He stepped onto the stage as the American Idol winner two years ago, but now Scotty McCreery's country tunes are climbing the billboard charts.
He was in western North Carolina Saturday night, singing for a crowd in Cherokee. FOX Carolina got an exclusive behind the scenes interview.
He calls himself a "basketball shorts and flip flops kinda guy" and loves to listen to country music on his own iPod.
Now that he's on the other side of American Idol, he said he still watches it regularly, but now with a different perspective. He said he likes seeing the people in the background who he met while on set.
A sophomore at NC State, he said he's wanted to be in the Wolf Pack since he was a kid because his dad is an alumnus.
"The first day of the new semester, that's always the weirdest one, cause the kids don't know I'm in the classes yet, but I always try to sit in the back of the class, so nobody sees me, but then they call roll and everybody turns around and I give them one little wave and they're like, 'Oh that's cool,'" said McCreery.
He said he's sticking with music but thinks that a degree in communications will help him in the industry. McCreery said he doesn't call college a back-up plan, but that he wants to be a "life-long learner." He thinks, "It helps you become a well-rounded person."
He said he would've wanted to try out dorm life but knows that with his high profile and public bathrooms wouldn't be a good mix. He called the balance between being a college student and keeping up a music tour can be a buzzkill.
"A lot of times it happens when you get off stage at 10 and you're on a high from the crowd and the energy and all that. Then you have to kind of simmer down cause you have a paper due at midnight. It's one of those things that it's never fun but you gotta just do it," said McCreery.
He said it's worth it to work toward graduation and to put his own voice into songs for his upcoming album.
McCreery's newest album, See You Tonight, comes out on Oct. 15.
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