Just one album into a career, it's unusual for an artist to turn around and release a Christmas set next, but 2011 "American Idol" winner Scotty McCreery says he "got lucky," even if he admits he did have to talk his record label into the idea.
"A lot of people have to wait a few years -- a lot of years -- before they ever get to do a Christmas album," he says. "I just wanted to get it out there, and I really put a lot of time and effort into it. Christmas is my favorite holiday."
In keeping with the music industry's strategy of releasing Christmas fare before the Halloween candy has cleared the aisles, "Christmas With Scotty McCreery" arrived in stores on Oct. 16.
The singer, who just turned 19 this month, grew up loving Christmas music and performing it in school and church, so he was eager to get an album of his favorites into the marketplace. With his first studio album, "Clear as Day," having been certified platinum for sales of more than 1 million units just three months after its release last year, McCreery had a little leverage in gently twisting the arms of executives at his label. Once they agreed to the idea, he says, "They had my back on it, so it's been really nice to have their support."
Recording the album in August, during a scorching heat wave in Nashville, posed a second set of challenges, which McCreery and his team overcame by immersing themselves in holiday trimmings.
"We had Christmas lights, Christmas trees, Christmas cookies, Christmas hats; it was Christmas-y in there," says McCreery with a grin. "That made it easy on us, as long as we didn't go outside."
Read more about how Scotty picked which Christmas songs to record and how his first year in college is going at MSN Entertainment.