20 Questions With Billy Ray Cyrus

On Family, Doc and Elvis

It’s been more than a decade since “Achy Breaky Heart,” and Billy Ray Cyrus has since moved into TV dramas (Doc) and movie roles (the upcoming Elvis Has Left the Building). But he hasn’t forsaken music. In fact, the gospel album The Other Side arrived Tuesday (Oct. 28). Here, he answers questions from CMT.com about his new work, as well as hoping for a new computer, roasting wieners with his family and starring in his own personal reality show.

1. How are the negotiations going to have Doc moved to Nashville?

Well, I tell you what, they have come a long way. Obviously they didn’t make it for this year, this being our fourth season. If there is going to be fifth year of Doc, it will be filmed in Nashville or else there won’t be fifth season of Doc, and I’ll film something else. I will probably film it in Nashville.

2. I am a nurse and an educator of our future health care professionals. Your show, in some areas, is realistic and others totally off the wall with the antics and the back talk. Are there health care consultants on site to help you with the reality aspect of the show?

As much as possible. That is one thing I always feel is important — to keep it real and to have the reality there. But sometimes in television, you just get it as close as you can and move on.

3. Do you own a computer?

Oh, yeah. Big time. Have you ever seen my show Doc? That is the biggest hook of our show — me and my computer. I think someone out there owes me a computer. (laughs) I am glad we talked about that. I am going to get me a new computer now.

4. What part do you play in Elvis Has Left the Building?

I play Hank Jones, Minnie Pearl’s bus driver. Through flashbacks, I am the daddy to Kim Basinger, who is a little girl named Harmony Jones.

5. What are your future plans after Doc, the new album and the movie that you are currently working on?

My future plan is to hopefully do a world tour. … Doc is in 38 markets around the world now. They went to all the markets where I have sold records and had a fan base around the world previously. I would like to go back around the world again and do another world tour.

6. It seems that every concert I go to, I see fans present you with gifts. Do you have a special place for your gifts? I am wondering because I’ll have one for you the next time I see you.

Fantastic. It’s always nice when the fans do bring gifts and express their feelings. That is always much appreciated. … I display a lot that stuff in different places. It depends what it is as to where it goes.

7. Busy people who are always doing for others sometimes forget how important it is to take care of themselves. How do you take care of yourself? What kind of things do you do just because they make you happy?

Loving my family and taking care of them. That is pretty much where I get my joy, making music. I love making music. I make music for what is inside of me.

8. What advice would you give your kids if they wanted to be in the music business?

I would tell them to definitely think twice about it and obviously weigh out how bad they want to do it. There are a lot of other things to do that might be a whole lot easier, a whole lot less stressful.

9. What is your favorite thing to do with your family?

My favorite thing to do as a family is to go out and roast wieners and marshmallows and sit by a fire.

10. Do you ever wish you weren’t famous? Like, you were just a normal adult that spent time with your family, went to work in the morning and you and your name wasn’t known around America?

Sometimes. … I’ll just say sometimes.

11. Do you feel that the country music industry and other country music stars as a whole haven’t given you a fair shake as a country music recording artist?

No. I don’t feel like that at all. I feel like I just continue to do my thing and I focus on what I do, and that is make music.

12. Do you have any plans to make a Christmas record?

I don’t have plans for a Christmas record, not right this very second, but I have another album in the works right now. I am writing a bunch of songs. I write through the emotions of life. I am kind of in that period of my life where I am writing a bunch of songs.

13. What is your favorite Bible verse?

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son.” John 3:16.

14. What is your favorite gospel hymn?

“Amazing Grace,” which is the last song that you hear on our album. It is a real special version of it. It’s kind of my Pentecostal roots meets Stevie Ray Vaughan.

15. Do your kids play your music at home, or do they listen to somebody else?

They have been known to play “Burn Down the Trailer Park” every now and then. (laughs) Actually to be honest, they like this new album The Other Side. I have heard them play it more than anything I have ever recorded before, and they know all the words to the songs. I think that they, too, have some deep feelings and emotions for the music that I am making.

16. How does the work in acting compare to the work you do in the studio? Do you find one more enjoyable than the other?

By far, I enjoy being in the studio making music more than I do acting, but I will say that the similarities are there. It all begins with a script. A song begins with a song. Then you just have words and lyrics that you have to know by heart, and then you find a rhythm to it and make it real. That is the most important thing. I try to make the scenes that I do in acting real and the songs that I sing real.

17. Are there any particular new artists up in coming in country music that you like?

I think that there are a lot of different artists out there from many different genres. The future looks bright for music in general. There are a lot of talented people on their way. … I would hate to just name one. There are a lot of great artists out there.

18. Are you a sports fan? If so, what games and what teams?

You know, I’m certainly pulling for the Tennessee Titans. They are the home boys. The Nashville Predators [hockey team]. I love it when Toronto, where we film the show at, plays Nashville — when Nashville can put it on them. That is always exciting.

19. Have you ever thought about judging a reality show?

Right now, I’ve got my own reality show going on. It’s called Survivor. (laughs) That is what life is, no matter what you do, or who you are. It is just like Survivor, man.

20. Between acting on TV and in movies, recording, promoting and performing your music, it’s a wonder you have time to breathe. If you and your family could stop the clock for one month without fear of falling behind in your career, how would you most like to spend that time?

There is no doubt I would just like to spend it at home. Just at home. Just being a daddy. That would be perfect for me. … Tennessee! No place like it, man.