The accolades keep pouring in for “American Idol” winner Scotty McCreery.
In 2011, McCreery became the show’s first country male winner and its youngest male winner in any genre. Last year, he was named New Artist of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards and the American Country Awards.
The 19-year-old McCreery will perform at 8 p.m. March 28 at The Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora.
Tickets range from $35 to $40 and are available by calling the box office at 630-896-6666.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the chance to talk to McCreery about his current activities.
Eric Schelkopf: I understand that you are finishing up your new album. Will you be previewing any of your new songs at the show in Aurora?
Scotty McCreery: Yeah, definitely, definitely. We’re going to be playing a lot of stuff from the first album, but we’re going to playing three or four songs from the new record.
We’re kind of testing them out, and seeing which songs the fans are digging. That’s kind of what we are looking for.
ES: So, what should people expect from the new album?
SM: Well, they should obviously expect country music. But the cool thing about me starting out so young is that you are going to be able to see growth throughout the album. We’ve got about seven songs done right now, and I can already see how much different this album is going to be, in a good way, from the first album.
ES: What kind of growth have you had as an artist since winning “American Idol?”
SM: In the last two years, I’ve just done nothing but learn, whether it is just from personal experience on the road or whether it’s from major artists that I’ve gotten the chance to talk to, and they give me some advice. I think I’ve gotten more comfortable on the road, a lot more comfortable in my own skin out there in this industry.
ES: Your debut album, “Clear As Day,” has been certified platinum for one million copies sold. Were you surprised that it did so well?
SM: Yeah, definitely. Especially with it being the first album, you really have no idea what to expect or what to even look forward to. To sit back and kind of watch that album take on a life of its own was pretty special and pretty wild to watch. I never really got that radio hit on that album. That’s kind of the main focus of this album coming up, to try and find that radio hit.
ES: When you first auditioned for “American Idol,” what kind of emotions were you feeling?
SM: I was a nervous wreck. I didn’t really know what to expect. I was just kind of taken aback that they were keeping me around for the first couple of auditions. I was just kind of shell shocked.
ES: When you were told that you were the winner of season 10, was that a total shock? What do you think won people over?
SM: I don’t really know exactly what won people over. In the first place, singing country music on that show was a definite big advantage for me because country music fans are so loyal and so great. When I was sitting there on the stage and when Ryan announced it was me, I was definitely like, “Oh, my goodness.” I don’t know if I can pinpoint one emotion, because everything was kind of running through my head all at once. It was definitely one of those moments that I will never forget.
ES: What do you think of last year’s winner, Philip Phillips?
SM: He’s great. He’s had a huge amount of success with his song, “Home.” And it’s pretty cool to watch another “Idol” winner take off like that. I still try to watch the show as much as I can. With me being in college and also touring, it makes for a lot of busy nights.
ES: If there was one “American Idol” winner you could tour with, who would it be?
SM: I guess Carrie Underwood, or Kelly Clarkson would work, too. She’s kind of got that country-pop thing going for her. It’s cool to be able to tour with other country artists.
ES: Last year, you toured with Brad Paisley. Would you consider him one of your influences?
SM: Oh, for sure. For me, it was incredible to tour with him and to kind of see him do his thing every night, and to see how he runs his tours.
It was definitely a huge learning experience for me.