VIDEO: Scotty McCreery in concert Friday in Longview

Published on Thursday, 13 February 2014 10:14 - Written by

(AP) -- As a boy, Scotty McCreery spent countless hours listening to Elvis Presley— trying to parrot his style and ability.

“As a kid, I listened to him and pretty much nobody else,” McCreery said Tuesday. “That’s given me a little confidence. I love being on stage and performing.”

As one of Nashville’s youngest stars, Scotty McCreery captured the hearts of millions while winning the 2011 American Idol competition.

Fans in Northeast Texas will have the opportunity to see McCreery perform live for the first time in Longview Friday night at LeTourneau University’s S.E. Belcher Center.

The concert will begin 7:30 p.m. Friday and the Garner, N.C., native said he always loves doing shows in Texas.

“This will be the first time coming to Longview,” he said. “My band and I are looking forward to the show.”

Country music fans know him for his powerful, baritone voice — something McCreery said first became noticeable between the ages of 13 and 14.

“Mine (voice) just changed a lot more drastically,” he said. “I had a normal voice for a boy that age, but it sort of fell off a cliff after that.”

McCreery’s album sales have topped 1.6 million copies over the last two years, including a platinum-selling debut album that made Billboard history and helped him win several new artist awards.

Cynthia Hellen, senior director for S.E. Belcher Center, said McCreery’s success on American Idol has led to the Belcher Center receiving fan requests to add the rising Country star to the performance center’s schedule.

“The American Idol winners are always popular,” she said. “I was really excited to put it on our schedule this year.”

Hellen Tuesday said about 500 tickets for the concert remained available for purchase.

While Elvis was his first and greatest musical influence, McCreery said it has been great to meet and tour with living country music legends such as Brad Paisley.

He admitted he was a little star-struck when he met George Strait for the first time.

“That has been a really surreal and an awesome experience,” he said. “Those are two great guys, and I had a lot of fun when I toured with Brad Paisley in 2012. Everything I liked about him be fore was reinforced.”

Going forward, McCreery said he hopes to continue writing and recording songs that will help him achieve more time on the radio.

“I’ve been really fortunate with awards but I really haven’t had big radio success yet,” he said. “Having more of my songs played on the country radio stations will open the door for more music. With country music, I think the radio is the biggest way fans learn your music. But radio stations want to know who they are playing and that is a relationship you are always building.”