Scotty McCreery found early success after winning Season 10 of American Idol in 2011. The North Carolina native scored a No. 1 album with Clear as Day later that year, which included his platinum-selling debut single, "I Love You This Big."
But unlike Carrie Underwood, who instantly had hit after hit after winning Idol, it took McCreery seven years after the his win to have a chart-topping single, with his recent "Five More Minutes."
"I didn't think it'd be like Carrie, coming out of the box, firing," McCreery tells PopCulture.com of his life after being on the reality TV talent show. "Although, when we did come out of the box, I've always said, 'I Love You This Big' for me was a blessing and a curse. Great song after all, but that particular song to me is not gonna change the world. So when it came out, it was breaking records, it was doing this, it was doing that. They were like, 'We gotta have an album out next month,' and we scrambled, scrambled, scrambled."
Because of the instant success of "I Love You This Big," in hindsight McCreery admits Clear as Day wasn't the album he wanted to make.
"So in doing that, in my mind, we didn't make the best record we could have made if we would have had time," McCreery maintains. "Whereas other artists that have come off [American Idol], the song might not have worked out, and they have months to make a record off of it, find all the best songs.
"To me, I've always said 'I Love You This Big' was a blessing and a curse," he admits. "But, just to have one No. 1 single is awesome. With 'Five More Minutes,' I'm on a list now of some of my favorite country artists in the world. And I can say that I've got at least one No. 1 song. Hopefully many more, but I gotta work harder."
Both "Five More Minutes" and McCreery's current single, "This Is It," were born from personal experiences, which the singer says is his favorite way to write songs.
"That's what I like to do," McCreery says. "I like to tell my story and through lyrics and songs. So honestly, I don't really have a choice on this record. There's a couple songs that are more universal than they are personal, but I wrote them all so even if we won with a song like 'Boys From Back Home,' that's all my best friends in that song. The stories are non-fiction, so it's just a lot of personal stuff on this record which is cool for me.
McCreery's path might not have been easy, but he wouldn't change any of it, even if he could. The 24-year-old believes all of it – from his early success to his years of hard work – led to where he is today.
"I think it all happened the way it was supposed to happen," McCreery maintains. "In my mind, everything happens for a reason. I'm extremely happy in life right now, and with career I feel like we're at a good spot. My personal life, getting married, and starting a home. It feels good."
McCreery will headline his own Seasons Change Tour this fall. Find dates at ScottyMcCreery.com.
Photo Credit: Getty images/Debra L Rothenberg