about this young man is how we are seeing his journey thru his eyes. He is so true to his roots and that is so refreshing. So glad you had a blast in the big Apple.”
Many shared how funny they thought some of the videos were, like one who wrote, “My favorite is the buggy bike 😁” and another who commented, “bro the chocolate milk 🤣”
“I love how you are laid back and yourself no matter where you are at,” another fan wrote.
Stough’s new single, “I Still Talk to Jesus,” is now available on all streaming platforms.