Garner Cleveland Record

Eight questions with Scotty McCreery

Scotty McCreery reacts after winning at the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Los Angeles. Other "American Idol" contestants are seen congratulating him.
Scotty McCreery reacts after winning at the "American Idol" finale on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, in Los Angeles. Other "American Idol" contestants are seen congratulating him. AP

Scotty McCreery’s new book “Go Big or Go Home,” where he shares his experiences about life after “American Idol,” is in stores now.

He describes the book as a “travel log” rather than an autobiography. McCreery will be in Garner to sign copies of his book at First Baptist Church on May 14. Only those who purchase or have purchased a book will be allowed admission.

We talked with Scotty over the phone:

Q: Why did you want to write a book?

A: I felt like I had some stories to tell. The publisher actually came to me three years ago wanting to write the book, but I didn’t think I had been through enough and done enough to warrant writing a book, but they came to me again last year and asked about it, and I felt like I had something I wanted to say. You know we’ve been through a lot, the highs and the lows to the business, and through life. So I wanted to write something that meant something to people, so hopefully folks enjoy it.

Q: What do you hope to achieve with the book?

A: Starting that conversation. That’s what people write books for. For them to think on it and start conversations. I’m just 22, but I have an interesting perspective on life because I’ve had to grow up and really live in an adult world. Being the CEO of a business pretty much since 17, so hopefully folks can just take away a little something from what I’ve learned in just my short few years in the world. And hopefully they learn something they didn’t know about me.

Q: What was it like going from a high school kid to instant star after ‘American Idol’?

A: I don’t think you can equate it to anything out there. Idol is one of those things that it’s shown in pretty much every country around the world. And so really no matter where you went, especially while we were on the show, it’s really like being an alien. We went to the Philippines, and people were stalking our cars. They were just crazy about it. So it was all around the world. Something unexpected. I didn’t think I’d make it to the show, let alone get a chance to win. It was unexpected, but it was fun. It’s pretty cool when all of a sudden you’re being recognized for something you love doing.

Q: What do you remember about the community support when you were on ‘American Idol’?

A: Oh man, it was nothing quite like it. Garner really got behind me and accepted me as one of their own, which is something I was really thrilled about. After every show I’d get back home and get back in my apartment while I was on the show and first thing I’d do is go look at featured videos of the viewing party. It was funny to see them go from the Garner Historic Auditorium and now the Garner Performing Arts Center, with just a couple hundred people to all of a sudden filling up the whole Garner High School gym with people that were packing it out just to watch the show and support me. So I felt the support all the way from Los Angeles. I could tell that everybody was really rallying behind me. For the hometown visits, that’s when I could really see it all firsthand. Just seeing signs in people’s yards. Stickers and paint on people’s cars. Billboards. It was really quite a special thing for me.

Q: Do you have any albums in the works?

A: Yeah, we’re in the middle of working on it. It’s been a long process this one, so hopefully we’ll have it out this year for y’all. But we definitely should have a new single out for the radio in the near future. We’re still working on it. It’s one of those things that takes a little longer than I hoped, but you never really plan things in the music business, so I’m just taking it day by day.

Q: Do you expect to perform songs at your book signing in Garner?

A: Obviously the Garner book signing will be special and will probably be a little different than the others. But yeah, we’re still talking about what we want to do. I would definitely expect the Garner book signing to be a little different than the other book signings for sure.

Q: In what way?

A: Just the fact that it’s my hometown. The fact that I know a lot of people coming through the line. So I want to make it a little more special than just signing books and saying thanks. So I’ll expect maybe a performance. I don’t know exactly just what, but it will be a little more something than the others.

Q: Garner Magnet High School is being knocked down. What do you think about that?

A: It’s real sad. To me it’s almost more sad than seeing ‘American Idol’ go. I’ve had a lot of great memories in that school and learned a lot in there. So I’m sad to see it go. I know they are building another one, but it’s just something about that place. Being proud to come a place that has that history and knowing that a lot of folks in Garner, young and old, walked those halls before I did. It’s going to be a sad day for Garner for sure. It’s going to be sad to see it go.

Jonathan M. Alexander: 919-829-4822, @GarnerCleveland

Want to go?

What: Scotty McCreery book signing

When: 2:30 to 5 p.m., Saturday, May 14

Where: First Baptist Church of Garner, Christian Life Center, 601 St Mary’s St., Garner