- Lauren Moraski | CBS News

(CBS NEWS) – Santa Cruz-born James Durbin spent a good part of the last couple of years working on material for his sophomore album, but he took a different approach this time.

The “American Idol” alum ended up co-writing 10 or the 11 songs on “Celebrate,” which is due out April 8. That wasn’t the case with his debut, which found him mostly doing songs by other writers.


For the upcoming set, Durbin composed some 60 tracks and teamed up with several writers and producers to hammer out material before recording the album in Los Angeles.

“We’d sit down for an hour or so and just get to know each other and talk about our interests and what we like to write about,” Durbin told CBS News. “We’ll just try to dig each other up a little bit and find things that have happened in our past and stuff that we’ve never written about. So it was really fun.”

In January, the 25-year-old singer gave fans a taste of what’s to come with the release of lead single “Parachute.” The pop-rock track was the 10th song Durbin came up with for the album, and as soon as they finished it in the studio, Durbin knew it would be the single.

“Celebrate” comes on the heels of “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster,” Durbin’s post-“Idol” debut album. It’s been three years since Durbin was a contestant on “Idol,” and in some ways it feels like yesterday.

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“The day that I flew down for Hollywood week was my 22nd birthday,” Durbin recalled. “Had it not been for ‘Idol’ and going through media training and learning how to talk to someone and how to hold a conversation and an interview…You learn as you go. I remember Day 1 — I had interviews for four hours…It was the top 24 ‘Idol’ party…Then they take you to the blue carpet. Everyone was already done, and I was still doing interviews.”

Now a pro at interviews, Durbin can easily chat for a long time with ease. We know because his interview with us was a breeze (check out the video above). And he’s got the talent to back it up. He’ll be road-testing the new material on tour this year. But before that — he’s scheduled to perform on “Conan” Monday, March 3.

“I still have a whole to learn,” he said. But this rocker is enjoying every minute of it.

Watch James Durbin perform at CBSNews.com

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