Scotty McCreery Credits Fans for ACM Win

"Water Tower Town" Singer Claims Best New Artist Award

LAS VEGAS — Scotty McCreery‘s enthusiastic fan base has brought him back to center stage with his first ACM Award for best new artist. The fan-voted honor marks the reigning American Idol winner’s first ACM trophy.

Asked backstage about his dedicated followers, McCreery replied, “They never cease to amaze me. They’re wild on Twitter, and they’re insane, man. They’ve been by my side since American Idol, and they keep on coming out. I appreciate them.”

McCreery sang a portion of his new single, “Water Tower Town,” during the awards telecast. He told reporters, “To me, that’s the most Scotty McCreery song on the album. That talks about where I came from. That talks about my values and my beliefs. So I’m proud to sing that onstage every night. It comes from the heart.”

McCreery is currently balancing his final year of high school with opening slots on Brad Paisley‘s tour. The 18-year-old singer says he embraces the unusual situation.

“I love it. I’ll tell you, it’s cool because the people in my high school don’t treat me like I’m on tour with Brad Paisley. They treat me like Scotty,” he said. “I was scared about that my first day back. I think I went to school my first day back with shorts, flip-flops and a T-shirt because I wanted to make sure they knew, ‘Hey, I’m still a part of you guys. I don’t want to come in here holding up an award or looking like I’m a big shot. I just want to be one of y’all — a little bit, until the weekend.’”

McCreery says he doesn’t know if he’ll perform on the season finale of American Idol this year, even though an appearance has been confirmed.

“They haven’t told me anything yet. I don’t know the details, and that’s legit. I ain’t lying to you,” he said. “But I did Thursday night (March 29), and they were all wishing me luck, so it will be cool to get back there and say, ‘We did it!’ Because they launched me. They gave me the platform to be able to sing for you guys, and I appreciate it.”

Asked about the recent announcement of his college choice, McCreery replied, “North Carolina State — that’s where I’ll be heading. My dad went there, and I grew up a fan, but that’s not necessarily why I was drawn to it. I think at 18 years old, I’ve still got a lot of learning to do. I still don’t know if I’m ready to make the move away from home for good yet. Give me a couple of years and I’ll be more mature. I’ll know more about the business, then maybe I’ll move to Nashville. But for right now, I think the best spot for me is home.”

He quickly added, “And I’ll still be working. We’re going to work my college around the road. We’re going to get creative with my schedule — a two-day schedule or something — so I can work on the weekends. We’ll figure it out.”

At the end of his visit to the pressroom, he was asked about the previous year of his life from an American Idol hopeful to an ACM award-winning country star.

“I remember I was the kid at Lowe’s Foods,” he said. “At Idol, they scare you and tell you that you can’t tell anybody, or you get kicked off the show. So I wrote a little note on the front of my cashier register while I was bagging groceries that said, ‘Watch American Idol tonight. A Lowe’s Foods employee will be on.’

“I was trying to get people to watch. And now I’m here and this award’s in my hand. It’s been fast. It seems like it was yesterday. But I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, and I hope there are a lot more minutes to come.”

View photos from the ACM Awards pressroom.