It’s been more than eight years since Chuck Wicks hit the top 10 with his swoon-worthy ballad “Stealing Cinderella,” and these days you’re more likely to hear him talking rather than crooning on country radio. But now Wicks, who co-hosts the syndicated America’s Morning Show, says he’s ready to return to the airwaves as a singer.
“This has been a long time coming,” Wicks, 36, tells PEOPLE of releasing Turning Point, his first full-length album of new music since his 2008 debut Starting Now. “It’s a new beginning and I’m champing at the bit to get this record out.”
The singer rode a wave of fame after his debut, appearing on Dancing with the Stars with then-girlfriend Julianne Hough, but lost his record deal with RCA in 2011. Now with independent label Blaster Records, Wicks says he’s both older and wiser as an artist.
“When I made my first record, I had no idea what I was doing. I was just happy to have a record deal and that people were hearing songs on the radio,” he says. “Now I’m not green anymore. I know exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it.”
Turning Point, out Feb. 26, is “probably the most progressive thing I’ve ever released,” Wicks says. “This is the music that I believe I was meant to make.”
“Always,” the new track Wicks shares exclusively with PEOPLE in honor of Valentine’s Day, is also one of the most personal he’s released, he says: “I’m very much in love myself and the song is all around that.”