Thursday, January 31, 2013

American Idol: The Education of Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery: He's going to Disney World -- and to college, as well.

Stay in school, don’t quit your day job. Those are two clich├ęs favored by people giving advice to youngsters interested in creative pursuits. And Scotty McCreery is heeding those warnings—despite having a music career that’s already in full bloom.

The 19-year-old singer won American Idol the year before last, scoring a record deal worth $250,000. His debut album, Clear As Day, came out in October 2011 and quickly earned platinum certification in the U.S. He toured with Brad Paisley and the Band Perry, sang the national anthem at a World Series game, released a Christmas album and pulled in an estimated $4 million last year.

But even as he begins his first solo tour, McCreery is continuing his college education. He’s entering his second semester as a Communications major at North Carolina State University, where he attends class every Monday through Wednesday. Starting in February, however, he’ll soon be heading out of town to play shows on his Weekend Road Trip Tour at the end of each week.

“This window of opportunity is only here once,” says McCreery. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone. So I wanted to make sure I got this experience [of touring] and got the chance to go to college. It’s not really for me, personally, about learning all the chemistry formulas or anything like that. I don’t really need that. But it’s more about the experience and becoming a lifelong learner.”

By working towards his degree, McCreery is following the footprints left by some of his country idols. He points out that some of the genre’s most celebrated artists attended college: Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley—“a lot of the guys that I look up to”—and that the knowledge accumulated at school should help him as he continues his music career.

McCreery also says he’s socking away as much cash as he can. While his gross earnings may look gaudy at $4 million, that number shrinks drastically after American Idol and any other managers, agents and lawyers, not to mention Uncle Sam, take their cut. McCreery probably pockets only one-fifth of the aforementioned sum at most.

“That’s why my parents and everybody else around me keeps telling me to save,” he says. “It’s all about what you keep, not what you make.”

Though McCreery’s career seems to be on very solid footing, music is a volatile business, and having other skills—and cash—to fall back on could serve him well should his progress as an artist stall. Whether it’s Dr. Dre launching a headphone line or a journeyman rocker teaching guitar lessons on the side, successful musicians of all earning levels have been finding that the key to financial stability is becoming a jack of multiple trades
Any entrepreneurial acumen picked up on campus could certainly help augment his earnings if his rise continues. It seems McCreery already has a few such goals in mind, inspired by the success of Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar And Grill.
“I’ll tell you what, we could open up restaurants like that or something,” says McCreery. “I don’t know if it’d be a bar and grill, but it’d be something cool. Or maybe something sports-minded … we’ll see, down the road. If something comes up, we’ll jump at it.”




  2. I wonder why he never mentios his bracelet. maybe could pull in some cash.


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