South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday)

McCreery forges solid music career

- By Rodney Ho

From the moment “American Idol” aired Scotty McCreery singing Josh Turner’s “Your Man” during his first audition in 2011, the teen’s deep voice caught the fancy of viewers. He went on to win the show’s 10th competitio­n.

But that hardly guaranteed anything in terms of career longevity. McCreery had to do the hard work learning the country music business, finding his voice and navigating his own maturation.

Now 30 and married, McCreery has five studio albums, multiple No. 1 country hits, recent membership into Nashville’s gloried Grand Ole Opry and a new son.

“Idol” ended up being his starting point, not a highlight of his career.

“People are more likely to come up to me and tell me how ‘Five More Minutes’ was their wedding song than talk about ‘Idol,’ ” McCreery said. “That means the world to me. I didn’t go on the show to be a TV guy. At the same time, I have nothing negative to say about ‘Idol.’ I appreciate that they gave me my start.”

McCreery now has enough successful original songs that in concert, he no longer needs to rely on cover songs. “We’ve got a little story time built in to talk about my musical journey, and we’ll play snippets from folks who influenced me a lot,” he said. “And we’ll play cuts from the new album.”

That new album has not been given an official release date, but his latest single “Cab in a Solo” is a top 20 hit on the Billboard country airplay chart. The midtempo break-up song has a 1990s vibe to it. Stylistica­lly, he said, “it spoke to what I loved listening to growing up.”

McCreery has professed

his love and respect for Garth Brooks, so he was shocked and honored when Brooks showed up to present him his official entry into the Grand Ole Opry in December.

“He’s such a busy man,” McCreery said. “The night before, he was in Vegas. He flew to Nashville (Tennessee) just to be there for me. That meant the world to me.”

He said he can’t quite believe that he’s already in the Opry. “All my heroes have played that stage,” he said. “But I do feel like an old soul. I have a deep appreciati­on and respect for what the Opry means to country music. It really changed the course of history back in the day.”

McCreery has stayed grounded by never leaving his hometown: Garner, North Carolina. He was dating his wife, Gabi, when he was on “Idol.”

“I enjoy stepping outside of the business and craziness

of it all,” McCreery said. “People here for the most part just treat me as their neighbor. And Gabi has been a rock for me. I wouldn’t be here without her. She’s been here for all the ups and downs and has always been my biggest cheerleade­r.”

And he has enjoyed being a father.

“It’s the coolest thing,” he said, “way cooler than ‘Idol’ or anything. Just being a parent, seeing Avery grow up and develop his own personalit­y. I can’t wait to see him grow up.”

Feb. 18 birthdays: Vocalist Yoko Ono is 91. Singer Herman Santiago is 84. Actor Cybill Shepherd is 74. Singer Randy Crawford is 72. Actor John Travolta is 70. TV personalit­y Vanna White is 67.Actor Matt Dillon is 60. Rapper Dr. Dre is 59. Actor Molly Ringwald is 56. Actor Ike Barinholtz is 47. Musician Regina Spektor is 44.

 ?? JASON KEMPIN/GETTY 2023 ?? Scotty McCreery’s single “Cab in a Solo” is a top 20 hit on the Billboard country airplay chart.
JASON KEMPIN/GETTY 2023 Scotty McCreery’s single “Cab in a Solo” is a top 20 hit on the Billboard country airplay chart.

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