‘American Idol’ Winner Scotty McCreery Explains How He Was ‘Clueless’ During Run on Show

by Emily Morgan

During Scotty McCreery’s time on Season 10 of “American Idol,” he spent most of it not knowing what would happen next. So when he won “Idol” in 2011, he was nothing less than surprised. 

“That was such a defining moment and such a core memory for me,” the 28-year-old said in a recent interview. At the time, the North Carolina native was just 17. 

“Even when I’m hopefully 85, Lord willing, I’ll be thinking back to that moment, being on stage for the finale, but even before that, just all the memories and getting to work with people like Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé … to be 17 and doing that was pretty amazing.”

His victory would skyrocket the young vocalist into country music stardom. He released his debut album, Clear as Day, soon after winning “Idol.” The record would feature hits such as “I Love You This Big” and “The Trouble with Girls.” Despite the success, Scotty McCreery admits he felt clueless about it all. 

“If I knew what I knew now, there would have been a ton of pressure, but I was so clueless back then,” McCreery said. “I was just going with the flow day by day, ‘Oh, we’re recording an album now.’ We did it in three months. I didn’t know what it took to make an album, write songs, have something to say and put it into a song. … Luckily the first one worked.”

He proved he had staying power in the industry with his second album, See You Tonight, which dropped in 2013. It featured a hit title track, “See You Tonight,” and another hit single, “Feelin’ It.”

Scotty McCreery shouts of the king of country music in new song

“That second album, especially ‘See You Tonight,’ it was my first Top 10 single, it went platinum for us, that was like, ‘Hey, he’s not just a TV guy, he’s actually a country music guy and he’s got something to say that’s worth listening to,'” McCreery said. “That was huge because I never wanted to be the TV guy, I wanted to be a country music singer.”

Again, he showed he wasn’t a one-hit-wonder when he released his third album, Seasons Change, in 2017. The record gave us hits like “Five More Minutes” and “This Is It.”

He churned out more hits in his latest album from 2021, Same Truck. It also features new singles like “You Time” and “Damn Strait,” which calls out King of Country George Strait for crafting love songs that are so good they can’t help but hurt the listener. 

“This song is one that I was so excited to record,” McCreery said about the Strait song. “No. 1 just being a massive George Strait fan, he was my very first concert, but No. 2, it speaks to the power of music. You hear a song and it can take you back to memories. It can be great memories like, man, that was an amazing summer, or it can take you back to a heartbreak.”