Scotty McCreery captured the music audience's attention while competing on Season 10 of "American Idol" in 2011.
The Garner, N.C. native also won the hearts of female teen viewers with his bass vocals and charming personality. McCreery went on to win "Idol" that year becoming the youngest male winner at 17 and the youngest country artist to take top prize in the popular television vocal competition.
These days, McCreery, 19, is a college student at North Carolina State University, and is also busy touring the nation bringing his fresh country sounds to crowds. He'll perform at 8 p.m. Saturday at Star Plaza Theatre in Merrillville.
"We're definitely looking forward to going up there and playing the music for the fans," said McCreery, during a recent telephone interview.
McCreery's Weekend Roadtrip Tour is his first headlining tour, which currently has dates scheduled through October. Last year, the country singer toured as an opening act for Brad Paisley. Opening for McCreery on this tour will be Sarah Darling.
"I love touring and I've got a great band. I love getting out there and taking the bus on the road," he said, adding he'll be performing tunes from his hit first album "Clear as Day" as well as songs by artists who have influenced him.
That debut CD "Clear as Day" hit the top of the Billboard 200 when it came out and remained at No. 1 for six weeks.
"It's been wonderful to sit back and watch this CD take on a life of its own," McCreery said. "I never could have expected the success that happened with it."
While McCreery released "Christmas with Scotty McCreery" last season, he said he's also currently hard at work on a new album.
"It's going to come out in late summer or early fall," the singer said.
"One of the things that's going to be different with this album is I get to write and get to put my own stamp on it."
When writing songs, McCreery said he's influenced by situations in "everyday" life.
In addition to enjoying the touring and the creation of new music, McCreery is also having fun working on his "ScotTV" project, a new webisode series that can be accessed at scottymccreery.com.
"We have a camera on the road with us and the fans get a chance to see me offstage and backstage. So far, the fans are enjoying it," he said. There are a few episodes completed already and they'll be released weekly.
Being a contestant on "American Idol," McCreery said, was quite an experience and an honor.
"'Idol' was a huge stepping stone for me. It's the reason I'm here. It was my platform," he said. Through "Idol," he said the general public has the opportunity to see new artists who may not have the chance to be seen by the outside world through other platforms.
"It helps us in a big way," he said.
McCreery is thankful for the positive response he's gotten from audiences for not only his recorded music but his concerts.
"The fans have been incredible. We've had packed houses and I like seeing the smiles on their faces." McCreery said he's intent on trying to bring a little joy to people.
"It's nice to be able to put a smile on their faces for the night because you never know what's going on in their lives."