Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina: Nashville Prospects

With Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina still holding strong at #1 and #4 respectively at Itunes, our attention turns to what’s next for these two country kids. Where will they be headed next, who will they be working with, what kind of reception can they expect in different parts of the country world? Follow our discussion which includes label talk, what producer was brought in for Scotty’s debut single, the writers of “I Love You This Big”, the name and story behind the other song Scotty has already recorded, and information about who’s been involved looking for songs for Scotty and Lauren. It’s all after the jump. WARNING: This post is THIS BIG ;)

Record Label: Where will Scotty and Lauren be signed? The Mediabase add board lists both Scotty and Lauren as 19/Interscope/Mercury. Here’s a quick primer: Mercury is presumably Mercury Nashville which currently has the following other acts on its roster: Laura Bell Bundy, Easton Corbin, Billy Currington, Julianne Hough, Jamey Johnson, Randy Montana, Sugarland, Shania Twain, and roots/pop singer/songwriter Holly Williams (daughter of Hank Williams, Jr.) Let’s just focus on their newer acts to see how Mercury’s been doing with them. Julianne Hough scored a top-20 hit with her debut single in 2008 but hasn’t had any luck on country radio with 2 singles since then and appears to focusing on a film career. Easton Corbin, a neotraditional singer who’s known to sound a lot like George Strait, is the most successful and well known of the newbies with 2 #1 hits. His current single made the top 15 but has peaked, and his album is close to 400k in sales. Broadway alum country/soul/pop singer/songwriter Laura Bell Bundy got lots of TV attention on CMT and a big production performance on the ACMs last year but has yet to crack the top 30 with one of her songs. However, her album received good reviews last year and she’s at work on a new album. Randy Montana is the singer-songwriter whose 1st single didn’t go anywhere and his current single has slowly cracked the top 40.

Based on a quick peek at MCA Nashville’s roster Mercury Nashville’s a little less busy pushing current singles and it’s a little less loaded with new acts so it does make sense to place Scotty and Lauren there.

But what does it mean if they’re also currently showing Interscope as their label? Lauren’s crossover style fits with her being signed to Interscope and a UMG Nashville label, but Scotty’s traditional country voice makes it hard to see him ever making a dent on any pop chart. This may just be a formality for their coronation singles until the legal stuff gets worked out. But on the other hand, will Jimmy Iovine be OK with letting UMG Nashville have the benefit of not one but both of the Idol top 2 contestants when Jimmy’s the one who put his face out there and joined up with 19? There’s also the money issue: will Jimmy be willing to give up the money Scotty and Lauren could make, especially if they are this season’s best sellers in addition to top vote getters? Will he be content to work with popular and/or buzz-generating runners up like Haley Reinhart, James Durbin, and Pia Toscano all of whom appear to have singles in the works?

Based on Season 4 the answer is probably not. We know the story with Carrie Underwood: RCA Music Group wouldn’t give up a cash cow so she signed with Arista New York, fought to do country, performed at CMA Fest, got signed to Arista Nashville, debut album was split 50-50 between country and pop, Sony Nashville head Joe Galante executive produced the country half, Mark Bright produced the country half, Dann Huff produced the pop half. They tried split singles, Carrie only promoted to country, that’s what stuck, Carrie had a huge fight with Arista New York when they wanted to remix Before He Cheats, she won, she renegotiated so she’s now signed with 19 and Arista Nashville only.

With Scotty’s and Lauren’s Itunes numbers out of the gate looking good, Jimmy is unlikely to be willing to UMG Nashville get all the glory. Arguably both of our top 2 this season could at least get a single on Radio Disney but Jimmy can always get involved in working out other non-radio promotional angles to promote exposure. He can and possibly also will get a mix of writers and producers on their albums. Which brings us to:

Writers/Producers: R&B producer Rodney Jerkins told THR that Jimmy instructed him to write songs for Scotty and Lauren (source). He and “Tricky” Stewart (who produced Lauren’s 1st single “Like My Mother Does”) join an increasingly long list of urban/pop writers/producers who have been trying to get into the country scene, a list that also includes Claude Kelly, Ne-Yo, and Brian Kennedy.

That crossover also happened with Scotty’s coronation single “I Love You This Big.” According to the Warner Chappell FB page the song is cowritten by hiphop producer Ronnie Jackson (a.k.a. Lil Ronnie) and well-known country songwriter Brett James (Carrie’s “Jesus Take The Wheel,” “Flat On The Floor”, “Cowboy Casanova”, plus hits for Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, and Josh Gracin), while Lil Ronnie says on Twitter that R&B/hiphop writer James Rayshawn Smith also produced/cowrote the song. Though Lil Ronnie’s twitter says he was part of producing Scotty’s single, the American Idol news page says

“I Love You This Big” is his new single produced by Mark Bright. 

Mark Bright is the producer on all three of Carrie’s albums so far and in the last few years he’s also produced Reba, Billy Ray Cyrus, and Danny Gokey. That explains why Mark Bright was in this picture by SYTYCD judge Mary Murphy at the Hollywood Walk Of Fame event honoring Simon Fuller Monday (he’s the guy in the black sweater looking sideways). The fact that Mark Bright was brought in to produce Scotty’s single is probably confirmation that Scotty’s lead in the votes was so steady, they knew he was likely to win.

