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Blake Shelton reveals weird ‘pep talk’ from Billy Ray Cyrus: ‘You need to toughen up’

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Blake Shelton recalls Billy Ray Cyrus giving him a tough love pep talk before he made his first TV appearance more than 20 years ago. 

The “God’s Country” singer said he was “scared to death” in 2001 when he was asked by CMA Awards organizers if he would appear on the show and do a commercial bumper in which he’d tease who was coming up and sing about 20 seconds of his song “Austin.” 

Shelton told Jimmy Kimmel Wednesday that while he stood in the wings, Cyrus exited the stage after presenting an award, introduced himself and asked Shelton if he was all right. 

“And I go, ’Man, I’m scared to death. I’m scared to death right now to walk out there,'” Shelton recalled. “And he goes, ‘What do you mean?’ And I go, ‘I’ve just never been on TV, and I’ve got to sing.'” 

BLAKE SHELTON, GWEN STEFANI REMEMBER MEETING EACH OTHER FOR FIRST TIME: ‘I KNEW I WAS HOME’ 

A split of Billy Ray Cyrus and Blake Shelton

Billy Ray Cyrus told a young Blake Shelton 22 years ago he needed to “toughen up” for the music industry.  (Weiss Eubanks/NBCUniversal/Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Big Barrel)

The 47-year-old said Cyrus, 62, told him, “Even if you do great, this is the music industry. Most of those people are gonna make fun of you and roll their eyes anyway, man. This is the music industry. You need to toughen up a little bit. Man, people make fun of you.”

“I remember that was his pep talk to me,” Shelton said.

“That was his pep talk?” Kimmel laughed. 

Shelton added, “He probably doesn’t remember that, but I’m telling you, as a young 23-year-old kid or whatever I was, I was like, ‘Oh my god, you’re right.'” 

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Blake Shelton in 2001.

Blake Shelton in 2001 (Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

Kimmel joked that Cyrus might be right, especially if an artist has a mullet and adds the words “Achy and Breaky in the title of your song. Yes, people are going to make fun of you.”

“Billy had had a rough stretch at that point,” Shelton jokingly agreed. 

Shelton, who was a coach on “The Voice” for 23 seasons, kidded that he will give impromptu advice to another performer if “I think they’re going to do really good. I will. Like, I’ll ride the wave if it’s going good.” 

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Gwen Stefani with Blake Shelton

Blake Shelton is married to Gwen Stefani.  (Emma McIntyre/Getty Images)

The “Happy Anywhere” singer also discussed his wife Gwen Stefani, saying he’s never known her to be “super competitive.” 

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“She’s more of this supportive person with her [‘Voice’] contestants, but I’ve never seen her as super competitive until she plays against me on [his new game show] ‘Barmageddeon.’ All of a sudden, it’s like flipping me off to my face. … I’ve never heard her say ‘Let’s go,’ like Tom Brady. She never said ‘Let’s go’ before. Now she’s saying ‘Let’s go.'” 


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