After 'American Idol' season six finalist Chris Sligh was voted off the show in March 2007, he headed for Nashville. And when the curly-haired, bespectacled singer-songwriter is in Music City, you can often find him hanging with other ex-Idols like Phil Stacey and Bo Bice, who've also made Nashville their home. But mostly, Sligh keeps himself busy touring, and writing and recording music for the contemporary Christian market. He's even up for a Dove Award this week, nominated as Best New Artist.

But Sligh has also, somewhat unexpectedly, found a measure of success in country music, thanks to Rascal Flatts. The group's latest single, 'Here Comes Goodbye,' which Sligh wrote with his friend Clint Lagerberg, just reached No. 1. It's also featured on the trio's chart-topping 'Unstoppable' album. Sligh is still finding himself trying to determine the significance of it all.

"I don't think I realize yet how big this is," the 31-year-old tells PEOPLE magazine. "I have people telling me how much money I'm gonna make and how it's going to open up career possibilities, but I'm just sitting here trying to figure out what all this means."

Although his critically-lauded debut album, 'Run to You,' landed in the Top 10 on the Christian music charts, Sligh, who considers himself a follower of Christ, says he doesn't want to be pigeonholed as a Christian artist.

"We're trying to make a record that transcends the genre of Christian music and one that could stand up to U2 or Coldplay or something like that," he says. "I think it could blow a lot of people away."

Sligh also says that although his unconventional looks might keep him from becoming a rock star, that's OK.

"My shtick is not the rock star thing so songwriting is definitely where my skills will end up."