Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina: Big ‘Idols’ Make Even Better Role Models

By Deborah Evans Price | senior editor,
Posted: Fri, 10/14/2011 - 12:51

Scotty McCreery

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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“We’ve been working on this thing since day one after the show,” Scotty says of his full-length debut album. (An EP was released in June to satisfy fans until his full album was ready.) “We’re really proud of what we’ve got.”

McCreery’s Clear As Day
Rightfully so. Produced by former head of Christian label Word Records, Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood, Rascal Flatts), the impressive collection suits Scotty’s values and showcases his considerable vocal gift.

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.
Scotty says Bright was a perfect choice as producer.

“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.”

Lauren’s Wildflower
Much like Scotty, Lauren is cognizant of her status as a role model for young people and wanted the songs on her debut album to reflect her values.

“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’s debut single, “Like My Mother Does,” showcases her impressive voice and the emotion she brings to a well-crafted lyric. “It’s a beautiful song. As soon as I heard it, I fell in love with it because my mom and I are best friends,” she says. “We do pretty much everything together, especially over the past year because we packed up and moved to California. I tell her everything and we talk about everything, but being on American Idol, I feel like it brought us even closer.”

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.”
The title track, “Wildflower,” hits even closer to home. “In elementary school I was a tomboy,” she reveals. “I know that’s hard to believe ’cause I’m not a big tomboy now. I played softball. I didn’t ever fix my hair and I didn’t care about matching my clothes. I was like that until my grandmother passed away. She wasn’t like that at all and when she passed away, I wanted to be like her so I started fixing my hair and wearing nice clothes, which my mom was really thankful for. The song talks about young girl like that. I can relate to that ’cause that was me before.”

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
Scotty says playing sports helped him prepare for the inevitable insecurities felt in the music business.

“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.”
Scotty turns 18 on October 9 and Mercury Records Nashville planned a hometown celebration commemorating his birthday and the launch of his debut album.
Although he’s enjoying his burgeoning career as one of country music’s most promising new artists, Scotty is also looking forward to his senior year of high school, and hopes his days on the mound aren’t over yet.
“It looks like I’ll be back next season for most of the games,” says Scotty, who will be opening for Brad Paisley on tour. “We’re looking at the [concert] dates for next year if and it looks like that will be done about a quarter way through the baseball season, so I should be able to get back in uniform and see if I have anything left in the arm.”
“I’ve got one more class to graduate, but I’m taking a full load because I plan on applying to college,” he says. “School is important. It makes you a life long learner and it’s not just learning chemistry, it’s learning about life. It’s going to probably take me a few years extra [to get a degree] because I’ll be working and doing the singing thing, but we’re definitely heading that way.”
Lauren, who is a high school junior this year, has opted for a different course of action and is taking her classes online.

“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.”

Great Expectations
Both young artists are excited about the platform that American Idol has given them to launch their music careers.

“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.”
“I’m going to work my hardest to keep putting out music for my fans and make them proud,” Lauren says, “because they are the reason I’m doing what I’m doing right now. They’ve made it all possible for me and I’m so thankful to them.”

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There is a very large population of McCreery fans that detest seeing these two linked together. We feel that Lauren isn't a good role model for teens, despite her echo's of Scotty's platform. She embarrassed herself, Scotty, AI and country music when on AI, esp. on tour and almost every time she opens her mouth. Few comment on this as we're adults w/busy lives. I happen to be sick and stuck having to be in bed today. Actually, much of her teen support was lost as well when she behaved badly on tour. At least some young girls have some class.There were any number of incidents which have elicited negative comments. But, those they get it, do and those that don't probably never will til she falls off pedestal. She is extremely disingenuous and it does not take a psychologist to recognize. Yes, there are the McLaina Fans and they will not cease fantasy. Also, certain ppl seem to think that if one mimics Scotty's platform of faith, it's sincere, failing to notice Lauren didn't adopt this Christian "show and tell", until it was clearly selling for Scotty. However, if one cares to see, they will note that after Lauren attempted to start rumors that Scotty was her b/f on his big night with Natl media present, he's attempted to put distance btwn them. He clearly wasn't offering any more than friendship and good sportsmanship of which she took complete advantage. Yes, she's now gone on record saying he never was her b/f and media gives her credit for setting record straight! What was she gonna do; keep on claiming " he might be my b/f, he might not" after he had denied 100 times and eventually had had to say, it never happened and never will. The media must think we're all brain dead. Don't expect much traffic from educated adults or even well raised young ladies by placing these two in same field. I'll certainly not be stopping by for more shortsighted journalism.

Posted: 10 weeks 3 days ago