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Even though we haven't celebrated Halloween yet, enough Scotty McCreery fans are apparently in the Christmas spirit to push his holiday CD into the Billboard Top 5 in its first week of sales.

"Christmas with Scotty McCreery," released last week, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 album chart. The CD, which features the Garner "American Idol" winner singing holiday classics and a couple of new songs, sold 41,000 copies in its first week.

The chart was topped by another country singer, Jason Aldean, whose "Night Train" debuted with 409,000 copies sold. Mumford & Sons' "Babel" ranked second, and Brandy's "Two Eleven" debuted in third.

On the country album chart, McCreery's CD was second, with Aldean again on top. "Christmas with Scotty McCreery" topped the Billboard holiday album chart. It dislodged Blake Shelton's holiday CD, "Cheers, It's Christmas."

McCreery, now a freshman at N.C. State University, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and country album charts last year with his first CD, "Clear As Day." It has since gone platinum, selling more than 1 million copies. His next non-holiday CD is due next year.

The "American Idol" finalist with the top all-time holiday CD also has a Triangle tie — "Merry Christmas with Love" from Clay Aiken, a 2004 album, has sold more than 1.4 million copies.

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Courtesy of The Boot

scotty-mccreery-456-101812When Scotty McCreery won the 10th season of "American Idol" in May 2011, it seemed like life couldn't get much better for the talented teen, but it has. These days he's enjoying his first semester of college, touring with Brad Paisley and releasing his first holiday album, Christmas With Scotty McCreery.

"I got lucky. A lot of people have to wait a long time," Scotty tells The Boot of recording a Christmas album so early in his career. "We released the first album in October of last year and we're not going to release the next one until probably spring of next year, so it felt right to get some new music out there."

Christmas is Scotty's favorite holiday, so recording his new album was a joy. However, the biggest challenge was deciding which of his favorite festive tunes to record. "It was tough. There are so many Christmas songs. There were a few that I knew I had to do. I knew I wanted to do an Elvis song, and it was down to 'Blue Christmas' and 'Santa Claus Is Back in Town.' I just told myself that nobody can sing 'Blue Christmas' like Elvis, so it was 'Santa Claus Is Back in Town.'"

Scotty has been an Elvis fan as long as he can remember. "When I was a kid, the rest of the kids were listening to Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync and I was Elvis Presley through and through. I was singing 'Hound Dog' in the back of the bus. My grandmother gave me a book when I was young, 'How to Be Like Elvis,' and I took it to heart. I was all things Elvis."

His obsession with the King of Rock 'n Roll even extended to his Halloween attire. "I dressed up like Elvis," he says. "I would have been probably around 8 or 10, and I'd go up to the door and say 'Trick or Treat,' and say, 'thank you, thank you very much' and I'd walk away."

Christmas with Scotty McCreery, which released this week, also includes such standards as "Winter Wonderland," "Jingle Bells," "Let It Snow," "The Christmas Song" and "O Holy Night." "I also recorded 'Mary, Did You Know.' I sang that at church. 'The First Noel' was one of my favorite Christmas songs growing up and I got a chance to sing that at a Christmas Eve service when I was younger at church. That's always a special one to me and singing that just felt right in the studio with the musicians in there. We all felt the same kind of spirit, the same kind of feeling when we were recording that one especially."

Scotty recorded the album during the summer when temperatures were soaring to over 100 degrees, but still found ways to get in the holiday spirit, "We did the Christmas lights. I had them all over my music stand when I was recording," says the singer.

His mother even helped Scotty and the musicians get in the Christmas mood. "Mom brought some christmas-with-scotty-mccreeryhats for everybody and then my tour manager does cupcakes, so she made us all Christmas cupcakes and Christmas cookies," the 19-year-old notess. "We just got into the spirit. It was 'ho, ho, ho' all over there."

Though he's known for being a traditionalist, his Christmas collection gives Scotty a chance to rock out a little bit on such lively tracks as the aforementioned "Santa Claus Is Back in Town" and a spirited rendition of "Holly Jolly Christmas." Scotty also introduces a couple of beautiful new tunes, "Christmas Comin' Round Again" and "Christmas in Heaven."

When he was getting ready to record the album, he had been writing a song called "Christmas in Heaven," but opted to record a different one instead. "I was writing about my grandfather that passed on, telling how I missed him here and wondering what Christmas was like in heaven," Scotty explains. "My choir director was at a conference for choir directors and we told her to be on the lookout for songs [because] we were doing a Christmas album. She sent us a couple things that were kind of cool, but then she sent me 'Christmas in Heaven' and after the first verse, I stopped and said, 'This is it!'"

Scotty didn't mind giving up the song he'd been writing in favor of recording the one his choir director had found. "The one she sent me was perfect," he says. "I'm still learning the craft of writing. I'm still young and I'm still hoping I can get around the Nashville scene and co-write because these guys here are incredible, but it said exactly what I wanted to say, so why mess with it?"

In less than two years, Scotty has proven he has a gift for finding the right songs and delivering memorable performances with his strong, distinctive voice. His 2011 debut album, Clear As Day, spent six weeks at the top of Billboard's country albums chart and was certified platinum for sales of more than 1 million units in just three months. It also debuted at No. 1 on the all-genre Top 200, making Scotty the youngest male artist in history to open at the top of the 200 with a debut release.

Even with such impressive out-of-the-box success in the music industry, Scotty chose to finish high school and started college this year at North Carolina State where he's majoring in communications. "I don't have much time. This year is crazy," he says of his schedule. "Last year we had a little time off, but I think now I have two weekends off the rest of the year. My schedule for college is Monday through Wednesday, so we do classes then and Wednesday is a crazy day because all my papers are due, quizzes are due, everything. I just have two days of class and then Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we're hitting the road or coming to Nashville. It's working out great so far. I'm really enjoying the balance we have right now."

