No one can see or hear Scotty McCreery without recalling how he surprised the music world with his resonant baritone voice that had no trouble standing up alongside his musical hero Josh Turner in the tenth season of “American Idol” back in 2011. Scotty McCreery had more than a beautiful voice and raw talent. Even as a teenager, the singer possessed an understanding of stagecraft, and connecting with his audience, that most hopeful talents work for years to cultivate. Jennifer Lopez was one who definitely connected with Scotty McCreery, admitting that he was the only country singer to make her get those famous “goosebumps.”

Scotty McCreery had platinum success with his debut album, “Clear as Day,” and gold singles followed, such as “I Love You This Big,” “See You Tonight,” and “The Trouble with Girls.” The North Carolina native has never been afraid of hard work, and he kept up a full-speed pace to build his fan base and prove to audiences that he was not just “the TV guy that people voted for,” but rather, an artist determined to make his own meaningful mark in country music, and stay around long enough to be remembered.

Scotty McCreery has only lived for 24 years, but artistically and personally, the last few years equated to lifetimes of learning for him. He has known the highest of highs, the lowest of lows and loss, and even hold-ups. Through it all, he hasn't lost his passion for music or his love of people. He has a number one song now with the moving ballad, “Five More Minutes,” and he's savoring every second, telling the Washington Post, “it feels really good” and gushing about the love of his life on March 15’s “Megyn Kelly TODAY.” He topped off the morning appearance with this new hit song about making the most of time while we have it. Judging from the applause, the crowd clearly got the message.

From dropped to the top

Scotty McCreery is just now at the age when the opportunities in music start to open up for someone with his talent and commitment, but in 2015, after the release of his “Southern Belle” single stalled rather than streaking to the top of the charts, some tough lessons resulted. Universal Music Group Nashville, which had been McCreery's label since he wrapped “Idol,” dropped him from its artist roster.

The rejection was difficult, but even harder was coming to terms with the fact that Scotty knew that another type of song, one with emotional ties instead of flirty trimmings, could work wonders for him.

Scotty kept playing shows, using his strengths and playing to his fans. A performance of “Five More Minutes” at the Grand Ole Opry broke the song as a “must hear” and a keeper on YouTube.

McCreery co-wrote the song with Frank Rogers, and it reflects on all the feelings that he experiences after losing his grandfather, “Granddaddy Bill.” Every person's days are numbered, and no one has a promise of tomorrow, so the message of the song is to celebrate today — every minute of today.

Scotty McCreery collaborated as a songwriter on every track of his new album, “Seasons Change,” out tomorrow, and every song speaks personally for him in some aspect. He is a man now, not willing to let his artistic or personal integrity be shifted by pressures from the music business.

Still keeping a smile

The morning musical guest was jovial, with Megyn Kelly, as he mentioned all the extremes of his not-even quarter-century of life on earth.

Besides the label issues, there’s “getting sued” (by the same label). “Who gets sued that young?” McCreery asks aloud. Kelly brings up that his college experience included being held up at gunpoint. There was no song or special tactic in that situation, only a plea of “Lord, get me out of this!” as the singer recalls. The scary and sad memories are fading now, and Scotty McCreery faces the future with much to smile about. “Five More Minutes” has become a beautiful legacy to his grandfather, who was prominently displayed in photos before his grandson’s performance. Another photo showed Scotty smiling broadly.

A glowing engagement picture of Scotty with his fiancée, Gabi Dugal, was displayed next, and Scotty spoke about how they were soulmates, saying, “we met in kindergarten, and we grew up together.” It is natural that Scotty calls her the love of his life and he has proved his passion by being actively involved in the wedding planning.

Megyn Kelly has the perfect studio according to Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, and though the stage was a bit smaller than the ones from which Scotty McCreery usually sings, his spirit still carried the song. Fishing poles, rushed first kisses from a porch, and parting minutes of life are all precious, and this artist appreciates sacred moments now more than ever.