Music Row is also reporting Scotty recorded a song cowritten by Tim Nichols (Tim McGraw‘s megahit “Live Like You Were Dying”,Chris Young’s #1 hit “The Man I Want To Be”) and Jonathan Singleton (singer/songwriter who cowrote Josh Turner’s #1 hit “Why Don’t We Just Dance?”, Billy Currington’s #2 hit “Don’t”, Gary Allan’s #2 hit “Watching Airplanes”, and David Nail’s top 10 hit “Red Light”). Called “Out Of Summertime”, this must be the song that Tim Nichols tweeted about Scotty recording last week. Based on the title alone it may have lost out to “I Love You This Big” because it wasn’t inspirational/Idol journey-ish enough. But that Music Row article says the demo was very popular with the Belmont University students who heard it in an internship run by BMI’s Beth Mason Laird and Leslie Roberts. Looks like they might have a solid backup if “I Love You This Big” doesn’t sustain airplay.

We also hear Dallas Davidson who got some coverage here when news came out that he’d been writing with Casey James is lined up to work with Scotty. In addition to his string of recent #1 hits, Davidson cowrote Lady Antebellum’s current single “Just A Kiss”.

Add to the mix that people who have known Scotty since before he auditioned for AI (like his guitar teacher Gary Epperson and his high school friend Jay Booth have said that he’s a songwriter. Nigel Lythgoe also noted in an interview with TVLine.com’s Michael Slezak that he thought Scotty could write, while saying he wasn’t as sure about Lauren though she could be placed in cowrite situations to help with lyrics.

Too, UMG Nashville has also been involved according to Phyllis Stark’s aside in her controversial column documenting country radio’s opinion of Scotty and Lauren:

In fact, the A&R team at Universal Music Group Nashville is already actively looking for songs for both teens.

Also involved is 19′s Iain Pirie: he’s actually the one who reached out to Beth Mason Laird for songs for Scotty and Lauren.

Jimmy Iovine and his coterie of writer/producers, UMG Nashville’s go-to writers/producers, 19′s go-to writers/producers. That adds up to a whole lot of people involved and possibly some competing agendas. Don’t be surprised if Scotty’s and Lauren’s debut albums end up being the product of compromises just like Carrie’s Some Hearts album did. For Carrie what mattered the most was that she had good to great country songs and the same applies to Scotty and Lauren. Another important factor will be how Jimmy and UMG Nashville CEO/Chairman Luke Lewis coordinate the activity and personnel on the album and how hands on each of them are respectively. Then there’s how the gatekeepers in the country world will be.

How will people in the country genre react to Scotty and Lauren? That discussion got off to quite the start with that Phyllis Stark article, which had comments from a few PD/MDs mocking Scotty’s appearance, calling him a poor man’s Josh Turner, and saying that Lauren, while talented, didn’t seem ready for the big stages. That resulted in immediate backlash, documented again by Phyllis Stark which featured other PDs/MDs calling their peers mean and crazy for not giving 2 young artists with the AI platform and fanbases the chance to grow and actually release music. If Jimmy (not the ex-President) Carter’s latest column is any indication, Scotty did himself some favors by holding his own in his finale performance with Tim McGraw:

The “Idol” insanity: Lots of crazy radio people popping off and made to look like fools saying what they would or would not do with the new “Idol” singers. Several stars were created this year. They may or may not burn out as fast as they were created. Scotty held up his part with the Tim McGraw duet. Only true haters couldn’t compliment the young North Carolina man.

But skeptics remain, as evidenced by the latest column by CMT Editorial Director Chet Flippo, who has frequently spoken up against Idols going country because they “have nothing better to do” (though he was impressed by Crystal Bowersox’s “Farmer’s Daughter”).

Established and up and coming artists in the country world have been more supportive. After surprising Scotty at his Idol homecoming concert, Josh Turner tweeted his congratulations to Scotty. The Band Perry and Martina McBride both tweeted to compliment Lauren on her performances of songs they performed and cowrote. Thompson Square tweeted a compliment to Scotty for his cover of their hit. Jewel worries about Scotty and Lauren being able to find their own niches but still sees them as “valuable” to the country genre. Carrie has obviously been supportive of both.

Despite questions about country radio’s willingness to play their songs, Scotty and Lauren have both received a nice number of initial spins from country radio as documented by Kirsten here. Scotty’s picked up more spins according to the Mediabase spincrease chart and was actually the Greatest Gainer on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart for the week as of this morning while Lauren’s already scored 2 official adds from early reporters: one’s from her hometown station in Chattanooga and the other’s from WKIS Miami (the #12 market).

In addition to national media, Scotty and Lauren will have the opportunity to really introduce themselves to country fans at the upcoming CMA Music Fest. Scotty and Lauren both confirmed in their conference calls that they’d be attending, with Scotty mentioning they’re looking into setting up autograph sessions for both of them and also possibly debuting at the Grand Ole Opry. With the CMT Awards set to take place on June 8th, don’t be surprised if they also make an appearance there. Expect a good amount of coverage by Nashville media and some leaks about the level of UMG Nashville’s involvement with Scotty and Lauren since a lot of that’s likely to be worked out then.

