Scotty McCreery Performs on Stage for the First Time Since Lockdown: 'That Camaraderie I've Been Missing' (Exclusive)

Since the pandemic struck the U.S. in mid-March, social gatherings like festivals, concerts and award shows have come to an utter halt or they've been formatted to a virtual experience rather than an in-person gathering. After six months away from the stage, Scotty McCreery finally got back in front of a live audience for his performance at the Ryan Auditorium. In an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com for our PopCulture @ Home series, McCreery dove into how thrilled he was to be back on stage and discussed his new single "You Time."

"Yeah, well, I'll take a couple of claps," McCreery laughed after he was asked how it felt to be in front of a live audience again but at limited capacity. "I've seen so much into my computer screen in the last six months with just nobody here. So even two people clapping was great for the heart."

He added, "It was good to be back on stage, even with just a few people. Everybody was safe, distanced and masked up. And just to get the band back together and feel the energy of the guitar amps on stage and the beat of the drums in your chest and just that energy, that camaraderie I've been missing for six months."

McCreery debuted his new single "You Time," which talks about how he and his wife Gabi Dugal crave having a little time together since both are so busy with work. "It's been nothing but 'you time' here recently," McCreery joked when asked if he and his wife are finally getting some solid time to themselves as a couple amid the pandemic. "So, when we wrote this song, we were not getting any, it felt like. I mean, I was on the road constantly, she was at the hospital working as a nurse. So different times now. It's like be careful what you ask for, you know, 'cause now it's a hundred percent you time."

He noted that the lyrics and the idea behind the song simply explain how they find it necessary to slow down so "we can you know, go have dinner with the fam later, but tonight it's just me and you, sit down have a bottle of wine at dinner and just have a little time together." Now that they've caught up on some much-needed quality time, McCreery says he's ready to get back at it with work.

"It's all I've known for a decade now basically, is being on stage, performing, interacting with the fans, the camaraderie of the band. So all of a sudden, our longest break normally is like a month — Christmas break, we have a month off, get back after [it] in January — so this was way beyond that," the country music star said.

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While there may not be many plans set in stone just yet for the 26-year-old, he is gearing up for a new album. "It's all on the table," he said when asked if the pandemic or quarantine will play a role in some of his songs. "We have a lot of the album we had recorded pre-shutdown, pre-COVID. We still have a few songs left to record, so you know, that might play a factor in the songwriting or something like that."

All-in-all, he's just ready to get back to some sense of "normalcy" just like everyone else. For more on Scotty McCreery and your other favorite artists, keep it right here at PopCulture.com.