Lee DeWyze says his new album took a lot of "blood, sweat and tears" to make but that the sacrifice was all worth it; he's never had more of a connection to his music than he does now.
That's no surprise consideringwrote or co-wrote each of the album's 13 tracks and performed a lot of the instruments, too, including guitar, piano, mandolin, banjo and drums.
"They're all written by Lee DeWyze, which is a huge accomplishment for me," the 27-year-old Chicago native said during a visit to CBSNews.com, adding, "I was able to write all the songs the way I wanted to, produce them the way I wanted to, get my lyrics out there...every single song is from a very personal place. So, to have the opportunity to write my own album is amazing and something I haven't really experienced to this magnitude."
DeWyze gave viewers a taste of what they would hear on "Frames" when he performed his new single, "Silver Lining," on "American Idol" in May. And he plans to continue introducing his fans to his album -- now out on Vanguard Records -- while on tour this year.
"You definitely get the record. I really wanted people to be able to see how it translates," said DeWyze, who noted he's on tour with some of the musicians who played in the studio for the recording of "Frames." "It's [the live show] definitely upbeat and fun. It has its cool moments where it breaks down a bit, too."
Being on the road also means DeWyze will be away fromand their Golden Retriever, Bear. But DeWyze says they still make time to see each other even when he's on tour, or while she's working on a project.
"I'm definitely married to my best friend," said DeWyze, who described his wife as "the best." "She's the support system in my life and the reason I'm still sane. Through everything -- not just our life together -- but her career and my career...we're both in the industry so we both know how it is. We're definitely not the typical entertainment couple. We spend a good amount of time together. We're very close. We just celebrated 1-year [anniversary]."
For DeWyze, the last few years have been a whirlwind -- he can't believe it's been three years since "American Idol" crowned him the winner.
"After 'Idol,' you're given opportunities and I'm really grateful for it," said DeWyze, who now lives in Los Angeles.
And if he hadn't won "Idol"?
"I would have gone right back to what I was doing," said DeWyze, who had been releasing music prior to auditioning for the show. "I was playing music and working hard. I've always worked really hard for my music and it's a part of me. It's a part of who I am -- even I wanted to not it, I couldn't."
For more on DeWyze's new album, along with who he thinks should be on the "Idol" judges' panel, check out our sit-down video interview above.