Laine Hardy Releases New Music; Kicks Off Virtual Tour: 'It's a Great Way to Connect with Fans'

When it comes to his music, Laine Hardy means business.

In an exclusive interview with PEOPLE, the winner of ABC’s second season of American Idol opened up about his two newly released tracks — and why he decided to kick off a virtual tour.

“The minute I heard ‘Ground I Grew Up On’ and ‘Let There Be Country’ I knew I wanted to record both songs,” Hardy, 19, exclusively told PEOPLE. “The lyrics remind me a lot of what it’s like growing up in Louisiana. Me and my cousin Trent, who’s now my drummer, would run around barefoot all the time, ride our ATVs and go fishing on Lake Maurepas. My favorite place to be is on the bayou. I hope when people hear these songs it reminds them of their childhood too.”

Hardy, who also appeared on the 16th season of American Idol in the spring of 2018, wasn’t planning on auditioning for the show a second time. However, after accompanying a friend to her audition, judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie asked if Hardy would be willing to give it another try.

“He got good,” Perry, 34, said during his unplanned audition. “What’s your problem? Why don’t you want to come back? Take this ticket. You found your confidence!”

Taking that golden ticket to Hollywood turned out to be a huge blessing (and lesson!) to Hardy.

“Just don’t give up,” said Hardy. “I mean, you just can’t give up. You never know what’s going to happen. If I didn’t take that golden ticket I wouldn’t be here right now.”

Hardy’s “Ground I Grew Up On” virtual tour will hit over 15 online stops in April and May. He will be back out on the road in 2020, including shows with Toby Keith.

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