Scotty McCreery was humbled from the first moment he won Season 10 of American Idol. The 17-year-old at the time had to fly back home to North Carolina right after the show’s season finale for an AP English test the next morning.
“I guess that kind of grounded me pretty quick after winning the show,” McCreery says.
Fast-forward seven years and McCreery is now a married man with a new album he really believes in.
“'This Is It,' the song cracked into the top 20,” McCreery says.
For the first time, McCreery co-wrote every song on his newest album, Seasons Change.
“I enjoyed it. I did some songwriting as a teen, you know, all those Taylor Swift breakup songs,” McCreery says. “But it definitely wasn’t until after Idol and when I got to Nashville that I was really diving into it and trying to develop my craft."
McCreery didn’t write the album alone. He says while he's not the best lyric writer or the best melody writer, he's good enough at both, and he's not afraid to ask for help.
“That’s why for me you always have somebody else in the room to kind of play off of, and a lot of times if my brain’s not working or something, somebody else’s is,” McCreery says. “I’ve never been one to shy away from asking for help. That’s something I learned early on. You can’t do everything by yourself, you know?”
McCreery doesn't mind showing his humility, but he's not a doormat.
McCreery is now rid of his original record label, ironically walking away from one of the biggest prizes of winning America’s biggest reality show.
“It was the label I was kind of assigned to after Idol, so they didn’t choose me, I didn’t choose them," he says. "It was kind of an arranged marriage. We just didn’t see eye to eye, so it’s all good. Like I said, the music wasn’t really working until this year, so what seemed like a bad thing back then was actually kind of the blessing in disguise, so it’s all good."
As it turns out, the disagreement had a lot to do with the label’s push for McCreery to go further into the pop world.
“I’m just kind of an old-school guy," he says. "I know I’m 25, but as far as musical tastes and stuff, I lean more toward traditional, and they just weren’t seeing that. They were kind of wanting a more pop sound, so it’s all good."
McCreery is all grown up now and through the eight years in the spotlight, he says he has a better handle on who he is as a person and an artist.
“In the last years there’s been a lot of change, as a person and musically," McCreery says. "It’s kind of fitting, like the album and the tour, Seasons Change. Living with my wife, I’m definitely doing the adulting thing right now, so that’s a big part of it.
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“But I think musically I’m just trying to tell my story, and I think that’s what country music is about. It’s real people telling real stories and identifying with the fans out there. That’s what I’m trying to do and hopefully folks are doing that through the songs.”
McCreery is excited to play every song off his new album on the road, kicking off the Seasons Change Tour in Dallas.
“We’re looking forward to getting out there as a band and a crew and enjoying ourselves, and we’ll definitely be doing that in Dallas on the first night,” McCreery says.
He plays Thursday, Nov. 29 at House of Blues. Tickets start at $22.