That about covers it! What do you think about Scotty and Lauren’s chances in the country world? How involved do you think Jimmy will be in their careers? Who would you like to see them working with?

  • Nostradamas

    They’d both be described by yet another KLC song…15 minutes of fame…

  • http://www.twilightslo.com Mateja

    Lauren’s single “Like My Mother Does” was written by Nathan Chapman, Nikki Williams, Liz Rose. At least that’s what I found on Pulse.

  • wolfsbane813

    i really really hope that the find some level of success and longevity. i really like lauren and scotty (tho not as much as lauren)

  • keware

    First off….great article MJ. Quite a lot of information here!
    I’m excited to see what happens in the upcoming year with Scotty. He seems to be off to a good start and with so many successful people working with him, he’s in good hands. I hope!

  • http://www.twilightslo.com Mateja

    ‘Idol’ Winner Scotty McCreery Aiming For Hot 100′s Top 10

    Projections:

    “I Love You This Big” – 180K
    “Like My Mother Does” – 140K

  • HR

    That projection for Scotty is pretty close to what Carrie debuted with her coronation single. Lauren’s is close to Bo. Interesting.

    There is nothing about these kids that is controversial enough to blacklist them from country radio. A few people with an anti-Idol bias aren’t going to hurt them.

    They need what everyone needs. Good material, backing of competant management and labels and a strong fanbase as they attempt to gain a foothold in this business. Based on the coronation singles I’m a little worried about the material. Wishing them well. I like these kids.

  • keware

    First off….great article MJ

    Whoops. Great article Windmills!

  • Lucy1234

    I really like Lauren and hope she is successful. I also actually like her single and feel an emotional connection to it. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I guess as far as the spins goes we shall have to wait and see if spins continue after the newness of the show wears off. It is nice to see Lauren hanging in there with Scotty on Itunes. I know they always sign the runner-up to a record deal but will be nice when the announce it since it is not a guarantee on the runner-up I guess. I was wondering what label they would be assigned to. I think it would be better for Scotty and Lauren if they were with a Nashville label only but like said above, doesn’t look like Jimmy or UMG is going to let that happen, at least not initially. If we would have been dealing with Sony they would have gone directly to Nashville but with UMG we just don’t know what they are going to do. I have a question though, how come Taylor Swift is listed under UMG if she is with Big Machine? She is listed on their website.

  • TyraRay

    I font really care about Lauren or Scotty…
    But I REALLY hope Haley does well .

  • Eileen99

    Awesome stuff, Windmills! I’m pretty excited by the number of spins each got yesterday, and more than a few stations played Scotty’s song 7+ times. One of our stations in Seattle, KMPS, played it as a test track yesterday and again this afternoon. Hopefully the response is positive, I thought the song sounded good on the radio and am anxious to see if the good spins yesterday continue & grow today.

    Projections:
    “I Love You This Big” – 180K
    “Like My Mother Does” – 140K

    I saw that article Billboard just tweeted out. Those numbers look great to me.

  • http://myspace.com/girlgeek mj

    First off….great article MJ. Quite a lot of information here!

    NOT ME! Our Nashville Guru, Windmills, wrote the article! She put together an awesome article full of good stuff.

    I know very little about the country music world.

  • Pam

    Thanks windmills for great the writeup even if it is long ;). When it was mentioned in the Mediabase thread about these adds that Scotty and Lauren had received, I immediately noticed the Interscope/Mercury tag for both and wondered if these 2 were going with the same label or not. I suppose it does make sense if this is just a placeholder for both just in the interim.

    It’s been quite interesting that we ended up having two country teens in the top 2 this year not to mention the fact they were both under 18. I do understand with Scotty’s traditional sound that it could be somewhat of a challenge for him at least in the beginning. I see Lauren potentially to be the most successful of the two but hopefully both of them could have some at least moderate radio success. They both seem like great kids and I hope they both have great careers.

  • gabriel oak

    I’m still waiting for Casey James album, which I have much more interest in hearing than any more music by Scotty and Lauren!

  • Kirsten

    Great article and wonderful investigation. Thanks for writing this, windmills!

    Projections:
    “I Love You This Big” – 180K
    “Like My Mother Does” – 140K

    Wow! That’s great. Big improvement over last year. I was kind of thinking about 175K for Scotty based on the pop-bar ratios, but I didn’t want to jinx anything. Awesome sauce for a country song. I love good number news!

    But skeptics remain, as evidenced by the latest column by CMT Editorial Director Chet Flippo, who has frequently spoken up against Idols going country because they “have nothing better to do”

    I can see that with some of the Idols who suddenly became Country, but I’m hoping that Lauren and Scotty will be spared that since those two have been country through-and-through the entire time (and skeptics like this is probably one of the reasons the show made no attempt to push them out of that lane).

  • blmetsfan

    Well, I wish them both success. Seems like a long time since a new Idol really emerged with great sales, so good luck to them, and great article windmills.

  • http://www.dallascowboys.com GeminiDolly

    I predict scotty will be be very successful. Not as sucessful as Carrie, but who is? Lauren will have Kelly Pickler type success.

