Saturday, October 13, 2012

Interview: Scotty McCreery talks Christmas, Elvis and his next album

By Melinda Newman


When Scotty McCreery entered a Nashville studio to record his first holiday set, “Christmas With Scotty McCreery,” any dreams of a white Christmas were solely in his head.

“We recorded it in a heat wave,” says McCreery, who tweeted a photo of himself this summer in the studio with a furry Santa Claus hat perched on his head. “It was 105 in Nashville. I was singing the songs in shorts and flip-flops.” But he and his crew tried to create a festive mood. “We had a Christmas tree in the studio, Christmas lights on the mike stand. My tour manager brought in Christmas cookies and cupcakes.”

For the Oct. 16 release, which includes traditional holiday standards as well as two originals, the 2011 “American Idol” champ “knew we had to get creative” on these oft-recorded songs. “The main thing we talked about together with the band was we wanted to be different, not just to be different, but to be creative and different in a good way. Put a stamp on these songs.” 

The biggest surprise to his casual fans may be the way he channels Elvis Presley on his version of “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.” He brings a Presley-like swagger to “Jingle Bells,” but he reserves his full lip-quivering, hip-shaking imitation for “Santa Claus,” even throwing in a bit of Presley’s classic cover of “C.C. Rider” in for good measure.

“I was an Elvis freak. That’s all I listened to growing up,” he says. I wasn’t listening to the Backstreet Boys,” he says. “It just got ingrained in me to where it would come out in my songs.” 

The track wasn’t originally intended for the album.  “We did that in one take. The drummer [plays] in a huge Elvis production that tours across the country,” McCreery recalls. “He broke into ‘C.C. Rider.’ It wasn’t planned at all. We thought we’d cut it and not put it on the album. We were high-fiving and laughing and we decided to put it on the album.”

When told that the sultry take may make his fans see a new, sexy side of him, the 19-year old reverts back to his shy self and just replied. “Dadgum.” 

McCreery has been singing another of the album’s tracks, “O Holy Night,” since he was in elementary school. “I was singing it much higher then,” he laughs. “It really was difficult. As a kid, I didn’t know anything about the technical side. It was for the children’s choir.” 

He included the song as a nod to his grandmother and to his first public performance of the song when he was in 4th or 5th grade. “My grandma is tough to impress. I’d sing at a competition and she’d tell me ‘ That wasn’t so good.’ When I got done, my grandma said, ‘That was beautiful.’ My mom was videotaping, so she was concentrating on that. Coming from my grandma, that meant a lot. We were thinking about her when we recorded it and the memories that we had that night.” 

The album’s two originals struck the right chord with McCreery the first time he heard them. One of them seemed destined to end up in his hands. 

“The week before ‘Christmas In Heaven’ got sent to me,  I was writing a song called ‘Christmas In Heaven’ about my grandfather. He passed away a few years ago. It had some of the same lyrical ideas. It wasn’t a week later that my choir director was at a conference and told some folks who she is and that she knew me. They said, ‘I have the perfect song.’ It gave me chills. It was a God thing. No question is was going on the album.” 

The second original tune, “Christmas Is Coming Around Again” deals with a couple with children going through a divorce, who reunite after the Christmas spirit hits them. “That’s about the message,” McCreery says. “There might be a family out there hurting and maybe this can help them.” 

McCreery is already collecting tunes for his next studio album, which he hopes to release in Spring 2013. He’s writing for the album with two top Nashville songwriters, Ashley Gorley and Kelley Lovelace. “My songwriting craft isn’t perfect yet,” he says. “Hopefully it can get there.”

In the meantime, he is half-way done with his first semester at North Carolina State University in Raleigh,  just down the road from his hometown of Garner.  He takes classes a few days a week and then is out on the road opening for Brad Paisley on the weekends. 

