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'American Idol' notes: Scotty McCreery interview, Kelly Clarkson


Posted Friday, February 9, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Scotty McCreery was a mere 17 years old when he competed on "American Idol," a neophyte in the music business who moved to Nashville and has spent the past seven years learning to pen songs, build his vocal chops and gain the respect of his elders.

After his previous album fell through in 2015, the now 24-year-old singer is releasing his first since 2013. He's riding high with his most successful single to date, an ode to his grandfather called "Five More Minutes." It's his first top 5 hit on the country airplay chart and has a real shot at No. 1.

"It's been awesome," McCreery said in a phone interview Thursday. "Before, our highest charting was No. 8. This is already No. 4. Hopefully, it will keep on chugging."

He said it's a relatable song for anyone who has lost a relative or is grateful to spend time with family. "Everyone can always have five more minutes," he said.

The video features actual video of McCreery as a kid, many of them with his grandfather. "We went through 50 hours of video," he said. "I hadn't seen a lot of it. It was cool. I'm glad my parents always had that camcorder."

And he's coming to Duluth Feb. 17 to perform at a Georgia Swarm professional lacrosse competition at Infinite Energy Arena, first with a 10-minute half-time show followed by a 30 minute post-game concert. (Buy tickets here for $24 to $69.)

"This was just a unique opportunity to come down and try something new," said McCreery, who like many folks, has never seen a professional lacrosse game. "It should be fun to watch."

Alec Schimke, the spokesman for the Swarm, said they have had Ludacris and 2 Chainz perform at games in the past. He explained why they have a concert series:

With this being just our third season in Georgia, our Concert Series gives people another reason to come check out a Swarm game, and it exposes them to the fast-paced action of Swarm Lacrosse. Lacrosse is still a very new sport down south, and many people don't realize how entertaining and action-packed Swarm games are until you get them in the building to see it firsthand. Music plays a huge role in our games as we actually play music all game long, unlike most other professional sports

This is the team's first country night. "With Scotty being from the Southeast, being a passionate sports fan himself, and having so many well-known songs, including his current hit "5 More Minutes" climbing up the charts, we felt we it would be beneficial act for both parties," Schimke wrote me in an email. "They've been great to work with thus far."

McCreery's third album "Seasons Change," out March 16, will naturally be more mature than his previous work and he hopes it reveals more about where he is in his life, his fiancé and his buddies.

"I honestly love this project a heck of a lot better than the one I did in 2015-16. Might have been for the better" that the previous album never saw the light of day, he said.

He is looking forward to the rest of 2018, which will involve record promotion, extensive touring and a wedding. (He got engaged to his long-time girlfriend Gabi Dugal last fall.)

And McCreery admits he has really had to earn his stripes in this brutal business.

"I was originally just the TV guy, a glorified karaoke singer," he said. "I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I had to really come into town and make relationships and write songs. I had to live and grow up."

The success of "Five More Minutes" is a major validating step forward. "That's my favorite song I've ever written," he said.

He is also aware that one of his songs may be used on the upcoming season of "American Idol," which debuts five days before his album comes out. (Purely a coincidence, he said.) He said he got a call from the show seeking permission. Of course, he gave it.

For a time, McCreery took some time to attend North Carolina State University while pursuing his music career. He said he finished about two and a half years majoring in media communications. He has also been interested in music business but then again, he said, "I'm already getting kind of a better music better education just doing it hands on."

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Kelly Clarkson had a great time day drinking with Seth Meyers last week in advance of her debut on "The Voice."

Like Meyers, would need plenty of drinks to sing "Since U Been Gone" totally off key in front of Clarkson!

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Carrie Underwood's 'The Champion," the NFL theme featured before the Super Bowl Sunday, shot to No. 1 on iTunes after it aired on NBC before tens of millions of people.

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Ryan Seacrest wrote a column in the Hollywood Reporter about what it was like being falsely accused of sexual harassment in this #metoo/#timesup environment.

He said he received a letter from an attorney in November regarding a hair stylist who alleged he treated her badly a decade ago. He said this was not true but he also knew if he didn't get in front of the story, he might be blemished the way many other men in Hollywood have been. So he publicized the allegation himself last November and a week ago, an independent investigation by E! found no substantiation for the claim.

"To have my workplace conduct questioned was gut-wrenching," Seacrest wrote. "I’ve always aimed to treat all of my colleagues with honesty, respect, kindness and compassion. Yet, I knew, regardless of the confidence I had that there was no merit to the allegations, my name would likely soon appear on the lists of those suspected of despicable words and deeds.

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If you care, MJ's Big Blog has the top 45 on "American Idol" who will performed Thursday night to make it to the top 24.

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Clay Aiken's Tweet of the week, though contextually, I'm not sure what compelled him to post it. (And it's little more than a week old but still...)

 

 


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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.