Scotty McCreery will get to the music as soon as he finishes his homework.
Since winning the 10th season of "American Idol" in 2011, the North Carolina native has released a trio of gold-selling singles: "I Love You This Big," "The Trouble with Girls" and "See You Tonight." But after graduating from high school in 2012, he has gone on to North Carolina State University in Raleigh and is attempting to balance his career as a budding country star with his major in media communications.

"It's definitely a juggling act," McCreery said during a recent phone interview -- after he finished classes for the day. "With college and touring, it's started to kick my butt a little bit. I'm studying part time and online and I have to make sure my priorities are in line. So instead of watching SportsCenter, I hit the books."

Now 20, McCreery is out promoting his second album "See You Tonight" -- his third if you count 2012's "Christmas with Scotty McCreery" -- and plays Mystic Lake Casino Friday night.
Here's what else he had to say about concerts and classes.

On choosing to major in communications:
"It fits in with what I'm doing now. I figure I'm getting a musical education already from being on the road, I might as well try to figure out the other side."
On what it's like to be the most famous kid on campus:
"When I'm in class, I'm just another student. Professors have brought me up as an example, but in other classes, not my own. People treat me like a normal student, which is what I want. I always try to sit in the back of the room and not draw attention to myself. I don't want to cause a distraction."
On learning about the media when he's been a celebrity for years:
"Some of the time I hear something in class and the other kids are writing down notes. But I'm, like, I already knew that, because it's already been part of my experience. I've been there, I've already heard about that."
On co-writing five songs on his new album:
"I've always liked writing songs. Back in the day, I used to write breakup songs. We put out that first record in three months, but for this one, we had a year and a half. I really got to dig into the process, which was something I enjoyed."
On what it felt like when one of those songs, "See You Tonight," became his first Top 10 radio hit:
"It was pretty awesome. It's definitely a great feeling to listen to a song you wrote getting played on the radio. It's the biggest single I've ever had, which is a really nice perk."
On what he learned from opening for Brad Paisley in 2012:
"He taught me how to treat folks and how to put on a first-class tour. I would put on a hat and hoodie and go watch him every night in the stands with the fans. He treats everyone who works for him with respect, and he also has fun, too. After the show, he will do stuff like renting out a go-kart track for the crew. He always does things like that, and he makes the whole touring experience great for everyone. Obviously Brad is at a higher level than I am, but we like to joke our show is a mini version of what Brad Paisley is doing."
On interacting with other musical heroes:
"Luckily, I got to meet Garth (Brooks), he was my biggest idol growing up. I'd like to meet Loretta Lynn someday. My biggest goal is to become a member of the Grand Old Opry. To me, that's the ultimate."

Pop music critic Ross Raihala can be reached at 651-228-5553. Follow him at Twitter.com/RossRaihala.
Who: Scotty McCreery
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Mystic Lake Casino, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd., Prior Lake
Tickets: $45-$38
Information: 952-496-6563 or mysticlake.com

http://www.twincities.com/music/ci_25515039/youngest-idol-winner-scott-mccreery-balances-touring-college