Billy Ray Cyrus: ‘Old Town Road’ Feels Like a 21st Century ‘Achy Breaky Heart’
At a recent 2020 Grammy Awards nominees party in Nashville, Billy Ray Cyrus likened the appeal of the 2019 viral sensation “Old Town Road” to that of 1992’s “Achy Breaky Heart” before putting over Lil Nas X's success within a very different music business model.
At the 2020 Grammys, "Old Town Road" is up for three awards: Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo / Group Performance and Best Music Video. A win would add to accolades that include American Music Awards, Apple Music Awards, BET Hip Hop Awards, CMA Awards, MTV Video Music Awards and Teen Choice Awards trophies.
“The Grammys have been nice enough [to nominate us], and the people around the world embrace this little song,” Cyrus says. “It’s just a little song that everybody could sing and everybody could dance and everybody could video themselves and translate joy and harmony. Honestly, that’s what music is supposed to do.”
Cyrus’ unlikely involvement in a song shunned by country radio found the “Achy Breaky Heart” singer living like a pop megastar for the first time since the early '90s.
“I’ve got to see that a couple of times -- more than my share,” Cyrus says of crossover success. “To be honest, this song felt to me like "Achy Breaky Heart" felt like at a different time. I feel like I’m pushing a Flintstone wheel, going back to 1992 when there were record stores and there were actual records and CDs.”
The 27-year gap found Cyrus-related hits going from the main attraction on hot-selling LPs and cassettes to viral content on streaming sites and social media.
“A guy like Lil Nas is an innovator. He thought of something new,” Cyrus adds. “How do you take those walls down? How do you take the music worldwide without a big record company? He was smart enough to say TikTok, Soundcloud, Twitter, boom -- and, most of all, harness into the psyche of the people. This song just lent itself just enough that everybody could relate and make their own song, make their own dance. They could sing it their own way. That’s why I bought a guitar and started a band — songs like this.”
The 2020 Grammy Awards are set for Jan. 26 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif. The event will air live on CBS, with Alicia Keys as host. Prior to the televised ceremony, a pre-telecast Premiere Ceremony takes place earlier in the day.
The Boot will be staying up late covering the most buzzed-about country winners, fashion and moments at the 2020 Grammy Awards. Readers can watch along with us by checking back to TheBoot.com for the latest Grammys headlines, liking The Boot on Facebook and following The Boot on Twitter.
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