  • Allison

    Thanks for all that info, windmills. I’m hoping Scotty does have songwriting chops. They are so likeable it’s hard to think they country market will not embrace them both.

  • luly

    I wish both of them a lot of success!

  • Eileen99

    I can see that with some of the Idols who suddenly became Country, but I’m hoping that Lauren and Scotty will be spared that since those two have been country through-and-through the entire time

    Yeah, I agree. I can’t imagine any pushback with regard to authenticity issues. I think the nice sales this week are going to help with radio play, too. It’s hard to take a pissy stance as a PD when the kids are selling well & the songs are being well received on the radio (assuming that’s the case).

  • girlygirl

    those projections seem a little too high, especially for Lauren. It would be nice if they come true, though.

    Good luck to both of them!

    ETA – I don’t think country radio would regard them as people who are doing country simply because there’s nowhere else for them to fit. Scotty and Lauren are obviously both country singers. If they face any resistance, it would probably be more because of general Idol fatigue (and/or unappealing songs) than because they were considered “posers”

  • Joyed

    This was a great read, windmills! Your country roundups are going to have to get longer. ;)

    I really like both of them and I think they are authentically country. I am glad their songs are doing so well on iTunes. I can’t wait to learn more about how they will be marketed to country.

  • OldHag

    …CMT Editorial Director Chet Flippo, who has frequently spoken up against Idols going country because they “have nothing better to do”

    I do agree with him; I don’t like when anyone (looking at you Jessica Simpson) goes country because they think it is easier to break into. I want my country singers to be authenic. But that really doesn’t apply to the new American Idol – the kid’s soul wouldn’t let him be anything but country. I don’t even think he is capable of even being a “cross-over” country/pop star.

  • Valentin432

    Great stuff.

  • girlygirl

    By the way, Windmills, GREAT job with this article. :)

  • girlygirl

    as for what Jimmy Iovine will do, hard to say. By having non-country producers/writers submit stuff for Scotty and Lauren, that suggests that he isn’t going to let them just go off to Nashville and work strictly with UMG’s country label execs. On the other hand, he should realize that Scotty has pretty much no chance of crossing over to other formats, so maybe he will stay hands-off with him and focus on Lauren, who has at least some potential crossover potential in Hot AC format (I don’t really see her as very pop, but that’s TBD). It all may depend on whether Haley and/or Pia have success with their singles — if they do, he may be content to focus on them and let the country execs deal with the Top 2.

  • Jae

    Great article and really interesting. I think country radio would be crazy not to give these kids a chance if they have strong music to put out. I bought Scotty’s I love you this big ( because I always try to financially support the Idol I back during the season at least a little bit) and that song is growing on my. Its been on my mind all day. And Lauren has a great voice and I KNOW will grow into her talents. Country should be proud that AI gave them 2 country idols.

  • McCreerian

    Lauren will have Kelly Pickler type success.

    I think that is still great success though. I hope Lauren and Scotty do well!

  • McCreerian

    Thank you for this btw! I wonder if Interscope will only initially be handling them(like how Arista did with Carrie), then let them out on their own with Mercury Nashville.

  • Trina

    Very interesting reading. I’m anxious to see how these two. Both are so talented and likable.

    Lauren’s projection seem high but Scotty’s is actually about what I was figuring based on the bars and anything in that ballpark is great!

  • cokezero

    Great post, mj.

    I think the whole DJ backlash thing was a bit overblown, but I do think Country radio is gonna have a hard time embracing a “fake” (i.e. Idol made and written for) male country singer. We shall see.

  • McCreerian

    Scotty’s single sounds nothing like Josh Turner. I think if the rest of his album is like that and he uses his distinctive tone, there won’t be anymore backlash.

  • aidancash1

    Scottys biggest challenge will be his age. No matter how good the songs and no matter how country the genre doesnt really embrace young male singers. As far as radio play he will have a lot of problem. Sales he will do well because of coming off idol and the young fan base. The big question will be can his sales stay good enough until he grows up and people feel like he has lived what he is singing. Even Chris young as mature looking as he was and as good as he was at 20 it took him five years to prove himself.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    Not being a country fan, it was very nice to read such a thorough assessment and explanation of what’s going on/may be going on with Scotty and Lauren. Thanks, Windmills! :)

    In listening to the two singles, I think that Lauren has the better vocals (range and power) and song. As in his live performances, Scotty’s voice seems to lack power in his recordings when it’s needed, like when a song reaches it’s high point.

  • abbysee

    I font really care about Lauren or Scotty…
    But I REALLY hope Haley does well .

    This thread is about Nashville prospects, not Haley, who doesn’t have a single out yet.

    They’d both be described by yet another KLC song…15 minutes of fame…

    I think you are going to have to change your name, lol.

    Windmills thanks so much for all of this info. It gives me hope that Scotty and Lauren will be just fine. I believe they are going to make many naysayers, even me in Lauren’s case, think again. I am impressed by their single numbers and Scotty’s compilation ranking. I must say I didn’t expect that!

  • McCreerian

    I think they will be in pretty good company on this label. Billy Currington and Sugarland are especially huge. And it seems like it isn’t quick to drop its artists which is a good thing.

