"This was the first thing I did after Idol," McCreery told PopCulture.com. "I came straight here, pretty much, and went to the Grand Ole Opry and that was kinda my first step into CMA Fest."
When McCreery first came to CMA Fest, he had yet to have many encounters with his fans, thanks to his time on the reality TV talent show. But since then, he's gotten to meet many of his fans face-to-face, which is one of the things he likes most about the four-day event.
"It's been awesome, as always," gushed the singer. "One of my favorite weeks of the year. Been here, there, and everywhere, doing performances, meeting fans, signing, just doing everything we can to say hey to everybody."
The support of McCreery's fans means a lot to him, and not just during CMA Fest. When he spends a lot of the year on the road, it helps to have familiar faces who keep showing up at multiple concerts, over and over again.
"I feel like I've gotten to know them a little more over the last eight years," McCreery said. "I know who they are, I see them on the road for 20 shows a year, a lot of them. They come out and travel all over the place and we just kind of are a little more comfortable. I didn't know what was going on when I first got here, now it's, like, Nashville is home and it's just fun. It really is."
"I was 17 years old, so it was a whirlwind, for sure," McCreery conceded. "I'm still young, 25, but it's definitely a little more, not old hat, I'm just more comfortable with it."
Still, he acknowledges that having a bustling career while he was still a teenager did have its challenges, and made him grow up much faster than some of his peers.
"I didn't have a choice," said McCreery. "I kind of had to start up when I did. It's not just hitting the road, it's not just singing, it's like a business. You gotta run that thing right off the bat, so I learned a lot. It was drinking water out of fire hose, but we figured it out and we're still rocking and rolling."
McCreery is spending the next several months on the road. Find dates by visiting his website.
Photo Credit: Getty images/ Scott Dudelson