By Thom Jennings
Night & Day
Night & Day — This weekend an “American Idol” winner comes to town for a show at the Rapids Theatre. Season 10 winner Scotty McCreery already has an impressive resume which includes a platinum album, an ACM and CMT award and a major tour with Brad Paisley.
The 19-year-old country singer may be on the fast track to stardom, but he still is taking the time to go to college.
“I grew up with grandparents that didn’t have the opportunity to further their education and they instilled upon me at a young age that if you have a chance to go to college you have to go regardless of what else is going on,” McCreery said during a recent telephone interview.
In addition to touring and managing his career, McCreery is a full-time college student at North Carolina State University, even though he will likely be able to make a good living as an entertainer.
“I have been able to balance education and music, and even though with my music career I may not need college to find a job, I am doing it for the experience and to be a lifelong learner and a better all-around person.”
On the telephone, McCreery is just as humble as he appeared to be when he was on “Idol.” With all the trappings of success that have consumed so many other young performers I asked McCreery if he felt any pressure to be a good role model for his generation.
“I hope I can be a good role model. I don’t feel a lot of pressure I’m no angel, I just feel fortunate to be able to do what I’m doing and I want to do it well,” McCreery said.
Not many 19-year-olds are fans of traditional country music, so I asked him if he grew up in a household that listened to a lot of music.
“I got the country roots from my mom. She was born and raised in eastern North Carolina. My dad’s family was from New England and he listened to classic rock like Journey and Boston. Mom liked the traditional country like Conway Twitty and Merle Haggard, I heard that and I fell in love with it.”
While McCreery is best known for his traditional country music influences, the musician he grew up listening to was the king of rock and roll.
“The guy I listened to most when I was a kid was Elvis Presley. When I was four or five years old my grandma gave me a book on how to be like Elvis and I read it cover to cover and took it to heart. I dressed up like Elvis for Halloween and listened to his records and sang his songs on the back of the school bus.”
If you remember McCreery’s audition on “Idol,” he appeared calm, cool and collected. McCreery remembers the process as being a long one, and nerve racking.
“There were three auditions before I got to the real judges. We went to Milwaukee at this big arena. We arrived at 4:45 a.m. and I didn’t get to sing until 7:00 p.m. You sit there all day and you get to sing for 20 seconds and they say yea or nay. Luckily I made it through but when I was in front of people like Steven Tyler, who I had seen on TV growing up, my knees were shaking.”
Scotty McCreery with special guest Sara Darling will be at The Rapids Theatre on Friday for a 7:30 p.m show. Tickets are $27.50 in advance and $35.00 day of show and available at The Rapids Theatre box office or online through Ticketfly.IF YOU GO • WHAT: Scotty McCreery with special guest Sara Darling • WHERE: Rapids Theatre, Main Street, Niagara Falls • WHEN: 7:30 pm. Friday • TICKETS: $27.50 advance, $35 day of show