SCOTTY: Probably around 12 to 13, and it didn’t really go through a cracking phase. It took awhile, but it just kind of happened.
AMBER: I didn’t make it to Hollywood, but since I am a part of our family group, the Nelons, I just stepped back into the group groove. I am so happy for you as it is such a fun thing to see someone from a church choir get this national attention. How old were you when you started singing?
SCOTTY: I was humming when I was a baby, and I probably started singing in church and the preschool choir and children’s choir. Definitely children’s choir when I was about 5 or 6.
AMBER: You have a wonderful country voice. Did you always like country music?
SCOTTY: Oh, yes. It’s what I grew up with. It was instilled in me when I was born in Raleigh, North Carolina.
AMBER: Who are some of your favorite country artists?
SCOTTY: I like some of the classics, like Conway Twitty and Hank Williams and Merle Haggard, and then I like George Strait, Josh Turner and Tim McGraw—a good mix. I used to ride around with my boys listening to all of them. We had a CD specifically of old country music that my friend Kyle Wiggins and I made up one day, and that is all we listened to in the summer.
AMBER: What about gospel artists? Who are your favorites?
SCOTTY: I like the more contemporary ones: Chris Tomlin, Casting Crowns, David Crowder Band and Steven Curtis Chapman.
AMBER: Where did you first start singing?
SCOTTY: I fi rst started singing legitimately in children’s choir. I was singing as a baby in the crib, but in front of people, it was children’s choir at church.
AMBER: What made you want to audition for “American Idol?”
SCOTTY: It was like a summer vacation for us. We went up to Milwaukee and we wanted to see what they would say to me. I wanted to see if I was legit, if I could actually sing, because I had never ventured outside of Garner, N.C., to sing. I didn’t expect much; I just wanted to get some critiques and feedback. Then I kept making it further, and I was like, “Oh my goodness!”
AMBER: Was it ever in the back of your head that you could come away the winner?
SCOTTY: Not really, until maybe the very last couple of rounds, and everybody is thinking about it then. You just never knew what was going to happen on “Idol” on any given night. It was rolling dice. You never knew.
AMBER: What is your favorite scripture that relates to your life?
SCOTTY: Philippians 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” That has been my verse since I was young. I have put it out on my baseball cap. I have this cross (necklace) on. I had a bracelet at one time, but I don’t know where it went. I am definitely reminded of that one every day.
AMBER: Again Scotty, congratulations, as I know how hard it is to go through the audition process with thousands of very talented people. But you are the winner. Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know?
SCOTTY: I want everyone to know how grateful I am for everyone’s support. I appreciate it because they are the people who got me where I am. “Idol” is a voting show, so it has to come from the fans. I appreciate them and can’t wait to get my new music out to y’all!