Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina: Big ‘Idols’ Make Even Better Role Models
Life after the post-show American Idol Tour has continued to be a whirlwind for season 10 winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina.
The talented teens have each been promoting their debut albums, which release a week apart. Scotty’s Clear As Day bowed October 4 and Lauren’s Wildflower hit stores October 11.
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Songs like “That Old King James” about a grandfather’s Bible handed down from generation to generation and “Water Tower Town,” a reflection of Scotty’s small-town roots growing up in Garner, NC, an ode to the water tower across from where Scotty played baseball in his youth.
When he heard the song “Dirty Dishes,” he kicked another song off the album to make room for it. “Mama heard it and she sat down crying,” he shares. Scotty says the song about a mother’s prayer as her family sits down to dinner “struck a nerve... It brought back a lot of good memories.”
“I just wanted to give them a little piece of me,” he says of what he hopes to deliver fans.
“It was a really cool thing that Mark and I got together because he’d worked with Carrie Underwood and had been through my exact situation,” Scotty says of Bright working with Underwood after her American Idol win. “Also he’s had a background in Christian music, so he knew exactly where I was coming from in the country format as well as my background in church and the Christian aspect in my life.”
“I represent all the young girls. My mom and my managers have made that very clear to me,” the 16-year-old Georgia native says. “I can’t sing songs that are inappropriate for young girls to listen to. I have adult fans too, but I feel like the adults would respect me more singing songs that are appropriate for my age than singing grown-up songs. I wouldn’t want to do that anyway because I’m a Christian and I feel I represent a different lifestyle. That was the biggest thing I was worried about – finding songs that were appropriate for me – but my label is awesome and they did a really good job helping me out with that.”
Lauren began writing songs at age nine. “One of my aunts had a car wreck and I wrote a song for her called ‘Miracle’ that made my whole family cry. When that happened, it made me realize that was something I needed to be doing. I became addicted to it,” she says. Her debut album includes “Funny Thing About Love,” which she co-wrote with Brett James (“Jesus Take the Wheel”) and Luke Laird (“Mama’s Song”).
Lauren recorded the album during downtime on the American Idol tour, working with veteran producer Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Faith Hill). One of her favorite songs on the album, “Eighteen Inches,” was written by one of her heroes.
“When they were sending me songs, someone gave me a heads up that one of them was written by Carrie Underwood and I got really excited,” Lauren says of the tune. “I liked the song before I even heard it because I knew she wrote it and I’m such a huge fan of hers. Then I heard it and it has such a beautiful message. I have a friend that that entire story happened to her. It reminds me of her so much.”
Lauren hopes her music will speak to other young girls and help build their self-esteem.
“When you talk to me, you wouldn’t know I’m insecure ’cause I hide it very well, but I really am,” she admits. “I get insecure and the people closest to me know that. I tried not to show that on [American Idol], but it showed a little bit. It’s normal for a teenage girl. I learned a lot over the past year being on American Idol. I am who I am. People voted me as runner-up. I’m not perfect. No one is, but people still love me the way I am. If other people can love me, if strangers can love me, I need to know to love myself. I feel like that song represents that completely and that’s the biggest thing I want to share with young girls.”
Life Lessons on a Big Stage
“On the mound, I’ve been in situations where it’s bases loaded, no outs and all eyes are on me,” says the young pitcher. “If I mess up, it’s my fault we lose the game and if I happen to strike out the next three, I’m the hero. It’s a lot of pressure. It built me up to be able to go on stage and have the confidence that I have getting up there in front of thousands of people. Trust me, I still get butterflies and still get nervous as all get out, but it’s been a nice training ground to [prepare me to] get up on that stage. Baseball is not just a sport. You learn a lot about yourself and a lot of character so it was great to be able to grow up doing that.”
“I totally get why Scotty would want to go back for his senior year,” she says. “Next year will be my senior year so I maybe I’ll go back next year, but this year I’m really focused on what I have to do. I want to do as much as I can for my fans and get out there as much as I possibly can to promote my album. Next year, if I’m not too busy, I’ll go back to school and if I am, I’ll continue to do my schooling online. I’ll go to my prom and walk with my class and graduate on time and go to college, but I’ve got to do what’s best for my career at this point.”
“They voted me through and I feel like we needed to put out an album that they would like to listen to,” Scotty says of his fans. “It is a lot of pressure though. A lot of people are expecting big things and hopefully we’ll live up to that.”
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