  • kmd

    Interesting article. I am not a big country fan but is was very informative. Josh Turner is with MCA Nashville. I didn’t realize that there was a difference between MCA Nashville and Mercury Nashville. Universal has so many different labels that I find it confusing but interesting.

  • yaddabing

    I have a question though, how come Taylor Swift is listed under UMG if she is with Big Machine? She is listed on their website.

    UMG distributes Big Machine’s albums, and BM has a deal with Universal Republic to do all of the pop promotion for their acts. She’s signed to Mercury Records UK too, but I forgot what all they’re in charge of.

    IMO, Jimmy should just let UMG Nashville do all of the A&R and promotion for Scotty and Lauren, but keep the reigns in on some for Lauren though for any future pop-crossover. He can keep them signed to Interscope, he just won’t reap much of the profits.

    He should sign 2 or 3 of the other finalists (granted Pia and Haley are next) for himself.

  • rfb

    I think Scotty is great, love his voice. All he needs is one great hit song and he will take off. No one will be able to catch him.
    You go Scotty!!!

  • Barb132

    The trouble for Scotty is country music is notorious for wanting its artists to pay their dues — particularly the men. There are also sorts of stories out there from established country acts that back this up and document their struggles.

    Because of this, I was astonished the way Carrie was embraced by the country music industry. (After that, we had an even younger and equally inexperienced Taylor Swift embraced.)

    Regardless, it makes no sense for anyone related to country music to trash Scotty or Lauren. They are GENUINE country music people — not someone like Danny Gokey who was put there because outside of Christian music there was no where for him to go. Not to mention, American Idol has been a three-months long promotion for the genre and new fans can be gained.

    P.S. Glad to see both – particularly Scotty who has taken the brunt of criticism – doing well on iTunes.

  • SajiNoKami

    I have actually programed a country station in my car, so I can keep an ear out for their singles. But for some reason, Minnesota radio stations seem to dislike idols or anything new or interesting for that matter. :\

  • briguyx

    If a young artist has the songs and a major label backing them, then dues paying isn’t that important. That’s why Carrie (with “Jesus Take The Wheel”) and Taylor (with “Tim McGraw”) were able to blaze right out of the gate. It’s not like the country audience had any idea who Thompson Square was, for instance…

    As for the use of different producers on that first post-Idol album, you might see one producer be responsible for the music and another one record the vocals. This will happen because the Idols will be out on tour and fitting in recording sessions in different cities when they can.

    Finally I think country music has changed in this way since Carrie’s debut: a label can market straight to country and then do a more Adult Contemporary/pop remix later on the right song, so they don’t have to put any pop sounding songs on a country album.

  • NOLA

    Windmills, great article. Thanks Much!

  • NOLA

    Scottys biggest challenge will be his age.

    He’ll be old enough to go to war in 4 months. He isn’t a baby.

  • McCreerian

    Scottys biggest challenge will be his age.

    He’ll be old enough to go to war in 4 months. He isn’t a baby.

    Yep, he will legally be an adult by the time his album comes out.

  • NOLA

    I cannot wait for that album!

  • NOLA

    Country

    Taking Off: May 20 – May 26 Artist Title + Stations + Spins

    BRAD PAISLEY/CARRIE UNDERWOOD Remind Me 7 83
    SCOTTY MCCREERY I Love You This Big 7 70
    KENNY CHESNEY You And Tequila f/Grace Potter 5 66
    DARIUS RUCKER I Got Nothin’ 4 51
    LADY ANTEBELLUM Just A Kiss 2 26

  • Kirsten

    “I Love You This Big” is apparently having the biggest increase in AI on the BDS Country chart today. It made the real time tracker on Radio and Records.

    Yesterday, here was the AI for each of the songs (Mediabase):
    SCOTTY MCCREERY – I Love You This Big: 2.574
    LAUREN ALAINA – Like My Mother Does: 1.016

  • MayMirabella

    Scottys biggest challenge will be his age. No matter how good the songs and no matter how country the genre doesnt really embrace young male singers. As far as radio play he will have a lot of problem. Sales he will do well because of coming off idol and the young fan base. The big question will be can his sales stay good enough until he grows up and people feel like he has lived what he is singing. Even Chris young as mature looking as he was and as good as he was at 20 it took him five years to prove himself.

    You do make a good point. I hope that is not the case for Scotty and Lauren but you are right, it could happen. It has taken some country singers who started as teens years before they hit it big , well that applies to other genres too but for some reason, males in country especially.

    Too bad it is not the 1960s-70s where young singers in bands and individually could find success and have some big hits.
    But my friend who worked for a record label back in those days said things were so different and the big thing then was belonging to a band or trio and more success was likely in a band than a solo act. Of course, there are still groups now and that is always an option for any person in any genre as look at Sugarland and Lady Antebellum in country. But back in the day, so many who wanted a successful musical career wanted to be a lead singer in a band.

    How things have changed, as most seem to want solo careers now. ..interesting change in the last few decades.

  • MayMirabella

    Yep, he will legally be an adult by the time his album comes out.

