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McCreery to perform at Tooele's Country Explosion opener on July 19

Published July 11, 2013 4:59 pm

Music • 2011 "American Idol" winner performs at Tooele's Country Explosion opener.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

He won "American Idol," sold more than 1 million albums and is now set to begin his sophomore year at North Carolina State University.

Scotty McCreery said his life is a bit crazy since he won season 10 of the popular TV show as a high-school senior.

The 19-year-old will perform Friday, July 19, as part of Country Explosion. The three-day festival, which takes place at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, will feature 22 acts including some of the biggest names in country music: The Band Perry, Clay Walker, Mark Wills, LeAnn Rimes, Kellie Pickler, Randy Houser and 2012 "X Factor" winner Tate Stevens.

Country Explosion will be the second time McCreery has taken the stage in Utah. He performed at Stadium of Fire in 2012 along with The Beach Boys.

McCreery stays humble when talking about his fast success and credits his family and friends for not letting his ego get out of control.

"At first it was weird for them," he said in a recent telephone interview. "When I came off the show, they didn't know how to handle it, but they see I'm still the same person. They treat me pretty much the same. I like to call them my biggest haters. They're not impressed."

While touring, McCreery tries to go home to Garner, N.C., every week or two, at least for a couple of days. He was able to juggle being a full-time student last year at NC State, but come fall, he may opt for being part-time. He attends classes every Monday and Wednesday, and then for the rest of the week he's out touring or recording new music.

McCreery, who studies communication, said he's usually able to keep a low profile until a professor takes attendance.

"It's definitely one of those different kind of things where I'm walking around and people look at me and realize who I am," he said.

At home, he's a regular teenager hanging out with friends, he said. "I try to keep it as normal as it can be."

His first album, "Clear as Day," was the top-selling country album by a new artist in 2011. Two of the songs on the album, "I Love You This Big" and "Trouble With Girls," were certified gold. A holiday album, "Christmas With Scotty McCreery," also went gold.

McCreery said he is finished with his second album, which is set to be released later this year. He plans on performing two or three of the new songs at the Country Explosion.

"The success of the first record was something I never expected," he said. "We got it done really quick. We didn't have much time to be creative with it. … This second record, it's a lot more me."

McCreery captured the attention of "American Idol" viewers with his deep voice. According to his biography, his voice dropped considerably when he was 13.

"I'm hoping it carries me," he said. "I'm 19 now and I hope to be doing this the rest of my life. The deep voice was kind of the thing people were drawn to at the beginning. Now we have to find the right songs for it."

His low tone has drawn comparisons with country star Randy Travis, 54, who is recovering from brain surgery in a Texas hospital.

"He was one of my idols growing up," McCreery said. "I enjoyed listening to his music. I haven't had the opportunity to meet him, and my thoughts and prayers are with him."

mappelgate@sltrib.com

Country Explosion in Tooele

The three-day festival will feature performances by 22 acts including some of the biggest names in country music: The Band Perry, Clay Walker, "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery, Mark Wills, LeAnn Rimes, Kellie Pickler, Randy Houser and 2012 "X Factor" winner Tate Stevens.

When • July 19-21

Where • Miller Motorsports Park, Tooele

Tickets • Single-day and three-day pass available; $78-$172

Details • countryexplosion.com