Country superstar Blake Shelton reflected on his 20+ year career during “The Artist Interview” panel, sponsored by BMI, at Country Radio Seminar (CRS) on Friday, Feb. 25.
During the honest, hour-long conversation with Lon Helton, Country Aircheck Publisher/CEO and host of Westwood One’s Country Countdown USA, the superstar opened up about his personal life at home with his wife Gwen Stefani, his time on The Voice, and what the future holds for him.
The country hitmaker and Oklahoma native’s extensive resume includes countless awards and nominations, 28 No. 1 hits, 12 studio albums as well as owning his own bar, Ole Red, and being a coach on NBC’s The Voice. These experiences and accomplishments are just a small part of his great success within the music industry.
After checking off so many boxes on his career bucket list, at what point will he decide to take a step back from it all?
“You have to be honest with yourself and you can’t believe that this is going to go on forever because it’s not,” Shelton confessed as he went on to recognize that fans are the ones who ultimately determine the longevity of an artist’s career.
“People are going to get tired of you winning the awards,” he began telling the CRS industry-only crowd. “They’re going to get tired of you having number one, after number one, after number one, and they may not be mad at you, but they’ve already got two or three of your albums. How many albums do I need by Blake Shelton?”
During their chat, Helton prompted the “God’s Country” singer to reflect on where his music falls on his list of priories and what comes next in terms of his career. Shelton explained that he knows “the clock’s ticking” when it comes to keeping his successful streak going.
“It’s always over at some point and I’ve always been prepared for that and I’ve braced myself for it,” he admitted. “And I learned to accept it a few years ago, maybe three or four or five years ago that it’s coming.”
Will the time come that there will be too much Blake Shelton, he questioned during the tell-all interview.. In the music industry, new, passionate artists are popping up every day, hoping for their shot at some fame and recognition. They dream of getting to do even half of the things Shelton has done in his career. These fresh faces are the new generation of country music and the experienced artists like Shelton, who have already reached a high level of stardom, recognize that these up-and-coming artists will soon be the focal point of fans.
“I love Blake Shelton, I just I’ve got enough of it now,” he said, speaking from a fan’s perspective. “I’ll need some Luke Combs now, or some Morgan Wallen in there.”
“Whoever’s next in line after me,” he went on to say. “And you have to be honest with yourself and you can’t believe that this is going to go on forever because it’s not. I want to make great records and the moment that I feel like I’m really not that relevant anymore, I don’t think I want to make them anymore.”
Shelton concluded by showing his appreciation towards those in the industry who have helped him grow from the time he was a fresh, new face trying to make a living out of his passion for music. He expressed that he couldn’t be “prouder or happier” of the career he has built up until this point, but now, his priorities are just in a different place. It’s not about selling out stadiums or winning the awards anymore, because he’s been there and done that. Because of all the hard work he put in for all these years, he can now look back on the last 20 years and reflect on everything that happened.
“I’m not somebody that’s ever going to beat my head against the wall, because this room, these people, this industry has given me way, way more than I ever deserved,” he graciously shared. “And I know that and I’m thankful and I’m proud of that. When it’s my time to make room for somebody else, the last thing I want to do is keep them screaming to keep my spot.”
“And with that I’d like to announce my retirement…” he joked.