Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Scotty McCreery builds momentum for ACM Awards

A year ago, Scotty McCreery’s fame was limited to fans of American Idol. His baritone voice made him a standout contestant, and his love of country music had piqued Music Row’s interest.
McCreery, now 18, won American Idol in May 2011, and he has since stacked up a list of career highlights and sales numbers that well-established artists envy.

His debut album, Clear As Day, sold more than 1 million albums in its first three months, and his first two singles, “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble With Girls,” have each been downloaded for purchase more than 500,000 times.

McCreery won new artist of the year at the American Country Awards in December, joined Brad Paisley’s Virtual Reality Tour in January and now has been nominated for new artist of the year by the Academy of Country Music along with Brantley Gilbert and Hunter Hayes. The fan-voted award will be handed out Sunday during the 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, which air live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas beginning at 7 p.m. on CBS.

McCreery will perform his new single, “Water Tower Town,” on the ACM Awards, as well as on American Idol at 7 p.m. Thursday on FOX.

“It’s a huge deal,” McCreery says of the nomination, seated on his tour bus with his parents, Mike and Judy McCreery, before a Great American Country television taping in February. “It’s been a crazy year for us. There’s been a lot of work put into it. It’s one of those things where you’re recognized for all the hard work you’ve put up, but you’re just going there to have fun. If you get it, cool. If you don’t, you’re still having a good time.”

But even with his success, McCreery says he’s still the same kid he was before American Idol. The Garner, N.C., native attends the same school he did pre-American Idol — something he was warned would be impossible following his success on the popular fan-voted televised talent contest.

“He said he wanted to go back to school, and a lot of people said he couldn’t go back there,” recalls his father, Mike McCreery.

“I just laughed at them,” Scotty McCreery adds.

McCreery describes his first day back at school after winning Idol as “going to kindergarten again.” He got a buzz haircut the night before and wore a T-shirt, shorts and flip-flops the next day in an effort to more easily fit back in with his classmates. His principal instructed him to arrive during second period to avoid the rush of students first thing in the morning, and then made an announcement to the school that McCreery was back on campus and that requests for photos or autographs weren’t allowed.

“He said, ‘Mom, I really want this to work,’ ” Judy McCreery says. “I said, ‘It will be OK, hon.’ I was in the hall and I heard the principal make the announcement, and I thought, ‘That’s what we needed to set the pace.’ ”

McCreery generally attends school Monday-Wednesday and then is on the road touring or working to promote his career Thursday-Sunday. He takes his school work with him when he travels, and then makes up tests and quizzes when he returns. Sometimes that means doing his homework in the airport before he boards a red-eye flight back to North Carolina to make it to school on Monday morning.

“I’m banking on my being young,” he says. “I don’t know if I could be doing those red-eyes a few more years down the road. After being away from friends for so long, and I’m doing incredible stuff, fun things, then when I get back around familiar faces, I think it just energizes me. I have two separate lives.”

On-the-job training
School isn’t the only place he’s getting an education. McCreery says he’s learned countless lessons about how to be a country music entertainer from watching Paisley on stage. After the American Idol finished his opening set each night, he would pull on a ball cap (his mom said he looked like the Unabomber) and sneak out into the audience so he could watch Paisley perform.

“Just having the chance to learn from someone like Brad, it’s mind-blowing what he does as a performer and a songwriter and an artist and guitar player, the way he connects with the crowd every single night,” McCreery says. “I’ve learned how to carry myself on tour. I’ve learned how to not get caught up in a different city every night. I’ve learned how to interact with people and how to be a better performer. Just watching Brad — I’ll never be the guitar player he is — but just watching the artist inside of him, I’ve learned so much just from watching one dude.”

And his education, both on and off the stage, continues.

McCreery’s mother is a teacher, and school is highly valued in the McCreery household. So over the past year while the singer did his psychology homework, studied Paisley’s guitar licks and learned how to work an audience, he also spent time deciding where he wants to go to college. That decision hasn’t been made public, but it’s an experience he’s determined to have.

“2011 was by far the most incredible year of my life, but in 2012 I think we’re going to have a lot more opportunities to get out there and do things,” says McCreery, who is set to continue on the Paisley tour after it resumes in May. “2012 is getting on the road and meeting fans, because for me, it’s about seeing them and thanking them, because they are the reason I’m here.”

Reach Cindy Watts at 615-664-2227 or

Tune In
The 47th annual Academy of Country Music Awards, hosted by Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire, airs live from MGM Grand’s Garden Arena in Las Vegas at 7 p.m. Sunday on CBS.
To vote: To vote for New Artist of the Year or Entertainer of the Year, go to
New artist of the year nominees: Scotty McCreery, Brantley Gilbert and Hunter Hayes
Entertainer of the year nominees: Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney

Keep voting for Scotty McCreery for BNA of the year

There is also a list of other sites in the Online Places To Vote tab at the top of the page for you to vote on Scotty related stuff.

Also wanted to remind everyone of upcoming events for Scotty this week! All Scotty's solo performances or appearances can be viewed by clicking the Scotty's 2012 appearances/solo concert tabs at the top of the page. They are also listed on the sidebar for easy viewing.

March 29th American Idol Appearance 8:00-9:00 pm ET/live (PT tape-delayed)

March 30th ACM Weekend Fremont Street Experience, Las Vegas, NV
First Street Stage , 9:45 pm

April 1st ACM Awards, 8 pm ET/PT CBS

Scotty McCreery brings Water Tower Town to AI Stage & Country Radio

Scotty McCreery, 'Water Tower Town' Goes to Country Radio and the 'American Idol' Stage
Fresh off the success of his Top 20 single, 'The Trouble With Girls,' Scotty McCreery will release his third single, 'Water Tower Town,' this Thursday (March 29). The new tune from his debut CD, 'Clear as Day,' is a personal favorite of the North Carolina native.

"That's one of the reasons we cut it, because it reminds me of home," he tells The Boot. "To see that imagery in my head of the water tower right across from the baseball fields I grew up playing at ... and the football games ... and sweet tea. Sweet tea, you can't get it everywhere! [laughs] It's a good song. We really fell in love with it the first time we heard it."

Also on Thursday, the reigning 'American Idol' champ will return to the stage that made him famous to perform his new single. "That was my launching pad and what gave me my platform to do what I am doing now," he says. "I am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces and spending some one-on-one time with the contestants. I can't wait to give them some advice and the ins-and-outs of the competition that I learned last season."

He's performing live this week, but the high school senior can be heard every week by 'Idol' contestants and viewers, although not under the happiest of circumstances. Scotty recorded Tim McGraw's hit, 'Please Remember Me,' as the exit song for contestants who are eliminated from the show.

"I was ecstatic and I'm glad to get to be on there," he told USA Today. "It's cool to still be connected to the show every week."

Scotty is wrapping up his senior year of high school by playing baseball for his school in Garner, N.C. The singer says he plans to go to college in the fall, although he has not revealed where he will attend. He also has several solo concert dates planned.