At 17 years old, North Carolina-born Scotty McCreery was the youngest male winner of American Idol. Since his triumph in 2011, the charming, polite young man has released three albums, which have been Gold and Platinum certified and sold nearly three million copies. He’s won an Academy of Country Music (ACM) Award for New Artist of the Year (2011), CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year for “The Trouble with Girls,” two American Country Awards and many more honors. Now 24, McCreery is still on top of the world. He recently got engaged to long-time girlfriend Gabi Dugal, released the popular new single “Five More Minutes,” and signed with Sony Music Entertainment. Hamptonites will have the opportunity to see McCreery in person when he performs at Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center (WHBPAC) on Saturday, October 21.
When talking with the refreshingly down-to-earth McCreery, it immediately becomes apparent that he’s passionate about his music. His new song, “Five More Minutes,” co-written by Frank Rogers and Monty Criswell, was written in 2015 just two weeks after the death of McCreery’s grandfather, Bill. “The song is about a couple things I wish I could have said to him,” McCreery says. The reaction to the song has been different than any other song McCreery has released. “It’s been nuts,” he marvels. “You write [songs] for yourself and hope that other folks will like it, but this has been the most overwhelming.” The song was ranked #2 on the iTunes country singles chart and #9 on the iTunes all-genres singles chart on its first day of release in May. In its first week, it debuted at #6 on the Billboard Country Digital Sales Chart, his highest ranking on Billboard since his debut single in 2011. “Five More Minutes” is also the first country song in history to chart in the Top 50 on the Country Aircheck/Mediabase chart without being released on a record label. McCreery signed with Triple Tiger Records, part of Sony Music Entertainment, when “Five More Minutes” hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart.
Another recent career high for McCreery was his surprise performance at a sold-out Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood concert in September. “That was one of the most incredible nights of my life, career-wise,” McCreery says. “[Brooks] is a huge inspiration for me. I’d grown up watching his videos. I was pretty nervous before [performing]!” McCreery admits, noting that he’s often nervous before shows. “I’m still there, which is good. It keeps you on your toes, some nights more than others.”
McCreery still has lots of fans from his American Idol days. “The biggest thing I get at meet-and-greets is, ‘I voted for you!’ And it was over six years ago. It’s just awesome,” he says. McCreery famously auditioned using the Josh Turner song “Your Man,” followed by Travis Tritt’s “Put Some Drive in Your Country.” But of all the songs he sang on Idol, his favorite was Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend.” The season of American Idol that McCreery won was also the first season that Hamptonite Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler joined Randy Jackson on the judging panel.
So, what can fans look forward to seeing at McCreery’s WHBPAC show? “We have fun shows, I like to keep the energy up. We get on stage for an hour-and-a-half. I try to put some of my favorites up there,” he says. “We do a fair amount of coverage of folks that have interested me—Conway Twitty and Travis Tritt…it’s gonna be a high-energy show.”
Scotty McCreery performs at WHBPAC on Saturday, October 21. For tickets and more info visit whbpac.org.