Scotty McCreery’s raw storytelling and soulful country twang have pulled on heartstrings worldwide since he was on fan-favorite singing competition show, American Idol. While fans have understood the power of his words for years, the chart-topping singer-songwriter finally witnessed his unique gift first-hand in a hospital room with his uncle Mark.
Just a few months ago, the country music star found himself sitting at the edge of his uncle’s hospital bed praying for a miracle. While his 61-year-old uncle quickly fell ill and fought for his life – McCreery turned to music to infuse joy into the long and painful days.
During those challenging times, McCreery’s latest record – Same Truck was not released. However, his family would press play to give his uncle a quick sneak peek of what was to come. As the album would play on repeat, his beloved uncle remained unresponsive… until his beautiful ballad called “How Ya Doin’ Up There” played through the speakers.
“He hadn’t spoken a while or moved for that matter, but that day he kind of lifted his fist up as soon as he heard the song,” the hitmaker recently shared with PEOPLE. “It just showed me again how special that song is.”
McCreery penned the moving melody with Monty Criswell, Derek George, and Tyler Reeve for his fifth studio album, Same Truck, which dropped on September 17. Just four months before his 12-track collection hit streaming platforms, the multi-platinum artist lost his uncle. So, when the hardships came knocking on his door, the musician tackled them head-on by channeling his religious beliefs.
“Faith is something I lean on daily,” shares the “You Time” singer to PEOPLE. “I’ve definitely had to lean on it a lot in the last year and a half, you know, with the craziness of the world.” The ups and downs that consumed the musician’s life at the time, encouraged him to take a step back and rethink the songs that made up his highly anticipated album.
He continued to mention that the initial collection consisted of several outside cuts. However, when the world shut down due to the Coronavirus – he picked up his guitar during quarantine and started writing from his heart. Now, the North Carolina native has ten writing credits on Same Truck.
While the world was full of uncertainty, the artist became certain in his sound and talents. “I just felt like for the first time I was comfortable expressing those feelings and letting people know who I was as a guy and as an artist and not shying away from that,” he shared in the exclusive interview. “It seems like people responded to that. It’s what I’m going to try and continue to do, to write from that personal point of view and tell stories like we do in country music,” he concluded.
The “Damn Strait” singer is currently out on the road performing his vulnerable project live and recently teamed up with good friend Chris Lane to release the up-tempo banger “Small Town On It,” which is included on Hardy’s HIXTAPE Vol. 2 record and can be listened to below.