Scotty McCreery

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Scotty McCreery
Scotty McCreery.jpg
McCreery performing in June 2011
Background information
Birth name Scott Cooke McCreery[1]
Born (1993-10-09) October 9, 1993 (age 20)
Raleigh, North Carolina, U.S.
Genres Country
Occupations Singer
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Years active 2011–present
Labels 19/Interscope/Mercury Nashville[2]
Website scottymccreery.com

Scott Cooke "Scotty" McCreery (born October 9, 1993) is an American country music singer. He won the tenth season of American Idol on May 25, 2011. His debut studio album, Clear as Day, was released in October 2011 and was certified platinum in the United States. The album includes the top 20 country songs, "I Love You This Big" and "The Trouble with Girls". McCreery released a Christmas album, Christmas with Scotty McCreery, in October 2012 and it has been certified gold. He released his third album, See You Tonight, in October 2013. The first single from the album, also called "See You Tonight", became his first song to reach the top 10 on Billboard's Country charts.

Early life[edit]

McCreery was born to Judy (née Cooke) and Michael McCreery on October 9, 1993 in Raleigh, North Carolina.[3][4] His parents originally planned on naming him Evan, but changed their minds as they were on their way to the hospital.[1] He is a quarter Puerto Rican; Mike, a manufacturing systems analyst for Schneider Electric, was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, to an American father on military duty and a Puerto Rican mother from San Juan.[5][6] Mike's parents later moved to Aberdeen, North Carolina.[7] Judy works as a real estate agent for Fonville Morisey. She also owns a tanning salon called At the Beach and is a certified high school teacher.[8][9] McCreery has an older sister named Ashley, who attended UNC Charlotte.[7][10] The two of them were raised in Garner, North Carolina.[7][11][12]

Around the age of five or six, McCreery received a book about Elvis from his grandmother. One of the earliest cassettes that McCreery ever owned contained Elvis' recordings of "Hound Dog" and "That's Alright Mama" - Elvis became McCreery's earliest musical influence.[13][14][15] McCreery dressed up as Elvis for Halloween one year, and according to his mom, he "gave Elvis concerts in the back of the school bus."[7][14][15] He began learning guitar when he was around nine or ten years old.[8][16]

McCreery attended Timber Drive Elementary School in Garner, West Lake Middle School in Apex, and Garner Magnet High School.[8][17] He participated in all three schools' choruses,[12][8][18] and he sang "The Time of My Life" by American Idol season 7 winner David Cook at an eighth grade awards ceremony.[8] He also sang at his middle school graduation.[16] He sang tenor as a freshman in high school, where he was named Rookie of the Year. In his sophomore year, he switched to singing bass and began singing in his church.[19] He also starred in school production of Bye Bye Birdie that year, playing the role of Conrad Birdie.[8] McCreery went on to join a vocal ensemble called Die Meistersingers that was formed by his high school chorus teacher, Meredith Clayton, and with which he performed across the United States.[19]

In 2009, McCreery won a singing contest called "Clayton Idol", which was held by WQDR-FM at the Clayton Harvest Festival in Clayton, North Carolina. After winning, he held several local shows with the radio station, raising money for sick children.[18][20] Later the same year, he was one of thirty-six finalists in a contest called Rip the Hallways, which featured teenage vocalists from across North Carolina.[16] On the eve of Valentine's Day, 2010, McCreery performed in a variety show called Gift 4, which was held by the town of Garner.[21][22][23] In April of that year, he performed at the second annual Boots, Bands, and Bulls benefit concert. Funds from the concert went to Brittany's Battle, a Garner-based nonprofit that supports those affected by cancer. The concert was held in Raleigh, and country singer John Michael Carroll also performed.[21][24]

Growing up, McCreery attended First Baptist Church in Garner. He led the church's youth praise band, Audience of One.[25][26] In addition to his musical pursuits, McCreery was a member of his high school baseball team. His coach, Derik Goffena said of him, "He doesn't throw terribly hard. His best pitch is a curveball as far as getting people out. If he had to start he probably wouldn't walk more than one or two in a game."[19] McCreery was working as a bagger at Lowes Foods when he auditioned for American Idol.[7]

