American Idol winner Scotty McCreery heads to Bay City for the Labadie Pig Gig
Published: Monday, July 30, 2012, 7:15 AM
Winning the title on May 25, he was in the studio recording his first album May 26. Released in October of 2011, the album, “Clear as Day,” has been certified platinum, selling more than 3 million copies.
“I'm still trying to catch up with everything,” he said. “It's been a crazy year, well, two years since I tried out (for Idol). It's been a wild ride ever since. I've been on tour with Brad Paisley, I had the chance to sing at the World Series. It's a dream a lot of little kids have, and it never comes true.”
When he hits the stage of the Labadie Pig Gig on Saturday, Aug. 4, McCreery will be singing all those songs and a few others.
“When you're a new guy like me and have one album, you don't have a lot to choose from,” he laughs. “I'm also going to do a little George Strait, Elvis and some Garth Brooks. It's going to be a fun-packed show. We're going to enjoy it, and I'm hoping the audience will, too.”
In addition to touring, McCreery is back in the studio working on a new release that may contain tunes he's written.
“I'm starting to write more,” he said. “That first album, there wasn't much time for me to write. Guys are sending me songs that are off the charts, a lot of good material. If I write a song I love, but a better song comes along, I'm going to record the best song.”
Although fast becoming a star, the teenager credits his small-town upbringing to keeping him grounded.
“I try to do my schedule so I'm out for a week or two,” he said. “I like to keep one foot back in my home life. It keeps me grounded, humbled and keeps me fairly normal. I'm your average teenager.”
When McCreery hit the screen on American Idol, he had the entire town of Garner behind him.
Bay City native Kurtis Pake, who now makes his home in Raleigh, N.C., and was McCreery's varsity pitching coach, says about 1,500 people gathered each evening at the high school to cheer McCreery on.
“Garner is a very small, tight-knit community,” he said. “There is only one high school. A lot of students and parents came out to see one of their own. It was a good community family event.”
On the final evening, Pake said, the event had to move to a bigger venue to accommodate everyone. Taking over PNC Arena, thousands of people showed up for the big night.
“When he won, the place erupted like the Stanley Cup finals,” he said. “It was incredibly loud in there.”
While it seems things happened overnight for the young singer, McCreery's rise to stardom started at his 1-year-old check up.
“My mom hummed me a nursery rhyme, and I hummed it back to the doctor,” he laughs. “It's something in my blood. I grew up singing in church. I worked my way up to the youth worship band.” He also sang in choirs at Garner Magnet High School in North Carolina, becoming part of Die Meistersingers, a group that performs across the United States.
Branching out, McCreery won the Clayton Idol contest at the Clayton Harvest Festival before trying out for American Idol in Milwaukee. Now in the thick of his dream, McCreery is in it for the long haul.
“I'm hoping I can do this for the rest of my life,” he said. “I'm passionate about it. It's not one of those things I want to do for five years and go do something else. I want to put my stamp on country music. I'm up for the challenge. It's all about the songs. We have to have those good tunes people will enjoy.”
Enjoyment is what McCreery is bringing to Pig Gig.
“I just want to say thanks to the fans for supporting me and being with me this last year,” he said, “it means the world to me. Get ready for a fun show. It's going to be a blast — good country music and a little rock and roll.”
And, if the singing career doesn't work out, there is always baseball, McCreery's second love.
“He's got a great curve ball and mixes in a good little fast ball,” says Pake. “He finished the year with below a 1.00 ERA. That's really good.”
If you go
Who: Scotty McCreery
What: Labadie Pig Gig
When: 8:15 p.m. Aug. 4
Where: Veterans Memorial Park
Tickets: $25 general admission, $49 platinum ticket, includes festival admission
Info: 989-684-0254, Labadie Pig Gig