Most college students try to shy away from early-morning classes, but not Scotty. "I have an 8 o'clock class and everybody doesn't like that but it's a golf class, so I can wake up for golf," he says with a big smile.

Scotty acknowledges that one of the things he loves about college is the freedom. "College is not necessarily just school anymore. It's your life. When you're there, you live there, you eat there, you study there. Your friends are there. Sometimes the freedom is a little too much, like the other night, we were playing basketball 'til three in the morning and I had to wake up for my 8 o'clock class. That was stupid of me, but we had fun doing it and that would have never happened back home."

The singer lives in an on-campus apartment and rooms with other students. "There's four of us in there and we have a good 'ole time," he says with a laugh.

With his hectic schedule, which includes weekends on Brad Paisley's Virtual Reality tour, Scotty hasn't had much time to enjoy fishing, hunting or any of his other hobbies this year, but he isn't complaining.

"I don't have much [free] time because I'm either hitting the road or in school, but to me that's exactly what I want to be doing," he says. "If I could have gone back two years from when I auditioned for 'Idol,' [and] planned my life, this is exactly how I would have wanted it."

The Virtual Reality tour wraps for 2012 this weekend. See the last remaining tour dates here.

Courtesy of The Denver Post

ScottMccreery-112511As it turns out, Scotty McCreery can have it all.

The platinum-selling teen and former "American Idol" champ began his freshman year at North Carolina State University recently and he's managed to work out a schedule that allows him to balance his college education with his country music education.

"I made a 98 on my first math test," McCreery said. "I was pumped about that because math is not one of my best things."

It's not the first test McCreery has passed on his quick rise to fame, first winning Season 10 of "Idol," then becoming the youngest male to enter the Billboard 200 at No. 1. While the siren call of celebrity has had a strong pull, McCreery has said all along he also wants to maintain the normal life he'd been planning before he was swept away by "Idol."

That's why he chose N.C. State over a school closer to Nashville. He lives in an off-campus apartment in Raleigh with lifelong friends, just 15 or 20 minutes from his home in Garner and only an hour from Music City by plane. He goes to class on Mondays and Wednesdays, where he's mostly been left alone to study by courteous fellow students. Then he either joins the Brad Paisley tour on the road or works with producer Mark Bright on writing and assembling songs for his next album.

He's even managed to slip in intramural football on Tuesdays. Well, most Tuesdays.

"Going to State, it gives me a chance to have a little bit of a home base, to have a little bit of normalcy—whatever normal is," McCreery said. "I think it's good for me as a person. I'm still figuring out what my normal is."

What isn't normal is the interest in McCreery by fans. His popularity is off the charts in the country music world where the average male star is usually in his 30s. McCreery doesn't turn 19 till later this month and there are signs everywhere that his popularity continues to grow. Billboard and Variety both just named him one of music's top young stars. And even his Christmas album, "Christmas with Scotty McCreery," due out next week, shows signs of unusually strong fan interest. It's Universal Music Group's top pre-order this year, outselling even Lady Gaga and Kanye West.

The goal now, McCreery says, is to lock in those fans, which requires him to seek a well-rounded education. Monday through Wednesday he's working on 12 credit hours toward his communications degree. Thursday through Sunday, it's all about learning the secrets of longevity in the country world.

About the only accolade McCreery doesn't have is a top 10 song at country radio, something he knows he'll need if he wants to be doing this at 40.

"We're still looking for songs because that's what the second album is about for me," McCreery said. "I'm going to be picking and choosing. Country music is about the songs. This last year I've had sold-out shows, I've won awards and stuff, but I haven't had that huge monster hit yet. That's a song I really need to have."

Read more: The double life of country star Scotty McCreery - The Denver Post

By Alison Bonaguro

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that's happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Everyone already knows what high scores Scotty McCreery received on American Idol. But did you know he is becoming kind of a math 280x210whiz? Neither did he. When he got a 98 percent on a recent math test at North Carolina State University, he was kind of surprised. "I was pumped about that because math is not one of my best things," he told The Associated Press. Beyond getting good grades in math, McCreery is taking all his college courses toward his communications degree on Mondays and Wednesdays (which allows him some free time for intramural football on Tuesdays) so he can spend the long weekends touring or making new music in Nashville. And how's that coming? "We're still looking for songs because that's what the second album is about for me," he said. "I'm going to be picking and choosing. Country music is about the songs. This last year, I've had sold-out shows, I've won awards and stuff, but I haven't had that huge monster hit yet. That's a song I really need to have." Too bad there's not a course titled monster hit songwriting at NCSU.

Scotty Fan Club Pre-Sale Tickets for November 23rd in New York City at the Beacon Theater will go on sale on Thursday, October 11th at Noon Eastern. 

Click here to purchase tickets.  The password is water

Courtesy of The Tennessean

Scotty-McCreery2-197x300Fans of country music singer Scotty McCreery have already snapped up all the tickets to his two performances later this month at the N.C. State Fair. Now they also have the chance to look at some of his memorabilia.

An exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History spotlights objects donated by the 2011 "American Idol" winner, including the outfit he wore for his final duet on the television show on May 25, 2011. He sang "Live Like You Were Dying" with country music star Tim McGraw. That outfit consists of a black leather jacket, jeans, T-shirt and cross necklace

The exhibit also includes the lyric sheet for "Live Like You Were Dying," along with his gold record for his first album, "Clear as Day."

The exhibit closes Jan. 4.

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