Hot 20: Scotty McCreery Stays Country

American Idol Alum Starts Writing for Third Album

Scotty McCreery was just 17 years old when his name was called as the winner of American Idol.

Now at 21, he’s living the onstage experience full time, hitting venues like the legendary Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth.

“I’ve been blessed to be able to do as much as I have in about four years since I started at 17,” he told CMT Hot 20 Countdown backstage before a performance. “But those four years, man, we packed a lot into them. So we’re looking forward to the future, too.”

In addition to tour dates across the U.S. in 2015, McCreery will release his third album, which he promises will stay true to his traditional country roots.

“I grew up loving country music,” said the North Carolina native. “So when folks ask, ‘What are you going to make?’ I’m going to make a country music record, and I’m excited about it.

“We’re just starting to get in the writing process. We’re trying to find which way we’re going,” he continued. “But one of the cool things that I really think is unique to me is the fact that you’re kind of growing up with me as I go through my music, which I think is pretty cool for myself to look back.”

If the success of his debut album was any indication, fans will no doubt have a positive reaction to the new music. Clear as Day went straight to No. 1 on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart in 2011. That momentum has continued to grow over the next four years, as did McCreery’s business sense.

“When you’re looking at it from the fans’ point of view, it’s just the guy onstage singing,” he said. “That’s what my passion is, to get up there and make music and everything, but you have to do a lot of stuff behind the scenes to make sure you can go sing. To make sure the fans know you’re singing. You don’t necessarily see from the outsider’s point of view.”

All the hard work and dedication is more than worth it at the end of the day for McCreery, who says he’s looking forward to an exciting year bringing music to his fans.

“At this particular time, I want to show y’all what’s in my mind musically and who I am as an artist and as a person through my music,” he said. “I’m going to put out a record that I myself have fallen in love with and try to translate that towards the fans. And hopefully they fall in love with it as well.”

For more on CMT Hot 20 Countdown’s exclusive interview with Scotty McCreery, tune in to Saturday and Sunday morning (Jan. 17-18) at 9 a.m. ET/PT.