College has been a blast so far, he says. “I’ve loving every second of it. As far as people freaking out”  when they see him, he notes, “it hasn’t been that way at all. Maybe they’d want a handshake or a ‘hey.’ I wore my cap pulled down the first couple of days, but after a few days, I didn’t even worry about the hat and sunglasses any more.”


http://www.hitfix.com/news/interview-scotty-mccreery-talks-christmas-elvis-and-his-next-album

20 comments:

  1. OH my Gosh beautiful article I cannot wait for next week to get here. I have ordered 3 of them so far but I'm thinking about getting 2 more for gifts. ILYTB Scotty and this article says it all about you just loving the people around you in these songs. You are definitely one in a million and noone I mean know one can be Scotty because you are you and that's what we love about you, like you said on idol I haven't changed and i'm going to stay who I am and we love you for that.Your song Back on the ground well it sounds so much like you. Your going to the moon and back,Scotty , just wait and see. ILYTB

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  2. Excellent interview! Scotty does so well just being himself.
    After all, that's all we can do, "be ourselves", 'cause
    everyone else is taken!

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  3. Really Nice interview .love you Scotty.

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  4. I got my CD yesterday have already listened to it 4 times - I love all the songs but for the two new ones, I like Christmas is Coming Around Again better. He puts a wonderful country twist on the old standards. We all heard Holly Jolly last year but this arrangmenet is a little different. The whole CD is just outstanding.

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    1. How in the world did you get yours early? Was it from Walmart, or Scotty's site?

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    2. Scotty's fan site - I got one signed and one not.

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  5. I have only heard the snippets and from what I heard I loved the whole album and being Christmas is Coming Around Again my absolut favorite too. I so want this album and getting restless and I´m ounting days and hours now

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  6. Sigh, I just love Scotty!! Can't wait to get his Christmas CD!! Only a couple more days to wait!

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  7. 'Christmas is Comin Around Again' must have a lot more to it than the snippet suggests as two here who received their album are lovin it!

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    1. which clearly would depend on who is listening. To me the snippet of 'Christmas is Comin Around Again' took my breath away

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    2. It did for me too - this is the first song I listened too - then started at the top

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  8. AWESOME interview it is so Scotty I am always lost for words when it comes to Scotty such amazing young man.

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  9. As exciting as the album is what I can't wait for it to see the sales stats as they come in....Guess we'll all be hot on Hits Daily Double again to ck out BB.

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  10. ANOTHER AWESOME INTERVIEW WITH SCOTTY. I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO SCOTTY'S CHRISTMAS CD. I HEARD FROM WALMART WHEN MY CD'S ARE BEING SHIPPED, BUT I LOOKED FOR THE CD RECEIPT FROM SCOTTY'S FAN CLUB AND IT SAYS N/A FOR BEING SHIPPED. I HOPE THERE IS NOTHING WRONG THAT I CAN'T GET I WILL BE MAD.

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    1. I'm Worried Too! I guess we just need to be patient!

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  11. I got my CDs today and this is absolutely soooo great to listen to. Scotty's voice and his rendition is much much better than Buble. Beautiful, beautiful and inspiring. Christmas with Scotty album will put you in the mood for feeling of Christmas and forgets your trouble away.OMG it is abolutely wonderful. Thank you Scotty for inspiring me.

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  12. Totally special interview!! Thats why we all love you so. because you are you.and that you haven't change. you have inspire all of us. Cause that's why I love you so much and the person you are. I can't wait to get to walmart to get your Christmas cd.
    I'm looking forward to It. with your voice It is going to be incredible. Love you so dadgum much!!:)

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  13. Since CWSM has been announced I keep dreaming some future vision with Christmas In Heaven becoming as huge hit in the US and then worldwide and going classic.

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  14. Hi ya'll,
    UPS delivered my signed Christmas with Scotty McCreery cd about 1 1/2 hours ago and I can't stop listening to it. I love, love, love every song!! I love the new songs and the twists he puts on old classics. Scotty always puts the biggest smile on my face. My husband, son, and I have already danced to all the songs and my son has played the sax to many of the songs.
    Lots and lots of fun thanks to Scotty!! We adore him to pieces and can't wait to see him at The Beacon and Springfield MA Christmas concerts.
    I am going to buy many cds tomorrow at Walmart for friends and family.
    BigCTFan

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  15. Scotty fans here in Philippines: Have you gotten a copy of his CWSM, yet? Anyone lives in zambales? Know where I can get hold of his CD around here w/out going to Manila? Thanks.

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