Gearing-up for season four of NBC’s “The Voice,” CMA Entertainer of the year Blake Shelton is learning how to navigate uncharted waters in his career. Thanks to social media, reality television, and a new generation of country music, Blake is blazing a trail never traveled before. He recently sat down with Country Aircheck to discuss how just following his gut and being himself has taken him places he never thought he’d go.
I was told many times, “You’ve got to get off Twitter. You’re saying things that are just … you’re destroying your career … what’s wrong with you … you sound crazy.”Really? Because I’m just having fun. I’m not saying anything on Twitter that y’all don’t hear me saying in the office when we’re in here bullshitting. I finally got to the point where I just decided, man, if I can’t be this guy on Twitter then what has happened to country music or entertainment, even? If it’s about songs, then okay. But if it’s about artists and people getting to know them, like I thought country music was supposed to be about, then I’m going to get on here and talk about the fact that I just went deer hunting. Or that I’m drunk. Or make jokes. I want to have a personality. The last thing I want to do is not offend somebody. How do you matter if you don’t stand for something? You’re not contributing anything if you’re afraid all the time that you’re going to offend someone. For every person I offend for saying I deer hunt, I gain another person’s respect. And I’m trying to gain respect, not just be middle-of-the-road.
For me, being a smart-ass, or quick witted – I read that about myself, but I’m not sure I’m that quick – if those are things I can do
naturally that are valuable, why wouldn’t I use them? So it’s not calculated, it’s more a reflex than anything else. The fact that I’m not afraid to be myself is just out there now that we have Twitter and I’m on TV. I’m not going to take shit from anybody and I’m going to give it right back to them. And I expect them to do the same to me. We’re adults and we’re having fun. I’m having a ball and don’t take myself seriously at all. And I’m not afraid to express that.
Since starting “The Voice,” Blake has taken some time off the road to sit in a red chair. Sure, he still tours, but his schedule has taken him away from live crowds and put him into people’s living rooms. Music is still front and center, but balance is definitely always a concern.
More than anything, I worry about losing my spot in country music because that is easily the most important thing in the world to me when it comes to my career. And when it comes to my personal life, even. God-dang-it, country music is my heart. That’s always the thing that has been in the back of my mind. Am I spending too much time with television? But the CMAs this year shook me up a little bit with the Entertainer award. What we envisioned early-on with this was that I would still be a country artist but be seen by a lot more people. Instead of doing 12-month tours I’d doing six-month tours, but be in people’s living rooms two nights a week every week or more. When Entertainer happened it was like, “Oh, my gosh, we shouldn’t be afraid to keep going down this road!” Just because nobody else is doing it this way doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
I’m sure some people aren’t really happy about it [CMA Entertainer of the Year Win]. I’m sure there were several people after that was announced who were not exactly pleased. But there are a lot of different ways to reach people. And I guess we’ll find out next year whether people agree with this new definition. Is being Entertainer something that should focus on being out there on the road all year, or should we take all these other ways of reaching people into consideration? So at next year’s show I guess we’ll see what people think about all that. I know for me, it sure feels different than it ever did before. You realize how much something like The Voice puts you out there in ways nothing else really can. Like, walking into a supermarket and seeing a tabloid with my picture on it. And Miranda’s picture on it. And a headline that says we’re pregnant. And I know that’s not true and I’m like, “Where are they getting this stuff?” I’m realizing that I’m now in this world where they do that kind of stuff to people, which is really kind of exciting because now I’m thinking about how we can use this to say something crazy and have some fun with it. Like, why can’t they say I have three balls?
I think Blake is setting a great example for new artists; encouraging each one to make their own path to success. Season 4 of “The Voice” kicks off in March, and Blake’s new single “Sure Be Cool if You Did” is available on iTunes now.
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