By Grady Smith
Updated October 04, 2011 at 10:05 PM EDT
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Reigning American Idol champ Scotty McCreery is having a pretty great week.

Not only was he invited to tour with country superstar Brad Paisley in 2012, he was asked to sing the National Anthem at the opening game of the World Series. On top of that, his debut album Clear As Day hit stores this morning. And if all that’s not enough of a reason to celebrate, McCreery also turns 18 on Sunday.

“I’m pretty pumped today,” the young star conceded over the phone this morning, just minutes after stepping off the Live! With Regis and Kelly stage. For McCreery, the release of his debut album is the culmination of months spent recording while he was out on the 49-stop American Idols LIVE! tour. “I’m anxious to see what people think of [the album],” he says. “We’re about to go walk down to the store and get it.”

Though Scotty says he enjoyed touring with his fellow Idol contestants this summer—”We miss it. I think all of us do.”—he’s looking forward to blazing his own trail. “I think everybody on the tour was kind of ready to get out and venture onto their own things now,” he explains. For this particularly talented group of Idol contestants, that makes sense. Lauren Alaina, Haley Reinhart, Pia Toscano, and James Durbin have all scored record deals, and Stefano Langone was recently picked up by 19 Management.

Scotty’s next venture is to promote Clear As Day, an album that reflects the teenager’s old-soul sentiments, which are immediately apparent upon speaking with him. When asked about the first album he owned, McCreery responded, “I was an Elvis fanatic from kindergarten through middle school.” When asked about what current performer has him excited, he answered, “George Strait’s new album is incredible.” When asked about artists he’d like to collaborate with, he pondered, “Maybe a classic country singer—Randy Travis or Loretta Lynn. Those are people I grew up listening to.”

But McCreery doesn’t plan on growing up too fast. After all, he hasn’t even graduated high school. “When I’m on the road, my mom is teaching me and handling my assignments,” he notes. “But when I’m at home, I’ll be at the football games, I’ll be at the basketball games, anything to just kind of kind of stay connected with my peer group back home and still be a kid.”

Forunately, McCreery’s favorite track on his new disc, “Water Tower Town,” will help to remind him of all his friends and family back in hometown Garner, North Carolina. “When I’m singing that song, it’s kind of the way I grew up.” Not anymore!

What’s your take on McCreery’s debut? Did you pick it up today? Let us know in the comments.

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