Toby Keith on His Grueling Early Years: ‘I Was Trying to Outwork Everybody’
Toby Keith is nothing if not determined, and he always has been.
The country artist amassed 20 No. 1 hits in his career, many of which he co-wrote, and has consistently toured both in the U.S. and overseas, performing for troops. In a new interview with Dan Rather as part of an episode of The Big Interview, Keith reflects on the most grueling years of his career.
While the country music icon loves life on the road — he calls it "a big party" — he says his other interests are pulling him in different directions as of late.
"I could do it [tour] year round, but I just have other things that interest me and I want to live life a little bit outside of what I do, just to see what I like ... because I was on the grindstone so long," he tells Rather.
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Keith's other interests? Golf, fishing, spending time with family and hanging at his home in Mexico. Now 57, the singer admits he's enjoying time off now, because he was always on the grind early on.
“I didn’t take many vacations the first 20 years of my adult life, because my head was on the line,” he explains. “When I came out and my song hit, I was doing 28, 29 shows a month because I didn’t know I was gonna get a second hit, let alone an 85th hit. At the time I was just trying to outwork everybody.”
"Should've Been a Cowboy" was a massive No. 1 hit in 1993 and became of the most-played country songs of the 1990s, but even this success couldn't slow the singer's work ethic.
"After about 15 years, my family finally went, ‘Hey, are we ever gonna go to Disney World?'" Keith admits with a laugh.
Keith's 1993 Should've Been a Cowboy album is getting a remastered re-release to celebrate 25 years on Nov. 30. On Dec. 8, Keith will accept the Nashville Symphony's 2018 Harmony Award.
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