Scotty McCreery has made an eventful entry into adulthood.
The 18-year-old 2011 "American Idol" champ graduated form high school in North Carolina last week, one night after winning a CMT Music Award for USA Breakthrough Video of the Year. Now the road is open for McCreery to focus on nothing but his country music career and continue supporting his chart-topping, platinum-certified debut album "Clear As Day."
"This is what I want to do for the rest of my life," McCreery says. "I've got to put in work early to be able to do it for the next few years, and beyond that. I don't want to say it's a job, but I never wanted to sit behind a desk, so to be getting to do this as (his job) is alright.
"So I'm taking it seriously, doing the little things and whatever I can to establish myself and keep the name out there."
This year that included recording a version of Tim McGraw's "Please Remember Me" as "Idol's" weekly exit song, which kept McCreery connected to the show. "It was like deja vu every week," he says. "I was watching it from a totally new perspective, seeing people behind the stage that were wearing all black, the workers, who were my friends back in the day. I could tell when contestants were getting nervous.
"I'd always be pointing out things like that. The people watching with me were trying to tell me to shut up, but I couldn't."
McCreery is already starting to gather songs for his sophomore album, which he hopes to start recording in the summer. Meanwhile he's resumed touring with noted prankster Brad Paisley, although the practical jokes haven't been as prolific as McCreery was anticipating.
"Of course, I don't want him to read that, 'cause then he'll come back and say, 'Oh really...?' " McCreery notes. "But he's got a big video board and photoshops photographs of my head on some old people's bodies who are riding a bike naked. And I painted a goatee on my face and picked up one of the hats he keeps backstage and came out as a mini Brad.
"Other than that it's been pretty tame. We'll see what he's got this summer, though."
Scotty McCreery performs with Brad Paisley, the Band Perry, Kristen Kelly and Love and Theft at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, June 16, at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township. Tickets are $72.50 pavilion, $35 lawn. Call 248-377-0100 or visit www.palacenet.com.
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