“Auburn’s coming back — should be interesting,” a confident Scotty McCreery states during the beginning of his interview. The Season 10 ‘American Idol‘ winner is catching some downtime in front of the tube, watching the Auburn vs. Utah State college football game before he has to hit the stage in Uncasville, Conn. for the last leg of the American Idols Live! tour.
With that sort of confidence comes an easygoing persona, which resonates well with the 17-year-old — even when he’s not performing. Of course, America fell in love with him just as soon as he debuted his lower-register Josh Turner vocals, a sly grin, and a distinctive microphone grip. Now the Garner, N.C. native has inked a deal with Mercury Nashville and is getting ready to release his first album, ‘Clear as Day’ on Oct. 4.
McCreery chats with PopCrush about the “good things” with girls, his favorite tracks off the upcoming album, plans for his senior year, and his “God-given” talent, which he cites as his rhythm.
… But his other talent? Trusting his instincts. After our interview, Auburn left with a win, 42 to 38.
You say that you feel like your second single, ‘The Trouble With Girls,’ was written just for you. How do you relate to the lyrics?
I think a lot of guys can relate to these lyrics, a lot of guys and a lot of girls. Girls that like to hear those things said to them, and guys feel, well, for me, it’s tough to say those things, but uh, it’s relatable [sic]. It’s been tough for me these past couple of years, I haven’t had a girlfriend in three or four years now, so, I guess you could say I’ve had trouble with girls … But the song’s not necessarily about that kind of trouble with girls. It’s more of a sweet song, talking about how pretty [they are] and all kinds of good things about the girls.
You’ve mentioned that you are going back to Garner High in September/October to finish up senior year. What are you looking forward to the most?
Just getting back and being somewhat normal. I know it won’t be the same that it was back before I did this, and I’m not expecting it to be — I know my life’s changed. I just want to go back and see people I’ve grown up with and not totally forget about the life I had before this, you know? That’s what made me who I am today. I’m not going to be walking around school with an ‘American Idol’ T-shirt on. I’m going to just be normal, just a normal kid and hopefully things will work out.
Do you think you’ll consider baseball again in the spring? Maybe pitching?
It’s looking like it. Right now we are looking ahead at what our opportunities are. We’re looking at tour dates and stuff, so depending on whether that interferes or not is something we’ll have to look at, but it’s looking like I might be able to get back for a few games and pitch some.
It will always be a huge part of my life. Baseball and music were my two loves growing up, and now I’ve moved more towards a career in music, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up my love for baseball. I may take it up as a hobby — join a rec league or a travel league while I’m performing and stuff, then I’ll definitely do it. Hopefully I can back and play with the boys at the high school. We’ll see how that works out.
You’ve had a few memorable duets since your stint on ‘American Idol.’ Which performance did you have the most fun doing or what was the most memorable and why?
The finale night with Tim McGraw was just incredible. I mean being there, being on that final stage for ‘American Idol’ and singing with one of my idols that I have grown up listening to, it was just an amazing moment to be there. And then, the other one would’ve been singing with Josh Turner at LP field during CMA Fest in Nashville, and walking out on stage and seeing 70,000 people looking at me and flash bulbs going crazy. It was a pretty intense moment, but a lot of fun. Those two definitely stand out.
Tell me what the title track, ‘Clear as Day,’ is about:
It’s a serious song. It’s starts off talking about a football game and a lot of stuff a lot of guys my age, and everybody went through — everybody can relate to it. It talks about the partying after the game, the big victory, but then it gets really serious and takes a big twist so … It’s definitely one of my favorites. I’ve got a few favorites. ‘Trouble With Girls’ is one and this is another one. It’s definitely going to be one worth listening to.
Would you like ‘Clear as Day’ to be your next single?
We’ll see … Hopefully the next single I can put out something a little different. ‘Clear as Day’ is kind of that same ballad-y kind of song, so we’ll see. It’s not like I’m saying I have to do a ballad-y kind of song .. Whatever happens naturally will happen.
You’ve been playing guitar since you were a kid. What’s one of your favorite songs to play?
On my album?
Well … I’ve been meaning to ask my manager and my producer for a chord sheet. I’ve been playing the guitar for a while so I know everything about it, it’s just I’m not one of those guys who can listen to a song and pick out [the chords]. So, I need to contact my people a say, ‘Look, can you get me a chord sheet so I can learn these things?’ They need to do it pretty quick because all of the promotion stuff is coming up.
Do you think you might play guitar on your sophomore album?
We’ll see what works out. The musicians in Nashville are out-of-this-world, so I can play the guitar okay, but those guys are just incredible, so I wouldn’t want to sacrifice that just to say I played on my record.
Your guitar teacher Gary Epperson, said: “His very first lesson, he had a strum, he had rhythm, something I’d not seen in a 9 year old.” Where did you learn those techniques at such a young age?
I’m not really 100 percent sure. It’s one of the things he pointed out when my mom would pick me up [from practice] and said, ‘he has such natural rhythm’ … I guess it’s just God-given. You know everybody has that certain thing where God blessed them with something and gives them that special talent whether it’s music or sports or writing or anything. So, just one of those things God blessed me with — the rhythm. I think that’s what he was talking about.
Which pop stars do you listen to and/or like?
Pop? I’ve only listened to country my whole life. But [I like the] Kelly Clarkson stuff she’s doing and she’s about to put out a new album pretty soon, I think. It will be cool to see that. And she’s done some stuff with country artists as well so.
Yep. The Jason Aldean duet, ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay.’
That was incredible. One of the best songs this year.
Lauren Alaina got a marriage proposal last week that was captured on YouTube. Do you get them often?
Yeah, I get marriage proposals, prom proposals. I’ve had ring pops given to me and put on my left hand, my left finger. It’s all funny stuff. We take it, we laugh about it, we go along with it. It’s all in good fun.
What’s your favorite song to perform on the American Idol Live! Tour?
Probably ‘Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not’ or ‘Gone.’ ‘Gone’ is a lot of fun. It’s upbeat, it’s energetic, it gets the crowd into it. It’s probably the favorite.