|Kevin Winter/American Idol 2011, Getty Images|
Scotty McCreery has had a sharp learning curve since becoming the reigning 'American Idol' winner in May. The 17-year-old admits adjusting to his new role as a country star has been challenging -- but the counsel from one of his role models has made the transition a bit easier.
"I was nervous talking to Tim McGraw but then once we got to talking, within five minutes he was like a friend or a country dad to me," the North Carolina native recalls to People of his first encounter with his role model. The two performed 'Live Like You Were Dying' during the 'Idol' finale, which gave the high school student an opportunity to get some sage advice from the seasoned veteran.
"We were backstage in rehearsal and he was telling me not to change it up," the 17-year-old recounts. "He said he was a fan and he was like, 'This is your show. It's time for you to shine, not me.' He's just a great all-around guy. He said, 'Don't change who you are and you should be good.'"
Scotty is currently enjoying his time crossing the country with his fellow 'AI' contestants on the American Idol Live tour. "Being on the road is a lot of fun. You never know what to expect, especially in our shoes," notes the 'I Love You This Big' singer. "I was just bagging groceries and then you get thrown into this just like that. It's been a lot of fun. All of us are on the bus -- boys on one bus and girls on another. We're back there, we're jamming out with the guitars, making music and playing pranks, just having a good old time."
Scotty's new album, 'Clear as Day,' which he just revealed will include a track by Keith Urban, hits shelves on October 4. See his tour schedule here.