Scotty McCreery Shares How ‘Five More Minutes’ Saved His Career

Scotty McCreery


Scotty McCreery broke onto the music scene in 2011 ago when he auditioned for “American Idol.” He wowed the judges with his take on Josh Turner’s “Your Man” as he went on to become the season 10 winner.

In the years since his life-changing moment, the road to success was long, as he documented in his May 2023 appearance on “CMT Stages.” The 20-minute episode sees him reflect on his start with Idol and the ensuing years, which include his run of five straight No. 1 songs between late 2021 and the most recent, “Damn Strait,” which reached the top spot in July 2022.

Scotty McCreery Wins ‘American Idol’ & Sees His Life Change

A year after winning a local version of the hit singing competition, McCreery busted onto the scene by earning his ticket to Hollywood, where he would eventually impress in each round right through the “American Idol” finale. He was in the Top 3 with Lauren Alaina and Haley Reinhart. McCreery remains the show’s youngest male winner to date at 18-years-old and 3 months, one month younger than season 17 winner Laine Hardy.

“It was crazy, really crazy coming off of that show,” McCreery said on “CMT Stages,” adding that he was “like a fish out of water” in the days after winning the competition.

With paparazzi following him, McCreery, who was still attending high school at the time, said he had two guards escort him to “every class.” While he said he wanted to have a normal life, his weekly routine became touring on the weekends and attending high school classes and playing baseball Monday through Wednesday.

“It was go, go, go, I mean nonstop,” McCreery said. “It was cool but I just wasn’t prepared for it.”

Scotty McCreery Was Dropped From His Label

The instant success stemming from his “American Idol” win, which also included opening on tour for Brad Paisley, came to a halt with the poor response to his 2015 single “Southern Belle.” That same year his record label, Mercury Nashville, which is under the Universal Music Group, dropped him.

“It kind of brought me down to rock bottom pretty quick,” McCreery said on “CMT Stages.”

He said 2016 “was probably the worst year of my life.”

“Then I realized that that stack of papers that was as tall as me that I signed for Idol and stuff, I realized what it had said,” McCreery said. “It’s not that easy to just go find a new label.”

Scotty McCreery Is Saved With ‘Five More Minutes’

The turning point of his career came in 2017. He had “Five More Minutes” waiting in the wings but couldn’t find a label to get back in the game. He made the decision to publish independently.

“To put a song out independently, 99 times out of 100 is not going to work out,” he said. “Things are stacked against you but I said this is a risk worth taking and if I’m gonna bet on a song to kind of save my career it’s gonna be this song.”

His gamble paid off. His song became the first in country to ever chart on the Country Aircheck/Mediabase Top 50 without a label, according to The Tennesseean. Then it became a No. 1 single. McCreery, who welcomed his first child with wife Gabi Dugal on October 24, 2022, then signed with Triple Tigers, he announced. Hallmark even put out a movie that was inspired by the single.

“I think it all worked out like it was supposed to work out,” McCreery said during the “CMT Stages” interview. “I can look back and smile now and see things that I thought were so bad and realize they were really blessings in disguise.”

Since then, he has continued to build off of the success of “Five More Minutes” with four straight No. 1 singles following his reemergence, including “This is It,” “In Between,” “You Time” and “Damn Strait.”

“If somebody would’ve told me back in 2011, ‘Hey man, in 2023 you’re gonna have five straight No. 1s, I would’ve signed up for that in a heartbeat,” he said. “Am I where I wanna be? No. I wanna continue to grow, continue to set the bar higher for myself.”

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