"American Idol" Season 10 grand winner Scotty McCreery may never have been to the Philippines , but he knows the country he and the show's top 11 finalists will perform in for the first time on Sept. 20 and 21 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum is "really hot."
"My church choir already went there to sing," he explains.
Feedback from friends has made the 17-year-old high school student look forward to go to the Philippines as part of the American Idol Live Tour, which will have its lone Asian stop in Manila.
The young country singer may be on top of the world at 17. He may be mobbed, not only in his hometown but in Disney World. He may have earned a record-breaking 122.4 million votes in "American Idol." His first single, "I Love You This Big," may have hit the Top 20 in only seven weeks.
But success hasn't changed the boy next door who worked part-time in a grocery store.
"I don't think about success that much," he told Yahoo! Philippines OMG! in an e-mail interview. "I don't go around thinking every day I am the `Idol' winner. I'm just Scotty."
Raised with a spiritual foundation
Filipinos will also be happy to find out that like them, Scotty got his strong spiritual foundation from home.
"I grew up believing in God and Jesus and reading the Bible," he relates.
Scotty's mother, Judy, sang in the church choir. So, it was easy for her talented son to follow her lead.
Staying in touch with his youth group from the First Baptist Church in Garner, North Carolina has also kept
Scotty's feet firmly planted on the ground.
"My closest friends are very spiritual also," he reveals. "We worship together in my church in Garner."
And so, while other successful people walk around with a chip on their shoulder, Scotty's faith reminds him to stay grounded.
"My faith got me through my 'AI' ('American Idol') journey," he goes on. "I pray a lot and read my Bible."
True to his faith
Being upfront about his faith demonstrates the kind of quiet confidence that won for him the "AI" crown and the distinction of being one of the youngest Idol winners. He has stayed true to himself — no airs, no pretensions.
He says in his official website, "The reason I made it this far is that I was real on television. I didn't try to be somebody I wasn't. What you see is what you get — Scotty on TV, Scotty off TV… I don't plan on changing. I don't think Hollywood or Nashville will get to me."
Fast forward to five years from now and Scotty sees himself still "pretty low-key but friendly." No fireworks, no blazing trumpets. Except of course, for that rich baritone steeped in country music, thanks to his mother who turned on the car radio while Scotty listened in the passenger seat beside her.
This, singing "The Muffin Man" at three to anyone who cared to listen, guitar lessons at 10 and church choir stints from elementary to high school laid the groundwork for Scotty's passion and lifetime career.
"I'll just keep on putting out good music," he replies when asked how he will sustain his success.
Sincere and eager to please
But Scotty will not impose his music on anybody, today, or five years from now.
"Five years from now," he muses, "I hope people still want to hear me. I hope I can do good things to make people happy with my music."
You can sense the sincerity, the eagerness to please. For Scotty, the audience is number one. His music is just a means to make this audience feel better, and perhaps, live better.
"I always remember where I came from," Scotty explains. "Other people got me here, I didn't do it on my own."
Thus, Scotty's message to "my Savior Jesus Christ," his fans and family: "I love you this big!"
No wonder Scotty is getting a lot of loving back as well.