- In a recent interview with Insider, Billy Ray Cyrus discussed “Old Town Road,” new music, and his Super Bowl commercial.
- He revealed how he used to worry that he traded in his “best years of music” to star on Disney Channel’s “Hannah Montana” – but now he knows that it led to the biggest hit of his career, “Old Town Road.”
- “Along comes Lil Nas X, and he told me the reason he reached out to me was because he said I was the only country dude that he knew because of ‘Hannah Montana,'” he said. “So really if I hadn’t done ‘Hannah Montana,’ I’d have never met Lil Nas X. He would have never known I was on the planet.”
- The legendary country singer released his new EP, “The Singin’ Hills Sessions, Vol. I Sunset,” on Friday.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Nearly three decades after his breakout single, Billy Ray Cyrus has two Grammy Awards and a feature on the most commercially popular song in history – and it’s all thanks to “Hannah Montana.”
In a recent interview with Insider, the legendary country singer revealed how he used to worry he derailed his music career to star on the hit Disney Channel sitcom. But now he knows the show led to the biggest hit of his career, “Old Town Road.”
“At a certain point I said, ‘Man, did I trade in my best years of music to become an actor?’ And then along comes Lil Nas X, and he told me the reason he reached out to me was because he said I was the only country dude that he knew because of ‘Hannah Montana,'” Cyrus told us.
“So really if I hadn’t done ‘Hannah Montana,’ I’d have never met Lil Nas X. He would have never known I was on the planet,” he continued. “So you really can’t question God’s plan.”
Nas originally released “Old Town Road” online for free in late 2018. Almost immediately, he was tweeting about his goal to get Cyrus on a remix.
“I was like, ‘Who can I get that will create a moment?'” Nas told Rolling Stone back in May. “Billy’s a big country artist, generations of people know him, either from his music or from the show.”
twitter please help me get billy ray cyrus on this pic.twitter.com/UDoeiOZqc1
— nope ???? (@LilNasX) December 5, 2018
Just months later, the “Old Town Road” remix was released, and the song reigned atop the Billboard Hot 100 for 19 straight weeks, smashing the previous record and later becoming the fastest song ever to be certified diamond.
On Sunday, Nas and Cyrus took home two Grammys for the song: best music video and best pop duo/group performance.
The two are also starring in an “Old Town Road”-themed Doritos commercial together, which will air during the Super Bowl. The clip sees the 20-year-old rapper dance-battling “A Star is Born” actor Sam Elliott for a bag of Cool Ranch, while Cyrus coolly looks on.
“Sam Elliott. I mean, he’s a legend. He’s as relevant today as ever,” Cyrus told us. “Only way I can compare is – it has to be some type of an Elvis quality. That’s as close to doing a commercial with Elvis as I’ll ever get. And I had two Elvis’, between Sam Elliott and Lil Nas X. How could I go wrong?”
Cyrus also discussed how another one of his idols, Neil Diamond, inspired his new EP: “The Singin’ Hills Sessions, Vol. I Sunset,” which was released on Friday. The first song is a cover of Diamond’s “I Am…I Said.”
“It’s me tipping my hat to Neil Diamond, because had I not won tickets to his concert 40 years ago – I went the next day and bought a guitar. Because he inspired me that making music and touching people’s lives was my purpose,” Cyrus told us.
“I’ve always prayed for purpose. I’m hungry for purpose. I need to be needed and just looking for some type of positivity in this crazy time we’re in is what we’ve all got to do.”
- Read more:
- THEN AND NOW: The stars of ‘Hannah Montana’ 9 years later
- Lil Nas X spent his first major paycheck on taking his entire family bowling
- The life and rise of Lil Nas X, the ‘Old Town Road’ singer who went viral on TikTok and just won his first 2 Grammys
- Billy Ray Cyrus dedicates 2 of his and Lil Nas X’s Grammy wins to Kobe Bryant and his daughter
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