    Excellent as that will help him a lot. The older he gets, the better for males in the country genre. That is good news.
    I was not sure if he just turned 17 during the Idol season or if he was soon to be 18 . That also helps him as he does not need his parents to sign things for him or be there with him as a minor. I believe young adults have a better shot than teens starting out as then the managers/agents/ labels/can deal directly with the artist and not always have his parents present.

  • NOLA

    He will turn 18 in October

  • windmills

    I didn’t realize the Music Row article was subscription only. There wasn’t that much information about “Out Of Summertime” but Beth Mason Laird said it’s a traditional country song.

    Kirsten: I can see that with some of the Idols who suddenly became Country, but I’m hoping that Lauren and Scotty will be spared that since those two have been country through-and-through the entire time (and skeptics like this is probably one of the reasons the show made no attempt to push them out of that lane).

    I totally agree with you. I wrote that confusingly. I was trying to say the CMT guy does not like AI and as an example of that I was referring to comments he’s made about some of the Idols who’ve gone country. But that didn’t have anything to do with his skepticism about Lauren and Scotty. I don’t think many people will be questioning how country Lauren and Scotty are. The questions they’ll face are more along the lines of how unique and ready they are.

    Kirsten: “I Love You This Big” is apparently having the biggest increase in AI on the BDS Country chart today. It made the real time tracker on Radio and Records.

    It got lost in there somewhere but I mentioned this. The Real Time Tracker no longer works like it used to but it updates once every morning to give what the #1 on the building chart is and the greatest gainer. It’s showing Scotty’s song as the greatest gainer for the week on the building chart which is impressive considering it would’ve been based on only a couple days of airplay, mostly Thursday.

    briguyx: Finally I think country music has changed in this way since Carrie’s debut: a label can market straight to country and then do a more Adult Contemporary/pop remix later on the right song, so they don’t have to put any pop sounding songs on a country album.

    They don’t have to but they might if they want the split single strategy (maybe for Lauren, not Scotty). In Carrie’s case the pop songs were also about appeasing 19 and RCA Music Group’s go-to writers. Scotty and Lauren may have to include songs involving Jimmy’s stable of writers. At least 19 was motivated to bring in country writers into their stable after Carrie won AI.

    fuzzywuzzy: In listening to the two singles, I think that Lauren has the better vocals (range and power) and song. As in his live performances, Scotty’s voice seems to lack power in his recordings when it’s needed, like when a song reaches it’s high point.

    Country’s a genre where people see interpreting and storytelling ability as much more than being able to crescendo into a big note. Look at people like George Strait and Tim McGraw. They don’t have very powerful voices but they got huge because of their ability to pick songs and tell stories in other ways. DISCLAIMER: Please don’t confuse me with Randy Jackson. I am not comparing Scotty to King George or Tim ;) I’m just saying country’s a genre that appreciates more character and subtlety in the way a person sings the lyrics. Carrie’s ability to belt wouldn’t mean as much if she weren’t considered a really good interpreter.

  • NOLA

    Country’s a genre where people see interpreting and storytelling ability as much more than being able to crescendo into a big note.

    Which is why I love country music.

  • Nativenewyorker

    Taking Off: May 20 – May 26 Artist Title + Stations + Spins
    BRAD PAISLEY/CARRIE UNDERWOOD Remind Me 7 83
    SCOTTY MCCREERY I Love You This Big 7 70
    KENNY CHESNEY You And Tequila f/Grace Potter 5 66
    DARIUS RUCKER I Got Nothin’ 4 51
    LADY ANTEBELLUM Just A Kiss 2 26

    NOLA,

    What does this mean? I mean the numbers? I am assuming it’s good for Scotty, but I am not familiar with it.

  • NOLA

    I’m not real good at this either. I think it means 7 radio stations are playing his song and it has been played 70 times.

  • NOLA

    Kirsten, where do we find out the stations that are playing Scotty’s song?

  • leilamaurizia

    The trouble for Scotty is country music is notorious for wanting its artists to pay their dues — particularly the men. There are also sorts of stories out there from established country acts that back this up and document their struggles.

    Because of this, I was astonished the way Carrie was embraced by the country music industry.

    It may seem like it, but that was hardly the case. There was a lot of criticism and skepticism about Carrie when she was starting out, and most especially when she started hitting it big. The most famous stories being: Wynonna, saying Carrie was “vanilla” and making her cry after she won her first CMT awards; then you have LeAnn Rimes saying Carrie didn’t deserve her first CMA Female Vocalist of the Year award because she hadn’t paid her dues. So yeah, that dues-paying issue is very familiar to Carrie. She even commented on that earlier in her career saying something along the lines of “Anyone who says I haven’t paid my dues, I guarantee you has never been on American Idol. That’s a whole ‘nother kind of paying dues.”

    So Scotty and Lauren, if I could give them some unsolicited advice learned from the career of Carrie, take all that hostility being thrown at you and use it to inspire you to prove and improve yourself. Work hard, be humble enough to learn from others but know yourself too to know when to fight (in other words, choose your battles). Be constantly better. As Carrie recently said, she feels like she has to prove herself every single time she steps out on stage and she thinks that’s made her better.

    And Jimmy Iovine should just stay far, far away.

  • Nativenewyorker

    NOLA,

    Thanks! I will keep checking here for more information on these numbers!