American Idol[edit]

Overview[edit]

Audition and Hollywood Week[edit]

McCreery auditioned for the tenth season of American Idol in Milwaukee, at the age of sixteen. He originally planned on auditioning in Nashville, but decided not to when he discovered that the date conflicted with an annual church camp. He sang "Your Man" by Josh Turner and "Put Some Drive in Your Country" by Travis Tritt. Judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, and Steven Tyler were all impressed and sent McCreery through to the next round.[3] Lopez remarked, "With the right songs - we discovered him."[27] After the episode aired, Michael Slezak of TVLine wrote that McCreery had the potential to make the finals,[28] and Annie Barrett of Entertainment Weekly speculated that McCreery may have been able to have gone on to a successful career even without the help of the show.[27] For his first Hollywood Week solo performance, McCreery reprised "Your Man".[29] He then joined Jacee Badeaux, Frances Coontz, Clint Jun Gamboa, and Monique de los Santos for the Group Round. Calling themselves "The Guaps", they chose to perform "Get Ready" by The Temptations. However, during a late stage of their preparation, Gamboa decided that Badeaux was not contributing enough to the group and forced him to leave. Before the performance, McCreery apologized to the judges for letting this happen, and after the performance, he became overwhelmed with remorse to the point of tears. All five singers advanced to the next round.[30][31][32]

For his second Hollywood Week solo performance, McCreery sang "I Hope You Dance" by Lee Ann Womack. He was not familiar with the lyrics and forgot them onstage. Afterward, he said that he did not feel that he deserved to go forward in the competition. The judges decided to give him another chance though.[33] The next round was held in Las Vegas. All of the contestants had to select songs by The Beatles to perform in groups, and this time, McCreery joined with Lauren Alaina and Denise Jackson. They sang "Hello, Goodbye".[34][35] McCreery chose to sing it in a higher octave than he had been singing throughout the competition. Lopez commended him for trying something different, but said that she preferred his voice in lower octaves.[36] McCreery chose another Josh Turner song, "Long Black Train", for his final performance of the preliminary rounds. The judges responded positively, and praising his character and his authenticity, they selected him as one of the twenty-four contestants that would move forward to the voting rounds of the competition.[37][38]

Semifinals and Finals[edit]

American Idol commentators held mixed opinions about McCreery at this point in the competition. Mark Franklin of The York Dispatch's blog Idol Chatter praised his performance of "Long Black Train" and called him a "wise selection" for the Top 24.[39] However, Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo! Music and Slezak, who had praised McCreery after his audition, expressed concern that he had only done particularly well when covering Josh Turner.[40][41] McCreery sang John Michael Montgomery's "Letters from Home" for his next performance. He was lauded by the judges. Lopez told him that she and the other judges chose not to cut him after he forgot his lyrics, because they felt that he was born to sing country music - a point that she felt he illustrated with this performance. Jackson appreciated that McCreery was choosing to be a throwback country artist, rather than a pop-country crossover artist.[42] Slezak was also impressed, placing it in his top three performances of the night and writing that McCreery excelled at telling a story through the song.[43] Franklin later ranked it as the ninth best performance of the season, writing that it "served notice that the teen from Garner, N.C., just might be something special."[44] McCreery was one of the five male contestants to receive the most votes that week, which gave him a spot in season ten's Top 13, along with the five female contestants who received the most votes and three wild cards picked by the judges.[45]

The judges continued to give McCreery positive remarks as he covered country artists, Garth Brooks and Travis Tritt, during the first two weeks of the finals.[46][47] For Motown Night, McCreery sang a country version of Stevie Wonder's "For Once in My Life", and for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Night, he sang "That's All Right" - originally recorded by Arthur Crudup, but made famous by McCreery's childhood idol Elvis Presley.[48][49] The theme for Top 8 week was Songs from the Movies. Originally, McCreery planned on singing Harry Nillson's "Everybody's Talkin'" from Midnight Cowboy. However, he changed his mind and instead, he sang George Strait's "I Cross My Heart" from Strait's film Pure Country.[50][51] The following week, McCreery covered John Anderson's "Swingin'", a song that he and his baseball team would listen to while they were on their way to their games.[52][53] Although the theme that week was Songs from the 21st Century, and Anderson's version was released in 1983, LeAnn Rimes released a cover of the song in 2010.[52][54] McCreery received some of his first negative feedback from the judges that week; they felt that the song choice was too safe for that stage of the competition.[52][55][56]

