Mike McCreery ’88 watched in amazement as thousands of people gathered at Lake Benson Park in Garner in May to see his son perform. Scotty McCreery was a finalist on American Idol at the time, but his dad was still surprised by the outpouring of support during a visit to their hometown.
“To know all of that is for your son, it’s pretty overwhelming,” Mike McCreery said. McCreery said his son had to run through a gauntlet of fans to get to the stage, and that one of the fans inadvertently scratched Scotty on the face.
“Good grief, it’s just my kid,” Mike McCreery said.
Such was the whirlwind that surrounded Scotty McCreery – and his family – as the Garner high school student went on to win American Idol and the adoration of fans across the country.
Now, as Scotty gets ready to perform Wednesday night at the RBC Center in Raleigh as part of the American Idol tour, his dad talked with us about the wild ride his family has been on for the past few months and what the future may hold for his son.
Part of that hometown visit in May included a stop at NC State, where Mike McCreery studied speech communications. The plan was to throw out the first pitch at an NC State baseball game, but a rainout led to some impromptu fun. Scotty McCreery was joined by members of the Wolfpack team as they slid across the wet tarp covering the field.
“I think he had more fun because the game got rained on then he would have if the game had gone on,” Mike McCreery said. “Just seeing him let loose and be a kid again after all the pressure of the show – it was just awesome.”
McCreery used up all his vacation from his job at Schneider Electric so he could be at most of the American Idol shows with his son. McCreery recalls the odd sight of seeing Lady Gaga coaching his son on performing and then watching his son pal around with judges Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler.
“Scotty was just sort of hanging out with them like I might hang out with my old baseball buddies,” he said. “It doesn’t phase him.”
One of the highlights for Mike McCreery was when Priscilla Presley approached him after one of the shows. “She said, ‘I just want you to know that Elvis would have loved your son’s music.’ That was one of the neatest things to have her say that to me.”
But the most enjoyable part of the experience for Mike McCreery was seeing how his son handled the sudden rise to fame.
“There are a lot of people who can sing,” he said, “but to go through that pressure and handle himself with the composure he did, that to me was the most satisfying part of it by far. I’m real proud of how he conducted himself on the show and off the show.”
McCreery said the American Idol tour is getting good reviews and that his son is enjoying the ride. As for the future, McCreery said he doubts his son will follow in his footsteps and go to college at NC State. He said the family is looking at Belmont University in Nashville, where Scotty could go to school part-time while pursuing his singing career.
“It’s all part of God’s plan for him,” Mike McCreery said. “We’re just following the plan that’s been laid out.”
But McCreery says Scotty may still make it to NC State on occasion: “It doesn’t mean he can’t go to football game with his dad.”