With a new album and another season as a judge and mentor on NBC’s The Voice, Blake Shelton is a busy guy.
His new album, Based on a True Story … , will be released Tuesday (March 26), and he’ll start the day with an appearance on NBC’s Today. Thursday’s schedule includes stops at Live! With Kelly and Michael and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.
After other rounds that include an acoustic concert Friday at Joe’s Bar in Chicago, he’ll be heading to the West Coast for an April 2 performance on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno and April 3 appearances on The Talk and Chelsea Lately. Oh, and he and Luke Bryan are co-hosting the 48th annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on April 7.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as his media appearances.
Before his schedule kicked into overdrive, CMT Hot 20 Countdown co-host Katie Cook spent some quality time with Shelton to talk about the new album, his upcoming tour and the challenges a married man faces in making music videos.
Cook: Let’s talk about the name of the album, Based on a True Story … .
Shelton: (laughs) I don’t really have a good story. You always get these emails after you’ve made the album. You’ll start getting this barrage of text and emails from the label going, “We need an album title, we need an album title, we need an album title.” The worst is always when you just name the album after a song that’s on there. I do that a lot, too. But I was like, “No, I’m not doing that this time.” I listened to the record several times just trying to get ideas, and it hit me as I was listening to it, “Man, every one of these songs, I either am now or have been in this situation at some point in my life.” It really is true, and that’s when it hit me. I said, “We’ll just call it Based on a True Story… . It kinda is what it is. I wish I had a better story for you.
No, that’s good. It’s based on you. I was thinking you made this album in the busiest time of your life. Did you worry that you might have sacrificed when it came to picking songs or having enough time in the studio?
Yeah, I did worry about that. I was like, “Are we settling?” But I always have those thoughts making a record. … By the way, we did all the vocals for the album at my house in Los Angeles, which was a different experience. Scott [Hendricks, his producer] and I were talking in the house one day. I was like, “Hell, let’s sing ‘Boys Around Here’ today — or whichever song that would’ve been on the album. I was like, “I still remember the first time I heard that two years ago.”
Then it hit me. I was like, “I started putting this album together the day that we finished the Red River Blue album.” You know, you’re always looking for songs. Then I relaxed a little bit and realized I’m constantly looking for songs. Whether you’re making an album or not, you’re always stockpiling them.
So it’s not an overnight thing. You don’t have to rush and put 12 songs together.
I’ve never made records that way. Sometimes when we find something we’re really excited about, we’ll go in and record it right then and just leave it on a shelf until it’s time to use it. That’s been the case with this record, also.
With Red River Blue, it was the first time that you debuted on top of the country album chart and the Billboard 200. That’s a huge milestone. So with this album, do you feel a little bit more relaxed, or does that put even more pressure on you?
Well, I guess it puts on a little pressure. I think it puts pressure on me from an industry standpoint, but personally I like to take the easy way and go, “Screw it. I did it once, I’m happy.” If I never debut on the top again, I can still say I’ve done it. You never can tell. Sometimes you think, “Man, there’s no way I can’t have the No. 1. It’s gonna be No. 1.” Then Garth Brooks or somebody decides to put out an album the same day, and it squashes your project.
He hasn’t released anything new lately, so that’s not happening quite so much anymore.
Well, you never know with him.
Let’s talk about the new video, “Sure Be Cool If You Did.” You’re hanging with the guys when they’re hitting on the ladies, but when it comes to any love scenes or talking about romance, you’re not in those scenes so much.
I’m running block. I’m running block for the other guys.
Is that what it is? You have such a high-profile marriage now with Miranda Lambert . Would it be awkward to do love scenes in a video?
Yeah, if you notice, I haven’t done any intimate scenes with a girl in any of my videos since I’ve been married. Just because it seems … I don’t know. Somehow, even though it’s just a video, it seems weird or disrespectful to me a little bit. Only in my case because Miranda is a country artist, too, and she’s not behind the scenes. Everybody knows that we’re married, and it just seems weird. I guess if everybody didn’t know who my wife was and that we’re married, maybe it would make more sense. Also I don’t want to hear it from her, like, “Oh! I see how you’re touchin’ her!”
Your upcoming tour is named after a song on the album, “Ten Times Crazier.” Is this an indication of what the tour will be like?
Yeah. I had so much fun last year. We didn’t get to tour as much as we normally would. … But I did have a ball last year. I think we toured four months or three months at the beginning of the year before I got busy with the show [The Voice]. I just had a ball with it, and it was like a big party in those arenas. I was so surprised every night to walk out there and see that because I’ve always been the guy opening for someone in those type of buildings. To be the headliner and to have that control of my show, whatever I want to do, we can do. So I don’t think it really soaked in on me how much fun it still can be. There are still other levels of craziness we can get into, and that’s what I was thinking when we named the tour. Because I do think it’s gonna be crazier than the last one we did.
Editor’s note: The second part of CMT Hot 20 Countdown‘s interview with Blake Shelton will run Wednesday (March 27) on CMT.com.