McCreery followed this up with "You've Got a Friend" by Carole King.[57] He almost rearranged the song to make it faster and sound more like a country song. However, he ultimately chose to sing it traditionally, as a ballad.[53] The performance was lauded. The judges noted that McCreery sang in a high register, something that he had not done very often since his Las Vegas round performance. They were much more receptive to it this time though, and Jackson called the performance nearly flawless.[57] Parker named it one of her favorite performances by McCreery, calling it "truly heartfelt",[56][58] while Slezak ranked it in the top twenty performances of the season. He praised its alternating restraint and intensity.[59][60] McCreery also performed "Up on the Roof" by The Drifters as a duet with Lauren Alaina that week. He had previously dueted with Alaina on two of the results shows, singing "I Told You So" by Randy Travis and "American Honey" by Lady Antebellum.[61][62] Wanting to go in an unexpected direction next, McCreery planned on doing an acoustic version of a hip-hop or R&B song for Top 5 Week - Songs from Now and Then. He thought about "So Sick" by Ne-Yo or something by Charlie Wilson, but instead, he decided to sing Montgomery Gentry's "Gone", a country song with rap-like cadences.[53] It was regarded by many to be his best moment of the finals. Slezak ranked it in the top ten performances of the season,[63] and Franklin ranked it in the top four.[44] McCreery sang "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" by Alan Jackson for the following week's theme of Songs That Inspire. The song was written in response to 9/11, and McCreery's performance came only about a week after the assassination of Osama bin Laden.[64]

Top 3 and Finale[edit]

McCreery was voted into the Top 3, along with fellow country singer Alaina and jazz singer Haley Reinhart.[65][66][67] All three contestants returned to their hometowns that week.[68] McCreery made an appearance at his high school's prom, threw the first pitch at a baseball game between the North Carolina State Wolfpack and the Florida State Seminoles, and performed for a crowd of around thirty-thousand at Lake Benson Park. He was joined by his guitar teacher, Gary Epperson and Epperson's band, Gavinhart.[8] As McCreery was singing Josh Turner's "Your Man", Turner himself surprised McCreery onstage and joined him for the song.[69][70] McCreery sang three songs for the competition that week and was able to chose one of them for himself - he went with Lonestar's "Amazed". The judges chose "She Believes in Me" by Kenny Rogers, and Jimmy Iovine, the chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M, chose Thompson Square's "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not". Iovine mentored all of that season's contestants, and was under contract to sign the winner.[71][72] He explained that "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" has a similar feel to the rock songs of Tom Petty, but is also "real country", and told McCreery that "a touch of this feel" should be on his album.[71][73]

Reinhart received the lowest number of votes that week, giving both McCreery and Alaina spots in the season ten finale. This was the youngest match-up in the history of the series. Alaina was sixteen at the time, and McCreery had turned seventeen since auditioning.[74] He went on to become the series' youngest male winner and second youngest winner overall, after season six's Jordin Sparks, who was also seventeen when she won.[12][75] Because of his young age, McCreery had to have one of his parents live with him; usually his mother. They lived in a mansion with the other contestants for a short time, but moved into an apartment of their own before the end of the series.[8]

Performances/Results[edit]

