Scotty McCreery knows what it’s like to be on top of the world. He also knows what’s like to be knocked off.
The Season 10 “American Idol” (2011) winner was riding a wave of newfound celebrity and fans. His first album, “Clear as Day,” debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard Top 200 that year and reached the top on five separate Billboard charts. He had won multiple music awards, toured with Brad Paisley, released his sophomore album, “See You Tonight,” which also debuted at No. 1 as did his holiday album, headlined his own tours and was doing everything right with his fan base who call themselves “The McCreerians.”
“Most sane people would have said to wait,” he says, “but my management and I really believed” in the song — “Five More Minutes.” On the first day of its release, it was ranked No. 2 on the iTunes country singles chart and No. 9 on the iTunes all-genre singles chart.
That got the attention of Triple Tigers Records/Sony Music Entertainment who signed McCreery. “Five More Minutes,” which has gone Platinum, is the lead single from his third album, “Seasons of Change,” which debuted on the Billboard Country Albums Chart in September 2017.
McCreery will perform on the grandstand stage at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at The Great Frederick Fair, 797 E. Patrick St., Frederick. Tickets are $25 grandstand annex, $48 grandstand and $53 track seating.
The new album also includes the romantic “This Is It,” a song written as a love song for his then-fiancee Gabi Dugal. McCreery wrote the song with Frank Rogers and Aaron Eshuis just a few weeks before he proposed to Gabi. The couple wed in June 2018 on a mountaintop in North Carolina and the music video features the couple the days before and during the wedding. “[The director] never asked us to do anything special. He was just in the background filming the day,” McCreery said. “It turned out exactly how I hoped it would.”
McCreery, who will be 25 in October, co-wrote on all 11 tracks, working with some of Nashville’s best songwriters, including Frank Rogers, who also produced the album. McCreery said Rogers was the perfect producer for him because he understands how to make McCreery’s little bit old country and little bit new country sound work.
The songs, he said, are very personal and were inspired by his now-wife Gabi. The title track was the first song he wrote for the album. “It’s the perfect song to show where I’m at in life … it’s all good again,” he said. “I have to just pretend that 2016 didn’t happen, it was not fun for me, but you gotta learn from it, stay persistent and work hard and good things will come.”
From Elvis to Scotty
McCreery said he started singing in church when his was 5, and he was a mega Elvis fan. Still is. “Elvis was all I listened to in my childhood,” he said, and he used to include an Elvis cover in his shows, but not anymore. Conway Twitty and Ronnie Milsap were also musical influences.
He admits he had a lot to learn about being an entertainer and he learned a lot about that touring with Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and others. “I know a little bit more than I did” when I started, he said. “You have to learn how to entertain.”
During and after “Idol,” his life went from “0 to 100” and he just “went with the flow day-by-day, step-by-step,” he said.
He dived into songwriting, working with “new people who were just starting to work their way up and with experienced songwriters. I was like a sponge soaking it all up and to kind of find my place,” he said.
Life is busy, he said, and with being on the road about 150 days a year and a new wife, there’s little time for his other passion — golf. But, he admits, “it’s awesome” being married. “It’s definitely an adjustment. I used to live with a bunch of guys in a little rented house. So much nicer coming home to Gabi,” he said.
McCreery and some family members recently competed on “Celebrity Family Feud,” winning $25,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He will likely be remembered for his answers to two questions: “Name something you immediately saw and said, ‘I’ll take it.” His answer: “Fried chicken.” And “Name something you think of when you hear the word ‘Boo’.” His answer: “Yah.” Booyah!
McCreery will appear on “Fox & Friends All-American Summer Concert Series” on Aug. 17. And he will be part of the line-up at the Nashville Songwriters Awards at Ryman Auditorium on Sept. 19, along with Blake Shelton, Chris Janson, Bill Anderson, LANCO and others. He kicks off his “Seasons Change Tour” Nov. 29 in Dallas, with Jimmie Allen and Heather Morgan.
At the GFF, McCreery said his set will include those from his new album and his hits (“The Trouble with Girls,” “See You Tonight,” “Water Tower Town”).