Valdosta Daily Times

May 23, 2013

Moving Out of ‘Idol’

Dean Poling
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Winning “American Idol” gave singer Scotty McCreery a country music career, but it didn’t go to his head.

This weekend, the season 10 “AI” winner brings his new country music to Wild Adventures.

With summer here, McCreery, 19, will spend most of his time touring and playing shows, but come fall, he will return for his sophomore year at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. Then, he will spend his weekdays attending classes for his communications major and spend weekends traveling to gigs.

School, family and friends are important to the rising country star. To compete in “America Idol” in early 2011, McCreery missed the second semester of his junior year in high school. In a phone interview with The Times, he said the show’s producers provided tutors for him. In winning the tenth season, McCreery had additional commitments that summer but did not want to miss the experience of his senior year in high school.

Through an arrangement with the high school administration, McCreery attended classes Mondays through Wednesdays but took school work with him as he traveled Thursdays and Fridays to open shows for country superstar Brad Paisley and fulfill other “AI” commitments. Through this arrangement, he also played baseball with his high school team.

His friends stuck with him through this period of going from being another high school junior to becoming a household name on “AI,” and McCreery remained true to his friends.

“I’ve been buddies with these guys since we were 2-year-olds,” McCreery says. “So they’re not impressed with the whole ‘American Idol’ thing.”

While high school administrators and teachers were understanding of McCreery’s changed schedule and new status, college professors have been less understanding and less impressed than his friends of his musical accomplishments and concert dates. Professors are more demanding and do not care if he’s been on the road, opening for Brad Paisley, enjoying a hit like “I Love You This Big,” or releasing a Christmas album. They want homework filed on time.

And McCreery complies. Since fulfilling his post-“Idol” obligations, he works on his own timetable.

“After winning ‘Idol,’ it was non-stop, a 24/7 job. It still is but not as intense,” McCreery says. “There wasn’t a day went by that we weren’t doing something. But now, instead of ‘Idol’ running the ship, I’m running the ship.”

He has his own deadlines. He will play and travel during his summer break. He will work on recording a new CD, which he hopes to see released by late September or early October.

“I don’t have a deadline,” he says of the new recording. He enjoys having the time to think about what songs he wants to include on the album, what songs he would like to record.

He also enjoys headlining his own tour, “working our way up and seeing the fans along the way.”

Overall, even with this weekend’s show falling on the two-year anniversary of his May 25, 2011, “American Idol” win, McCreery seems stunned by how much his life has changed.

“It’s pretty wild, really,” McCreery says. “For 17 years of my life, I’m an average normal teen going to school, doing homework, hanging out with my friends. ... It was all unexpected. I tried out for ‘American Idol’ not expecting much and it just kind of blew up on me.”



SHOWTIME

Country star and “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery performs.

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 25.

Where: Wild Adventures Theme Park, Old Clyattville Road.

Admission: Concert is included in the park’s regular admission price and with season passes. Reserved seating is available for an additional $15.

More information: Visit wildadventures.com