Episode Theme Song choice Original artist Order # Result
Audition Auditioner's Choice "Your Man" Josh Turner N/A Advanced
"Put Some Drive in Your Country" Travis Tritt
Hollywood Round, Part 1 First Solo "Your Man" Josh Turner N/A
Hollywood Round, Part 2 Group Performance "Get Ready" The Temptations N/A
Hollywood Round, Part 3 Second Solo "I Hope You Dance" Lee Ann Womack N/A
Las Vegas Round Songs of The Beatles
Group Performance
"Hello, Goodbye" The Beatles N/A
Hollywood Round Final Final Solo "Long Black Train" Josh Turner N/A
Top 24 (12 Men) Personal Choice "Letters from Home" John Michael Montgomery 8
Top 13 Your Personal Idol "The River" Garth Brooks 12 Safe
Top 12 Year You Were Born "Can I Trust You with My Heart" Travis Tritt 8
Top 11 Motown "For Once in My Life" Stevie Wonder 7
Top 111 Elton John "Country Comfort" Elton John 1
Top 9 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame "That's All Right" Arthur Crudup 6
Top 8 Songs from the Movies "I Cross My Heart" — Pure Country George Strait 4
Top 7 Songs from the 21st Century "Swingin'" John Anderson 1
Top 6 Carole King Solo "You've Got a Friend" Carole King 4
Duet "Up on the Roof" with Lauren Alaina The Drifters 6
Top 5 Songs from Now and Then "Gone" Montgomery Gentry 4
"Always on My Mind" Brenda Lee 9
Top 4 Songs That Inspire "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" Alan Jackson 3
Leiber & Stoller Songbook "Young Blood" The Coasters 6
Top 3 Contestant's Choice "Amazed" Lonestar 1
Jimmy Iovine's Choice "Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not" Thompson Square 4
Judges' Choice "She Believes in Me" Kenny Rogers 7
Finale Favorite Performance "Gone" Montgomery Gentry 1 Winner
George Strait's Choice "Check Yes or No" George Strait 3
Coronation Song "I Love You This Big" Scotty McCreery 5
  • ^Note 1 Due to the judges using their one save on Casey Abrams, the Top 11 remained intact for another week, when two contestants were eliminated.

Career[edit]

Season 10 American Idol tour, Scotty McCreery performing with Thia Megia, Haley Reinhart and Pia Toscano.

McCreery released his coronation single "I Love You This Big" immediately after winning the tenth season of American Idol. The song entered the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart at number 32, becoming the highest debut for a debut single since the chart converted to BDS data the week of January 20, 1990.[76] The song sold 171,404 units in its first week,[77] and was certified gold on August 25, 2011. A music video for the song, shot on Angels Point near Dodger Stadium, was released on August 9, 2011.[78][79]

He signed with Mercury Nashville,[80] earning a contract that gave him over $250,000 in advances for recording the first album.[81]

Both McCreery and Lauren Alaina were invited to present at the CMT Music Awards on June 8, 2011,[82] and they also both performed on the Grand Ole Opry on June 10.[83][84] McCreery performed "I Love You This Big" and George Strait's song "Check Yes or No."[85] Their trip to Nashville was also featured later in an ABC Special CMA Music Fest: Country’s Night to Rock where McCreery performed "Your Man" with Josh Turner at the CMA Music Festival.[86]

McCreery toured with the American Idols LIVE! Tour 2011, which began in West Valley City, Utah on July 6, 2011 and ended in Manila, Philippines on September 21, 2011.

McCreery recorded Tim McGraw's "Please Remember Me" and it was released on March 8, 2012. It was used as the exit song on the eleventh season of American Idol.[87]

2011: Clear as Day[edit]

McCreery's first album, titled Clear as Day, was released on October 4, 2011.[88] Tracks from the album include a song from Keith Urban,[89] and the title track "Clear as Day".[90] McCreery aimed to include an explicitly Christian song in that album and he included the song "Old King James," which dwells on a Bible being passed down for generations.[91] On October 3, 2011, the day before his debut album was scheduled to be released, GAC premiered a TV special, Introducing: Scotty McCreery.[92]

The album sold 197,000 on its debut week, and McCreery made history as the first country act to debut at No. 1 on Billboard 200 with their first studio album, as well as the youngest man to open at the top of the chart with his debut release.[93] It reached No. 1 on five separate Billboard charts - Billboard 200, Top Current Albums, Digital Albums, Internet Albums, and Top Country Albums. With the debut album Clear as Day reaching number one on the Billboard 200, he joins Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert as the only Idol contestants to have a number one album. Clear as Day has since been certified platinum with over 1 million units shipped.[94]

