Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Scotty McCreery: 5 things to know about the country crooner

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama -- In early November, Scotty McCreery ran into basketball great and TV commentator Charles Barkley in an airport terminal.
Not only is McCreery a platinum-selling country crooner and the first "American Idol" winner born in the 1990s, he's also a massive North Carolina State fan – so he talked Wolfpack hoops with Barkley.
"He didn't know a whole lot about my music but the thing he told me about N.C. State basketball this year was interesting," McCreery, 19, says. "He said, 'It's different being the hunted instead of the hunter.' And I thought that was cool, because this is the first time in a while they've been relevant."
In October, McCreery did something artists as varied as Elvis Presley, Phil Spector, Death Row Records, Bob Dylan and Stone Temple Pilots singer Scott Weiland have done. He released a Christmas album. And McCreery's "Christmas with Scotty" was  hugely successful, already going gold. The LP include classics such as "Santa Claus Is Back In Town" and "The First Noel."
"These songs are timeless," McCreery says of the appeal of recording a Christmas album. "And it's your chance to put your stamp on songs that have been sung thousands of times, and Christmas is definitely my favorite time of the year."
McCreery calls for this interview from his Raleigh apartment, taking a break from studying for exams. That's right: He's an N.C. State communications major Monday through Wednesday, and tours Thursday through Sunday.
Underneath the tree...his future
When he was 10-years-old, McCreery received an off-brand acoustic guitar as a Christmas gift. "Sweet Home Alabama" was one of the earliest song he recalls learning. "I was definitely playing it a lot slower than the record," he says.
The leader is also a follower
McCreery has over 650,000 followers on Twitter. But what celebs does he follow? "Blake Shelton cracks me up on Twitter. And  I follow Erin Andrews, she's really nice reporter for FOX Sports." A really nice reporter.
Hot Rod
On NBC's "15th Annual Christmas from Rockefeller Center," McCreery found himself appearing alongside a pretty formidable lineup of vocalists, including Rod Stewart, Cee Lo Green and Mariah Carey. He was particularly jazzed about meeting Stewart. "He's one of those timeless acts and has one of those iconic voices."
Sliding up the charts
Growing up in North Carolina, McCreery played on the high school baseball team as a pitcher. His outpitch was his slide. "That was what I lived on," he says.
Best birthday gift ever
Around the time he turned 18 in October 2010, McCreery found out his debut LP, "Clear as Day" would enter the album charts at number one – making him the youngest solo artist ever to do so. "That was a pretty cool 18th birthday present. We had a pretty big celebration out at the amphitheatre where I grew up, and played some songs for the folks there. And then we hit the road again, and got right back to work. It was a pretty big time promotion-wise, but we took time to celebrate."

Scotty McCreery with Paul McDonald
8 p.m. Dec. 13 
Where: Von Braun Center Mark C. Smith Concert Hall 
How much: $28-$42.50 
Details: 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.comvonbrauncenter.com, scottymccreery.com


Christmas Is Coming Around Again for Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery is in a holiday state of mind and ready to talk a little Christmas. At 19, he still has a touch of youthful enthusiasm about the pending holiday season. But what’s really putting the bow on this particular year is his new Christmas album,Christmas With Scotty McCreery. The album features Scotty’s unique and refreshing take on seasonal standards such as “Let It Snow,” “Jingle Bells,” “O Holy Night” and others. "I’m really blessed that the label supported me with this," Scotty says. "It’s been about a year since the first album, and I was itching to get some new music out. So, it felt right to have a Christmas record." 


Official VEVO video: