Thousands of Scotty McCreery fans, known as McCreerians, packed the Temecula Valley Fair sponsored by Temecula Valley Toyota Scion at Galway Downs Saturday, March 19, to see the country superstar perform live on the main stage for KFROG Country Night.
While fans patiently waited for McCreery to take the stage, the “American Idol” season 10 winner took time to chat with Valley News about his time on the show that made him a superstar, making the transition to becoming an author and his thoughts on Temecula and the people who make it special.
McCreery who is in the middle of his 2016 tour, arrived to Temecula following a week of rest and relaxation playing golf in Florida. He said his time on American Idol changed him as an artist, but not as a person.
“As a person, I try to stay the same, you know, to be the same guy I was before,” he said. “It definitely changed my life though, I was a grocery store bagger in high school before, now I get to go out and sing for a living. I am a lucky guy there.”
McCreery said that as an artist, he continues to evolve and change as he spends more and more time in the studio and performing under the spotlight.
“As an artist, I am still growing and I am still learning,” he said. “The artist I was last year is a different guy today. It’s just an evolution of things.”
In February the country crooner returned to the “Idol” stage that helped to make him famous to act as a mentor for Jenna Renae and Jeneve Mitchell, two finalists in the competition. Renae and McCreery performed his hit “See You Tonight,” while he and Mitchell sang Montgomery Gentry’s hit “Gone.” For McCreery, being back on the “Idol” stage was a great way to share what he has learned with other up and coming artists.
“I’d been back to ‘Idol’ to promote singles but never to mentor and somewhat be a part of the competition so that was unique. That was fun,” McCreery said. “It was an interesting experience to share what I have learned with other contestants and hopefully giving them something they could use. I enjoyed the experience and hopefully they did as well.”
When asked about his feelings regarding the popular FOX show being in its last season, McCreery said he would be sad to “see it gone.”
“Fifteen years is a long time for any T.V. show. I am proud to be a part of it, but it will be a bittersweet finale this year,” he said, adding that he has watched a few shows this year, but he isn’t watching it to the extent he used to.
“I used to watch it religiously because before (he became famous) I was home by eight o’clock every night, but now I go onstage at eight every night,” he said.
McCreery said that the week he was at “Idol,” contestant La’Porsha Renae had really “impressed” him.
“She is killin’ it, her voice is pretty incredible, I don’t know about predictions to win, but I like her singing,” he said.
McCreery, who recently penned a book on the road to stardom entitled, “Go Big or Go Home, The Journey Toward the Dream,” was hesitant to call the book his autobiography.
“I like to call it more a travel log,” he said. “They bill it as an autobiography but I am just 22 so hopefully I have a lot more to write about down the road. It’s a book of experiences and where I have been and what I have learned.”
McCreery said the road to stardom hasn’t been “all good.”
“There have been plenty of low points the last few years too so it’s just taking what I have learned and sharing it with folks and hopefully somebody will read it and it can help them and hopefully folks enjoy the read.”
McCreery said the transition from singer and songwriter to author was an easy one for him.
“It kind of flowed easily, I tell stories for a living, just through songs and they are three minutes long,” he said. “This is different in the fact that I had to fill 270 plus pages to write my story. I got the chance to expand and think about stories that I hadn’t thought of in a while and dig up some old info kind of even for myself to relearn where I was and how I came to be.”
McCreery said he wouldn’t rule out writing another book.
“It would be a while,” he said “They wanted me to write the book a couple of years ago and a I said, ‘Not yet.’ I still have a long way to go.”
McCreery, who arrived in Temecula the day before the concert, said he really enjoyed his time exploring all the city had to offer.
“This is God’s Country. It’s cold back home but it’s a beautiful day here,” he said. “I love the people and the weather. The people here have been great to us.”
While in town McCreery took some time in Wine Country and even explored Old Town Temecula.
“Wine Country is always awesome,” he said. “It was my first time down in Old Town this week and that was really cool. We just walked around and saw all the shops and stuff and I really enjoyed it. It was a good time for us.”