Before the release of his album, a single from this album, "The Trouble with Girls" was premiered on radio on August 30, 2011,[95][96] and released onto iTunes on September 1, 2011. The news that "The Trouble with Girls", along with the album Clear as Day, has been certified gold coincided with McCreery's appearance on Today on November 23, 2011.[97] The next day, the Thanksgiving Day of 2011, McCreery performed "The Trouble With Girls" at the 85th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City then headlined the Macy’s Great Tree Lighting at Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta in the evening.[98]

On November 9, 2011, McCreery performed a track from his album, "Walk in the Country", and announced the CMA Radio Stations of the Year honors at the 45th Annual Country Music Association Awards[99] The next day McCreery joined other country stars in Nashville to tape the CMA Country Christmas special that aired on ABC on December 1.[100] He performed "The First Noel", which was included in his Christmas album the following year, during the second annual CMA Country Christmas.[101]

On October 19, 2011, McCreery sang the National Anthem in Game 1 of the World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. He also performed on the Disney Parks Christmas Day Parade at Walt Disney World on December 25, 2011.[102]

McCreery was nominated and won the first of his awards at the 2nd Annual American Country Awards on December 5, 2011.[103] He performed his second single at the award show and won in the New Artist category.[104] He also won the Best New Artist award at the ACM Awards on April 1, 2012.[105] He further received the Breakthrough Video of the Year Award at the ACM Awards on June 6, 2012.[106]

2012: Christmas with Scotty McCreery[edit]

In 2012, he opened for Brad Paisley along with The Band Perry. The tour kicked off on January 12 with tour dates announced for the first quarter of 2012.[107]

McCreery's second album is Christmas with Scotty McCreery, which was released on October 16, 2012. The album includes nine holiday classics and two new holiday songs.[108] It debuted at No. 4 on Billboard 200 with sales of 41,000,[109] and was certified gold on November 26, 2012.[110] The Christmas album was included in the Scotty McCreery QVC Bundle, which also contains Clear as Day, released through QVC, and sold 5,000 copies the first week.[111] McCreery also hopes to make more Christmas albums in the future.[112]

McCreery performed a track from the album, "Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Jingle Bells" in the Christmas in Rockefeller Center special broadcast on NBC on November 28, 2012.[113] He also sang "Winter Wonderland" at the CMA Country Christmas show aired on ABC on December 20, 2012.[114] He performed Santa Claus Is Back in Town and Mary, Did You Know? at the "Christmas in Washington" gala, an annual seasonal celebration benefiting the Children’s National Medical Center attended by the President.[115][116]

2013: See You Tonight[edit]

McCreery's third album, See You Tonight, was released on October 15, 2013.[117] The album was produced by Frank Rogers. Its first single, "See You Tonight", was released in May, and became McCreery's first song to reach the top 10 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart.[118] McCreery wrote the song with Ashley Gorley and Zach Crowell. "Feelin' It" was released as the second single in April 2014[119] and debuted at number fifty-four on the Country Airplay chart.[120]

Personal life[edit]

McCreery is a professed Christian.[121][122] He graduated from Garner High School in 2012,[106] and is currently attending North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina.[123] Although he is a quarter Puerto Rican, he does not speak Spanish fluently, and regrets that he did not learn the language when he was younger.[6]

Personal interests[edit]

McCreery is a sports fan. His dad grew up in the Boston area and McCreery was raised to love Boston sports.[124] He is a Boston Red Sox fan. On October 4, 2013, he started blogging for Major League Baseball.[125] He continued blogging for the rest of the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

Discography[edit]

Tours[edit]

Supporting

Headlining

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Result
2011 Teen Choice Awards 2011 Choice Music: Breakout Artist Nominated
American Country Awards Artist of the Year: New Artist Won
2012 Academy of Country Music Awards Best New Artist Won
Billboard Music Awards Top New Artist Nominated
Top Country Album Nominated
CMT Music Awards USA Breakthrough Video of the Year Won
MusicRow Awards Breakthrough Artist Nominated
Teen Choice Awards 2012 Choice Male Country Nominated
Choice TV: Male Reality Star (American Idol) Nominated
2013 Inspirational Country Music Awards Mainstream Country Male Artist Won
American Country Awards Artist of the Year: Breakthrough Artist Won

References[edit]

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External links[edit]

Preceded by
Lee DeWyze
American Idol winner
2011
Succeeded by
Phillip Phillips