    I have a good feeling about Scotty’s chances for great success.

  • bubblewrap

    I worry about Scotty’s success more so than Lauren’s, although they both have stiff competition. This morning, I saw a music video from Hunter Hayes, a young (only 20) country singer/musician, and he is cute. Lauren still seems really timid, but maybe she will grow out of it in time. I wish them both great success.

  • leilamaurizia

    And I love you, windmills! When my eyes start to roll with all the “country sells” and “country is the easiest format to break into” comments, you always come in to save the day.

  • Kirsten

    What does this mean? I mean the numbers? I am assuming it’s good for Scotty, but I am not familiar with it.

    It means that 7 stations played ILYTB at least 7 times each so they are called “Starters”. It shows a level of commitment to the song. Those 7 stations played the song 70 times in total.

    ILYTB received a total of 281 spins across 101 stations on Thursday.

    One can sign up for a free account at AllAccess to check some AirPlay statistics for charting songs. Right now, ILYTB is on the Taking Off (the chart NOLA posted) and the Spincrease charts. From there you can view the Leaders (stations that play the song the most) and the Starters.

  • Kirsten

    Just for reference (and these are only updated once a day), here is the data for the 7 “Starters”:
    WQDR-FM Raleigh Country 15
    WDSY-FM Pittsburgh Country 14
    KAJA-FM San Antonio Country 11
    WTQR-FM Greensboro Country 9
    KMLE-FM Phoenix Country 7
    WIL-FM St. Louis Country 7
    WMZQ-FM Washington, DC Country 7

  • NOLA

    thank you very, very much!

  • hoa_teca

    Thanks so much for the information. I just registered and at allaccess and can now track Scotty’s radio spin

  • Nativenewyorker

    Kirsten,

    Thanks so much for explaining those radio numbers and the information as to airplay statistics!

    I believe it was windmills who explained why a power voice isn’t necessary in country music. The examples given are a great way to illustrate the point. The criteria is different when it comes to country songs. You don’t need those glory notes. I happen to think that they are not necessary in other genres of music as well. I do love that kind of voice, provided the tone and timbre are good and there is some vocal technical skill, but I can also appreciate the quiet, softer voices that are just as powerful in their own way.

    In fact, I think Scotty proved that point throughout the season. People connected with him first because of that gorgeous baritone. I thought he must be lip-synching the first time I heard him on the show, because it didn’t seem possible for that beautiful color and tone to come out of the voice of a teenager. It is a true gift. After the voice, it was Scotty’s incomparable ability to tell a story. He connected with the audience in a very strong way. He has this “it” quality, that indefinable certain something that makes a star.

    If the people around him do it right, this kid could have unbelievable success.

  • McCreerian

    I also know KMPS in Seattle did a test run of both of their singles.

  • hicksaholic

    bubblewrap

    Hunter Hayes is from Mobile. He went to the same school as my daughters. I think he has a bright future. He’s a good songwriter, a good performer and he is cute.

    Sorry wrong kid- I was thinking of Walker Hayes. He’s older but he is also cute and has a video out.

  • aidancash1

    There really arent country menunder 25 rightnow and you really dont see any new ones under that age hit it big. The woman in country are different. I am not saying it cant happen but that is the facts of the industry. Lauren may have a easier time to start then Scotty.

  • Lucy1234

    Lauren still seems really timid, but maybe she will grow out of it in time.

    You evidentally have not been watching any of her post Idol interviews. She is spunky, funny, cute as a button and seems quite confident. We are seeing a different Lauren than was on the show. Hopefully her voice heals soon and we get to hear her fantastic voice as well.

  • certain1

    It’s nice too see both songs getting some play on the radio, but it is probably more of a kneejerk reaction to Idol week. Next week will be a better gauge of the success of either song.

  • Tess

    It’s nice too see both songs getting some play on the radio, but it is probably more of a kneejerk reaction to Idol week.

    I really think that (country) radio stations are well aware that people who watch idol are also probably listening to their hometown radio stations. It isn’t like Idol is a foreign place and has its own unique viewership.

    If the song is embraced by the listeners that are part of a station’s audience (and ultimately their reason to exist) then it will continue to do well. If the spins don’t get good feedback it will be history. But with the support Scotty apparently got by being the idolette winner and the fact that his record is selling is a good sign that, at least for the time being, Scotty won’t be a has been by this time next week.

  • stwbcross

    Thanks for the wealth of information windmills, it was a very interesting read.

    Since I’m late to this conversation, just a few things to add.

    I’m surprised that Brett James had his hand in such a lame song and I’m not keen on Mark Bright as he has a tendency to over-produce.

    Scotty will definitely need some cross-over on the album because traditional country isn’t going to give the label the type of sales numbers they seem to be expecting from him. So hopefully some vocal coaching will help out with that. I wonder how Scotty will feel about it since his earlier comments weren’t too favorable toward pop country.

    Hopefully there isn’t someone like him but with better vocal ability, who shows up on the X-factor. That would make it even more difficult to win over the radio folks.

    I’m loving Lauren’s personality on her interviews. Country radio will love her.

