Scotty McCreery Looks Back On His Life and Career in ‘CMT Stages’ [WATCH]

Scotty McCreery takes a look back at his life and career in a new episode of CMT Stages, available now. The show follows McCreery, from his early days in Garner, North Carolina, through his American Idol win in 2011, his two record deals, hit singles, marriage, fatherhood, and more.

“When you think about Nashville, you’re thinking about how, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the shiny place. It’s the big city where dreams come true,'” McCreery says in the episode. “When I got to Nashville, I had to grow up quick. I got started in this business so young, so at 17 I was sitting there at the end of a business table, with 30 executives, and you’re having to make all these big decisions. I think I’m better for it now. It taught me a lot about the business, about who to trust and all sorts of stuff. I’m thankful for that.”

McCreery loved sports when he was a child, but he also loved music, which eventually trumped his love of even baseball, which he also excelled at.

“Music was everywhere in my childhood,” says the singer. “Growing up in church, I was singing in choirs. I started getting the bug probably there. … I started playing guitar in third or fourth grade. I was learning ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ That was the first song I ever learned on guitar. I picked up a guitar because my heroes were playing guitar. I saw Elvis, on the ‘68 [Comeback] Special, he’s strumming that black electric. George Strait. If you love country music, you love George Strait. He’s impacted so many lives. He was my first concert, him and Reba [McEntire] and Lee Ann Womack.”

Still, it took his family to convince McCreery that he was talented enough to pursue a career in country music, in spite of his doubts.

“I don’t think I’d be here without my family pushing me,” he concedes. “They were the ones like, ‘Hey man, you’re good enough.’ I never quite wanted to believe it. I always thought there were better guitar players. I always thought there were better singers. I was like, ‘Why even try?’ They kind of gave me that push forward that I needed.”

It was McCreery’s family who signed him up to compete in the local Clayton Idol talent competition in 2009, which he won. The victory gave McCreery the confidence to audition for American Idol one year later, which he won in 2011.

“It was crazy. It was really crazy coming off that show,” the 29-year-old recalls. “Winning Idol came with a record deal with Universal. I was still just like a fish out of water. I didn’t know what the heck was happening. It’s so like, ‘If you don’t sign this, there are a thousand other kids that will.'”

While at Universal, McCreery released two albums, both his freshman Clear as Day and his sophomore See You Tonight. Although he had several Top 40 hits, including the title track of See You Tonight and “Feelin’ It,” which both landed in the Top 10, after his “Southern Belle” single failed to chart, the record label dropped him. Understandably devastating at the time, McCreery chose to release what was supposed to be his next single, “Five More Minutes,” on his own, which not only got him a record deal with his current label, Thirty Tigers, but also became his first of five consecutive No. 1 hits.

“I think being a dad changes your perspective on a lot of things,” McCreery reflects. “For me, I think ‘Five More Minutes’ now being a dad, it’s like, ‘Hey man. Live in the moment. Be there as often as you can be there, and try not to miss anything, because you don’t want to be down the road wishing you had that time, because you missed out on it.’ I don’t want to miss a thing.”

McCreery’s latest chart-topping single was his multi-week, No. 1 hit, “Damn Strait.” He’s back in the Top 10 with “It Matters To Her,” written about his wife, Gabi. Amid all the ups and downs and highs and lows of his career, the 29-year-old says he is now grateful, for all of it.

“It’s been a crazy run these last few years,” McCreery acknowledges. “If someone would have told me back in 2011, ‘Hey man, 2023, you’re going to have five straight No.1s,’ I would have signed up for that in a heartbeat. Am I where I want to be? No. I want to grow. I want to continue to extend the bar higher for myself, writing better songs, and having better shows on the road in front of fans. And that comes with hard work. That comes with dedication to the craft. It doesn’t happen overnight. Little by little and step by step.

“But I’m happy with where we are,” he continues. “I’m happy the hard work has paid off, for me, for the band, for my team that’s behind me every day. There was a lot that went into getting us to this point, and a lot of hurdles to overcome, especially after 2015, 2016. Most folks don’t really come back from that. So I’m really proud that we did, and have come back stronger.’

McCreery is spending the next several weeks on the road with Brooks & Dunn on their REBOOT 2023 Tour, which begins on May 4 in Kansas City, Missouri.  Find music and tour dates

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