Being Blake Shelton
No. 1 hits. Bona fide TV stardom. A new tour. Yep, it’s good to be Blake Shelton.
Originally published in our July 22, 2013 issue featuring Blake Shelton on the cover.
Even Blake Shelton has to admit that being Blake Shelton is a pretty nice ride these days. “I’ve never been so comfortable in my own skin and in my own life,” Blake recently commented to reporters as he celebrated two No. 1 hits, “Over” and “Sure Be Cool If You Did.”
And well, why not? He’s the current titleholder of country’s most prestigious prize, Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year, a three-time CMA Male Vocalist of the Year and holds down a highly visible spot on the popular NBC talent competition show The Voice. Television, in reality, has made the devilishly handsome, bright-eyed Blake an in-demand cover guy, gracing the front of every entertainment magazine imaginable, and catapulted him to that desired one-name status (we all simply refer to him as “Blake,” no explanation or last name needed). And just to top it off, he’s married to the glamorous and multitalented Miranda Lambert, an award winner in her own right.
Though The Voice is on summer hiatus, Blake isn’t taking the season off or heading for some exotic vacation spot. Instead, he’s gearing up for his headlining tour, Ten Times Crazier, which kicks off July 19 in Virginia Beach, Va. Easton Corbin and Jana Kramer will serve as the opening acts on this cross-country trek, slated to wind up in early October. The tour takes its name from a cut on Based on a True Story . . . , Blake’s current album. Blake revealed some of his plans for the tour and talked about a variety of other hot topics, including how The Voice has upped his career profile to megaheights.
Last year’s Well Lit & Amplified Tour, Blake’s first nationwide series of shows as a headliner, was definitely a wild run. “But this year’s tour is 10 times crazier,” he says in his usual half-joking fashion. Expanding on that a bit, Blake shared in a release about the tour that he aimed to give fans the full-blown, good-time show that they’ve come to expect.
“My fans, country radio, friends, family, you name it—they know I love to perform. With The Voice schedule, I was not able to go out and perform as much as I wanted last year, but I plan to make up for it this year,” Blake said. “This summer is going to be a blast. I want everyone at my shows to feel like they got every penny’s worth of their ticket. I am going to give them every ounce of me on that stage because they deserve it.”
Ten Times Crazier also marks another first for Blake: his inaugural outing as the CMA Entertainer of the Year. Recently, Blake was asked by reporters if that title added any extra pressure to headlining a tour. “I don’t know, I suppose it could,” Blake said. “I’m just trying to put together a good set list of hits and the songs people want.” Blake tacked on the fact that early in his career he would start his tour set with a cover of George Strait’s “All My Ex’s Live in Texas” or another recognizable tune, then ease into his own material. Now, obviously, he has to strictly concentrate on a hits list that, incredibly, dates back to 2001 and his debut single, “Austin.” So how does he change it up and still give the fans what they want?
“That’s interesting,” he told reporters during the same media session. “What does that really mean, to be Entertainer of the Year? Does that mean I have to shoot myself out of a cannon or have fireworks?” To hear Blake explain it, that’s not likely to happen. “I’ll just keep being that guy that people expect,” Blake said. “I’ll have a little banter with the audience and be goofy and funny.”
Headlining, Blake explained to MTV News as the tour was announced, does represent the culmination of a lifelong goal. “It’s everything I ever worked for, from the first time I tried to play a chord on the guitar, this was the dream I had,” Blake said. “This was the image that was in my mind, of stepping out on one of those big summertime amphitheater stages and looking out and seeing a bunch of people having a good time.”
Blake is certain to include a selection or two from Based on a True Story . . . , an album that leans toward the uplifting message and just-for-fun quality of current single “Boys ’Round Here.” The songs as well as the album’s title serve as umbrella themes for the record. They also reflect Blake’s present state of mind, as he told reporters.
“That’s where I am in my life right now,” Blake said, smiling. “I’m very content, and who wouldn’t be? I know how lucky I am and I’ll be happy if it stays like this for a long time.” He’s in such a good place, he added, that it briefly crossed his mind to forgo ballads altogether for the new album. But that was hardly realistic, as he quickly surmised.
“I was like, ‘I don’t want to do those sad songs right now.’ But then, you have to remember, this is a country album,” Blake said with a laugh. “So there are a couple ballads on there, but I’m not really in that frame of mind. We came up with that title because when I listened to it, I thought this is my life from start to finish. So that’s what we’ll call it, Based on a True Story. Normally, when I have an idea like that, it doesn’t stick,” Blake deadpanned, eliciting laughs from the
media. “But somehow, that one got through.”
During his No. 1 parties at CMA Music Festival, Blake was also asked about his ever-evolving style of music, which has featured elements of rock and pop. He also threw in some Jerry Reed-inspired talking rap on “Boys ’Round Here,” a different touch for Blake. As any artist will tell you, getting out of the comfort zone is a welcome challenge, and it’s just necessary to change things up on occasion.
“As soon as people think they have me figured out musically, they realize they don’t,” Blake said. “I used to think that one day I’d figure out what my sound is gonna be, and now, looking back, I couldn’t be further from that. But that makes me happy. I enjoy reinventing myself.”