ASHLAND — The TV talent show “American Idol” can bring an impressive amount of attention and success to those who do well on the program. When you look at the list of the talent show’s winners over the last 20 years, some contestants like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood have found big-time success after the show.
Many times, it is the runner-up contestants who find fame and fortune, with Jennifer Hudson, Fantasia, Chris Daughtry, Kelly Pickler and the lead singer of Queen, Adam Lambert, being a few who have taken full advantage of their international exposure. There are many other winners and runners-up, however, who have faded from view.
Here in the Tri-State, we know what that “American Idol” ride can be like as last year, we got to watch Louisa, Kentucky, resident Noah Thompson win the contest after being urged to try out for the show by his co-workers.
The future is bright for Thompson, and one example he can learn from is the success of country singer Scotty McCreery, who won “American Idol” back in its 10th season. Now, over a decade later, McCreery has kept his career rolling and is still a headlining act.
Tomorrow, on March 17, Scotty McCreery brings his “Damn Strait Tour” to the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Kentucky. The show begins at 8 p.m., and more information on tickets can be found at paramountartscenter.com.
In an exclusive interview with Scotty McCreery, The Herald-Dispatch catches up with his career and life, which includes his latest album and single called “Same Truck,” and his first child born not long ago.
“I have had an amazing fan base that has not only stayed with me, but has grown since day one,” McCreery said from his North Carolina home. “They have always been wonderful to me and so incredibly supportive of my music. I see so many familiar faces on the road that have been coming out to the concerts since the beginning. As I grew more comfortable in my songwriting, I began to write about what I really wanted to say, and I’ve found that this personal touch really connects with the fans and with radio. I have also recorded songs that I didn’t write, but they still felt like they were about subjects and stories that I wanted to share.
“And, I developed a great team, including my management, my record label, my booking agency, my publicists, my fan club, my business management and lawyer, and of course, my band and crew. Everything that you see happening for Scotty McCreery is a team accomplishment.”
Growing up just south of Raleigh, McCreery cherishes his Old North State upbringing.
“For me, there is no place like North Carolina,” said McCreery. “The people are amazing, plus you have the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. Growing up in Garner and now living just down the road in Raleigh, I am surrounded by family and friends that I’ve known for most of my life. They let me be me, and I need that when I’ve been out on the road for days and weeks at a time. Having a fairly normal life in North Carolina is a great balance to going out on tour to perform or doing television or other fun stuff. It’s truly the best of both worlds. In fact, we filmed the video for my latest single ‘Same Truck’ in and around Raleigh. That’s my truck that I drive every day when I’m home. Jeff Ray, who has directed and filmed most of my videos in the last five years, directed that one as well.”
McCreery has earned his success, going from working as a bagger at a grocery store when he auditioned for “American Idol” to becoming a certified country music success story. So, when he could finally take a breath and buy something nice for himself and his family, what were his choices?
“I’m not a big ‘luxury item’ kind of guy, but I do love the ocean and the mountains,” said McCreery. “So, when I could do it, I bought a new home in North Topsail Beach and a condo on Sugar Mountain so I could spend time in both areas. I love to swim, ski, golf, hike, and most of all, spend time with family and friends. It wasn’t so much about having a second home as it was about having a place where I could spend time with the people I enjoy while doing fun things together. We just moved from the condo in Sugar Mountain to a new place in Linville Ridge because Gabi and I love spending time in the mountains and we wanted to take our son Avery up there often.”
McCreery said his and Gabi’s son Avery is his most prized accomplishment in life.
“Having Avery is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me,” said McCreery. “He’s my buddy. It’s hard to leave him when I go out on the road, but luckily this year we’ve got a second bus so Avery and Gabi can join me whenever they want to. I just want to be the best father I can be to him. He already has a great mother as Gabi is crushing it as Mom. I’m just trying to get to her level. I’m in the process of writing songs for a new album, and there have been a few songs inspired by Avery thus far. We’ll see if they make the album or not, but he’s always in my thoughts.”
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