Achieving success at a young age has often led many celebrities down the wrong path, and it takes a long time before they finally mend their ways. Scotty McCreery managed to let success not get in his head despite being only 16 when he became the “American Idol” winner.
His mother knew from that moment things would change, and thankfully, they did but for the better. Album sales have helped Scotty McCreery’s net worth accumulate to an impressive $4 million. Let’s get into details to help you understand how he has achieved his wealth.
Aspiring to Be Like Elvis Presley
Country Rebel quoted McCreery saying that the biggest musician he ever listened to when growing up was Presley. As a result, the King of Rock and Roll became a huge influence on young McCreery. However, this would not have been possible had his grandmother not gifted McCreery a book about the late musician.
Therefore, even in elementary school when his class did a project on celebrities, McCreery was the odd one out. While others picked Britney Spears and such celebrities, the country musician asked his teacher if it was okay to do a project on Presley. He revealed that he was also influenced by Randy Travis, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Ronnie Milsap.
His love for music continued through middle school, where he sang during his graduation. In high school, McCreery joined Die Meistersingers, a vocal ensemble that performs across the United States. As a freshman, his voice was still not deep, so he sang tenor but in his sophomore year switched to bass after his voice deepened.
He participated in different singing competitions and won. However, his dream was always to be on “American Idol.” As he told PBS, he knew in junior high school that he wanted to be a singer. He had grown up watching “American Idol” thus wanted to try his luck, which he did.
Landing His First Contract
McCreery disclosed to Pensacola News Journal that he was trying to make it to Nashville but took a different road. He wanted to audition for “American Idol” in Nashville, but since the dates coincided with an annual church camp, the hopeful musician auditioned in Milwaukee instead.
At the age of 16, McCreery stood in front of a panel of judges comprising Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler, and Randy Jackson. He performed Josh Turner’s “Your Man,” impressing the judges and the entire production crew. The young musician ended up making history by becoming the youngest winner ever on the show.
Winning the contest scored McCreery a huge payday. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the musician earned an advance of $250,000 for winning and to record the first album. Additionally, he would receive tens of thousands of dollars for merchandise and endorsement rights.
Being a minor
However, the producers had to get the approval of a judge since McCreery was a minor. By the time he graduated from Garner High School, McCreery’s debut album “Clear as Day” was the No. 1 hit on Billboard. The album did so well that it went platinum with 1.22 million copies sold, earning him Best New Artist Awards from the Academy of Country Music Award and American Country Awards.
He later released a holiday disc titled “Christmas with Scotty McCreery,” which sold 416,000 copies. McCreery then recorded “See You Tonight,” which did not do well because it only moved 279,000 units.
Unfortunately, his deal with Universal Music, where he was signed to Mercury Nashville/ Interscope record label came to an end in 2016. McCreery said it was nothing personal; he said he was going as far left as possible with “Southern Belle.” The different style cost the musician because the single sold only 7,000 copies in its first week.
Becoming an Independent Artist
It took McCreery an entire year to fully settle things with the label. He had been signed to three record labels. Therefore, they each had to figure out how to let him go. After so many phone calls from attorneys, the dust finally settled.
In the meantime, although he could not be with another label, McCreery kept himself busy writing songs; he had been a songwriter since nine when he learned how to play the guitar. When his grandfather passed away in 2015, McCreery paid tribute to the old man by writing “Five More Minutes,” a song that everyone can relate to at a personal level. It is credited for enabling him to stay in the industry after his split from Universal Music Group.
By January 2019, it had sold 382,000 copies and was certified double platinum a year later. By the time McCreery recorded “Seasons Change,” he had experienced many highs, but he described being dropped from the label as a major low. It was a dark moment writing songs with no one to help push them through to the public.
The country singer described the experience as seeing no light at the end of the tunnel, but he decided to take the leap of faith to become an independent artist. He feared that losing the record deal also meant losing rights to his songs.
Scotty was especially adamant about getting “Five More Minutes” because it was special to him. He got a fatal blow in 2016 when Universal Records dropped him and was betting on “Five More Minutes” to revive his career. It indeed helped him return to the scene because it became the singer’s no. 1 single, charting the country airplay.
It is one of the songs in the “Seasons Change” album, released after signing to Triple Tigers Records. McCreery is reaching for the stars; he recently released “Same Truck,” thanks to the pandemic that gave him ample time to write the songs.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee