INTERVIEW: Scotty McCreery

LifeInASong_UK
Photo Credit: David McClister

Scotty McCreery chatted to us about his stunning new single ‘Five More Minutes’, the reaction from the fans and the incredibly personal music video. Also, as a keen sports fan, Scotty tells us who rules the roost on the golf course!

Hey Scotty! Dan here from yourlifeinasong.com. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Firstly, CMA Fest came to town a couple of weeks ago. It looked crazier than ever this year, particularly with all the Preds stuff going on! What’s that week like from an artist’s perspective? Are you pulled from pillar to post?

Nice to chat with you Dan. CMA Music Fest is always a good time. There’s a lot going on, and my manager who is also named Scott keeps me pretty busy that week, but I love having the chance to talk with my fans.  I performed on the Riverfront stage, had a fan club party, played at the Grand Ole Opry, sang on the Radio Disney stage, signed autographs in the CMA and World Market booths, played golf in the Darius Rucker golf tournament for St. Jude Children’s Hospital and more.

I know you’re a huge baseball enthusiast but have you taken an interest in the hockey this year? The people of Nashville seems to go insane when the Preds are playing! The UK hasn’t cottoned on to the hockey yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long… 

I have really become a fan of the Nashville Predators. I’ve always liked hockey and followed the Carolina Hurricanes some. But since I moved to Nashville earlier this year, I’ve watched the city get behind the Predators. It’s awesome to see the excitement and support that Nashville has for the Predators – it’s on an NFL football level type of support.

I know you’ve been hard at work promoting your new single ‘Five More Minutes’ which is one of my favourite singles of the year. I remember watching the video of you performing the song at the Opry over a year ago – you couldn’t have chosen a better place to debut the song! Is it still a daunting experience to step onto that stage?

Thank you. I’m so glad you like the song. It’s my favorite song I’ve written. I had played it a few times before the Opry but not often. Then, having the opportunity to perform it there on my favorite stage in the world and have them decide to put it up on YouTube was amazing. The response from fans and internet viewers was strong. I’m so proud of that song.

It must be the most gratifying thing to see so many people connecting with the song in their own different ways? Reading people’s stories on the Facebook/YouTube comments shows what an impact the song has had.

It really is. I know what the song means to me. I know what it means to members of my team. I thought other folks might relate to it. Reading their stories online or having them tell me face to face has been really wonderful. As a songwriter, you hope to create a song that people can enjoy or be inspired by. It means a lot to me that folks around the world are fans of this song.

It’s a deeply personal track that clearly means a lot to you. Was there ever any hesitation to release a song so close to your heart or does it give you a sense of relief to release such a personal story to the world?

No hesitation on my part. My life has been an open book since I went on “American Idol” six years ago, so I’m fine with sharing personal stories.

Let’s talk about the music video, which really tugs on the heart strings! It must have been an emotional experience for you to bring out all those old videos of your grandfathers?

It really was. I had not seen much of the footage ever before this. We had around 50 hours of footage that my parents had filmed thorugh the years. Having the chance to see both of my grandfathers again made me smile and cry at the same time.  Brought back wonderful memories. And that’s what “Five More Minutes” does for me. I miss my grandfathers, but I have great memories that come to mind every time I sing that song.

You worked with director Jeff Ray. What does he bring to the table and how much of an input did he have in terms of the general outline of the video?

Jeff is great. First off, he went through all the video footage after we gave him a list of the types of footage we were looking for. He put the initial framework together, then I went through and said yes to this bit, no to that bit, etc… I came up with the idea of following my relationship with my girlfriend Gabi.  We’ve known each other since kindergarten, so we start out with school photos from our early days, then a photo where we went to our high school prom together, then footage in a helicopter in Hawaii from a few months ago. That might be my favorite part of the video – showing how our relationship has evolved.  Finally, Jeff filmed me singing the song so he could mix it into the video around the older footage. He did a great job.

We see some fantastic family moments in there (you were rocking that Elvis fancy dress costume!). What’s your favourite memory from your childhood? What stands out the most?

I don’t know if I can say I have one favorite memory, but so many of my favorite memories revolve around my family. My Granddaddy Bill who passed away two weeks before we wrote the song and was the initial inspiration for “Five More Minutes” was a cool cat. At 85 years old he was doing cannonballs off the diving board into his swimming pool and drinking as many Coca Colas as he wanted. There’s a scene in the video where he’s standing over me when I’m a baby on the couch. He’s looking at me both protectively and curiously, as if he’s trying to figure out what kind of guy I’m going to be.  There’s also a scene at the end of me as a young kid standing next to my grandfather as he fishes in the ocean. Those two are among my favorite scenes in the video.

I hear you’re working on a new album. Will fans see a progression from the previous albums in terms of your song writing, now that you’re at a different point in your life?

I hope so. I recorded my first album when I was 17 and my second album when I was 19-20.  I’m 23 now, and the album will probably come out when I’m 24. I think the songs I’m writing and finding for this project really reflect who I am right now and that natural evolution that we all go through when we transition from being a teenager to being an adult. 

When can we expect it to be released?

Don’t know yet. Probably late this year or early next year.

You released your first book last year, ‘Go Big Or Go Home’. At just 23 years of age, it’s quite early to release an autobiography –  what made you want to write it?

I’ve had book offers since I won “American Idol,” but it always seemed odd to me to do something right then – I’ve got a lot of life to live, you know.  But then I thought – I’ve had some experienes that most 22-23 year olds haven’t had, I’ve learned some lessons that I could share. If I fashioned it as more of a travelogue of my life so far and not really an autobiography, it could be fun. And it was – I enjoyed writing the book with Travis Thrasher.

Is it something you’d like to do again further down the line?

Maybe. Probably not for many years. Like I said, I have a lot of life left to live I hope.  But someday maybe.

I know you’re a keen golfer and recently played at the Greenbrier Classic Pro-Am. How often do you get to play when you’re out on the road?

I try to play as often as I can. I usually have my clubs with me on the road and if we have a day where I’m not needed until the evening, I often play.  I also play at home when I’m in Raleigh with my guys or my Pops or on my own.

Which country artist rules the roost on the golf course? I hear Charles Kelley and Darius have got some skills…

They do! I’ve played in tournaments with them. I don’t know if anyone is quite as good as Vince Gill. I haven’t had the chance to play with him yet but I hear he’s awesome and would love that opportunity. Eric Church has mentioned getting together to golf so I’m hoping to take him up on that before long.

You visited Australia and New Zealand for the first time earlier this year. What was it like performing internationally? A slightly intimidating experience?

One of my favorite things to do is travel. When the festival in New Zealand invited us to come and perform, I was all about it. I spent a great day in New Zealand with some of my band guys when we took a ferry over to an island and rode mopeds and visited a winery. Since we were going that far, I wanted to at least see a little bit of Australia. Had breakfast down by the Sydney Opera House. Went on a hike in Australia with some of my band and crew guys and both my manager and tour manager.  Taped a TV program for CMC Australia which recently aired. I am ready to go back to both places!

As you probably know, C2C Festival gets bigger and bigger in London every year. Is it something you’d like to be a part of in the future? We’d love to see you over here!

I would love to come to UK. I visited London as a kid with my family, but I’d love to come back and perform and the C2C Festival would be awesome. Hope to get over there before too long.

Scotty, thanks so much for giving us your time. Best of luck with the single and the album – hopefully we’ll see you in the UK soon!

Happy to chat, Dan. Thanks for reaching out. Have a great day!

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