What’s Next For ‘American Idol’ Runner-Up, Megan Danielle?

The 21-year-old has experienced plenty of firsts in the last few months.


Madeleine O’Connell

| Posted on

August 1, 2023


1:50 pm

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Megan Danielle; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

Megan Danielle wrapped up her season on American Idol not just as a finalist, but as the esteemed runner-up. Although it’s only been a few months since her time on the show, the young artist is making great headway and has already established a solid list of goals for the remainder of the year. 

This 21-year-old didn’t grow up in a household full of singers and musicians, but she discovered from an early age that music was her passion. Since then, she’s made every attempt to further her career by showing the world just how much natural-born talent she has.

Danielle took things up a notch when she auditioned for Season 21 of American Idol. Now that she’s left Hollywood and found her way back home to Georgia, Danielle is using the momentum from the singing competition to propel her dreams to the next level.  

The Christian singer recently caught up with Country Now to share a glimpse into how her life has changed since the show. 

At the beginning of July, she joined fellow Idol alum, Maddie Poppe on the road for her summer headlining run. Since this stint of shows marks Danielle’s first-ever tour, she admitted that there have certainly been a few challenges along the way, but through it all she’s embracing the unique learning opportunity.

It’s been going great. Maddie is amazing. She’s a good person and her band members are really good too. They’re really nice and that’s always great because I feel comfortable,” Danielle shared. 

She went on to admit that the most difficult part of this new adventure has been spending so much time away from her family. 

I’m a big family person and even when I was out for American Idol, I was out a long time and I thought I was gonna go crazy at one point,” she continued. “But no, being on tour is really cool. You get to be in like 17 cities in one day and I’m like, what the heck? It’s cool. It’s been really good.”

While on the road, Danielle has had the chance to showcase her latest single, “Dream Girl,” to a whole new crop of fans. 

“Every time I would sing the song, I’d find like maybe two to three people that are singing it. And I’m like, wow. Even though it’s only two to three people, it’s a start and it’s like, people know my songs. I always get really good feedback when I sing my originals. So it feels good to me because…I’ve just worked so hard for them and it’s pretty cool.”

Co-penned by Season 17 Idol alum Laci Kaye Booth and Logan Wall, the song dropped on May 19, just days before earning one of the highest honors on Idol. Throughout the tune, Megan Danielle delivers a round of encouragement towards going after your dreams despite any obstacles that get in the way. 

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Along with this inspiring tune, she’s also been incorporating a few unreleased originals into her set, including “When I Found You” and “Where I’m Home.” Danielle explained that getting to perform these songs has become one of her favorite moments during her time on stage as it allows the audience to get to know her a bit more through stories from her childhood.  

“They just bring back a time when I was growing up and really just about my parents’ divorce when my dad wasn’t there,” she began. “It not only gives a space for people to relate to, it tells a lot about me that I don’t really know how to explain to people. But in a song, it just comes out so natural and they’re just really special songs. I can’t wait to release them.”

Megan Danielle started to place more focus on writing her own music at 18 years old, after coming off from her time on another singing competition show, The Voice

Megan Danielle; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Megan Danielle; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

“I just think being on The Voice, it made me realize a lot of people write, a lot of people have their own music, and I didn’t at the time and I was like, oh, I really wanna be one of those artists. So yeah, I just kind of started then.”

This spark of inspiration led her to writing solo in her bedroom, but since Idol, she’s been introduced to the world of co-writing. Making the trip back and forth to Nashville to sit down with other songwriters has given her the tools to grow even more in her own skills. 

 “So before Idol, I was sitting right here, literally. I would write and I’d get so discouraged because I didn’t know how to write a song at the time, but after Idol, I’ve been in Nashville co-writing, learning so much. I’m like, thank you, God ’cause I’ve literally prayed to be where I’m at today and I can’t thank him enough.”

As she continues to build her catalog of new music each day, using relatable stories from her upbringing, and her faith as inspiration, Danielle hopes fans will get to hear more from her in the near future.   

 “I think my goal for the end of this year is to just release music and keep writing a lot ’cause it is amazing. I feel like every time I go into a writing session or a writing room it’s like therapy. It’s so cool to just be able to sit there and somebody get all of this out of you. It’s crazy, but yeah, it’s just to release music and keep performing.”

Megan Danielle; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless
Megan Danielle; Photo by ABC/Eric McCandless

Megan Danielle’s season of American Idol may have just wrapped up, but the judges are already gearing up to welcome the next batch of contestants in 2024. As these optimistic singers prepare their auditions, Danielle reflected on her own experience and also shared a bit of advice for those hoping to follow in her footsteps. 

Well, when I was asked to audition, I was very hesitant, but I would say to just do it because you never know what can come out of something like this. And it has been amazing ever since I’ve gotten off the show. Just any advice would be to be confident and to pick songs that you relate to, not songs that are big. Just find something that you can relate to and that you love.”

The rising singer/songwriter is next slated to perform alongside fellow Idol contestant Haven Madison at the upcoming Summer Bash in Tennessee. These female artists will take the stage of Liberty Hall in The Factory at Franklin on August 5. 

Megan Danielle will then continue on the 20-date tour with Maddie Poppe, making stops in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Colorado and more before wrapping up in Tuscon AZ on August 26.

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Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.