  • aidancash1

    If they try and make Scotty a pop country artist it will ruin him. They need to accept him as he is. Are you gonna kiss me or not is one of my fav songs and he ruined it because that isnt him. He dont have an ounce of pop in him.

  • stwbcross

    If they try and make Scotty a pop country artist it will ruin him.

    ITA but they’ve been touting him as likely to be the biggest selling idol of all time so unless he has some crossover I have no idea how they are going to achieve this.

  • windmills

    stwbcross: ITA but they’ve been touting him as likely to be the biggest selling idol of all time so unless he has some crossover I have no idea how they are going to achieve this.

    There’s no “they” who said this. Nigel said it and Nigel says lots of things, some of them cray cray. Nigel also has nothing to do with the Idol label or management after the show. Besides if he was actually thinking when he said that (which seeing as it’s Nigel, he may not have been), he may have meant throughout Scotty’s whole career and not on his debut album. Not that that’s guaranteed to happen either.

    I can see a situation where Scotty gets some slightly poppier country songs, just like Chris Young’s current single is a poppy power ballad he’s singing in his traditional country voice. But I don’t think Scotty’ll be expected to cross over. Not after they went on and on about Scotty staying in his throwback country lane.

  • McCreerian

    Hopefully there isn’t someone like him but with better vocal ability, who shows up on the X-factor.

    Simon hates country so I doubt that.

  • stwbcross

    There’s no “they” who said this. Nigel said it and Nigel says lots of things, some of them cray cray. Nigel also has nothing to do with the Idol label or management after the show. Besides if he was actually thinking when he said that (which seeing as it’s Nigel, he may not have been), he may have meant throughout Scotty’s whole career and not on his debut album. Not that that’s guaranteed to happen either.

    Sorry, I should have specified Nigel instead of they. It’s true, Nigel often enjoys just stirring the pot. However I can’t understand why Nigel would set up his “Idol winner” for such high expectations unless he really believed that Scotty had a great chance at it. It would make Nigel a bit of a laughing stock if it turns out bad.

    I can see a situation where Scotty gets some slightly poppier country songs, just like Chris Young’s current single is a poppy power ballad he’s singing in his traditional country voice. But I don’t think Scotty’ll be expected to cross over. Not after they went on and on about Scotty staying in his throwback country lane.

    I could see that but then what’s the difference between Scotty and the rest of the country guys out there on the radio? I guess it doesn’t matter if he can carry forward his fan base from Idol.

    Simon hates country so I doubt that.

    But Simon is a smart man and he will not have missed the popularity of Scotty on Idol. He can easily allow a country singer on x-factor without allowing him to win but giving him enough exposure to launch him successfully into the genre.

  • windmills

    stwbcross: Sorry, I should have specified Nigel instead of they. It’s true, Nigel often enjoys just stirring the pot. However I can’t understand why Nigel would set up his “Idol winner” for such high expectations unless he really believed that Scotty had a great chance at it. It would make Nigel a bit of a laughing stock if it turns out bad.

    Nigel’s comment got very little attention and I doubt most uninvested people will remember it other than the people who want to hang onto that statement for some reason. This is nothing like Simon’s comment to Carrie after Alone predicting she’d outsell the other winners in that Simon said it on TV and he’s the kind of person whose predictions about sales are paid attention to. Nigel’s said plenty of higher profile things that didn’t pan out either and he survives them. People kind of expect him to be a dotty old man who sometimes says crazy things.

    EDIT: Nigel also said before Lauren would give Kelly a run for her money. Does anybody really believe that right now? Lauren didn’t live up to the hype but somehow made it all the way to 2nd place, growing on a lot of people because of her vocal potential during the show and her interviews since the season ended. Nigel says stuff. It’s what he does.

  • curry

    Great article that tries to simplify a very complicated set of circumstances. Judging these two singles based on airplay at this point is way too early. Country programmers are going thru what Top40 programmers have gone thru since the beginning of Idol…get that single on the radio, even if it sucks, and hope the popularity of the show makes it a hit. What gives Scotty & Lauren the advantage is they can ride Idol to get added to otherwise tight playlists. But that won’t last long. Especially when your top artists are releasing better records. Space is at a premium. These two are still in the “new music” category so its going to take at least 150+ spins per station before programmers start sharing stories. A few programmers with bad stories spells doom. Like most Idol winner songs these two are just OK records that on their own would probably not even make it into the music meeting. But it does sound like the powers-that-be are very serious about their post Idol careers. These produces/writers mentioned in your article are not cheap and are very strong. Country radio is a ‘prove it to me” format. If these songs flop, they may get a pass. But that next record better be strong. You are no longer that cute kid on Idol. Now you are my competition for spins. Welcome to the real world.

  • McCreerian

    But Simon is a smart man and he will not have missed the popularity of Scotty on Idol. He can easily allow a country singer on x-factor without allowing him to win but giving him enough exposure to launch him successfully into the genre.

    True, but its not like he would be in direct competition with Scotty. He will be competing with all the other country singers just like Scotty will have to.

  • McCreerian

    Are you gonna kiss me or not is one of my fav songs and he ruined it because that isnt him. He dont have an ounce of pop in him.

    Really? A lot of people thought that was one of his best performances.