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Andrew Southam

The outspoken star of NBC’s The Voice returns to making music rather than judging it with his sixth studio album.

By any measure, country star Blake Shelton is having a career year. In the past 12 months, the tall Oklahoman has won the Country Music Association award for Male Vocalist of the Year, landed a gig on NBC’s The Voice, completed his first headlining tour, received his first Grammy nomination, earned his first No. 1 album and gotten married to fellow chart-topper Miranda Lambert.

If you think Shelton’s going to slow down though, forget it. His new album, Red River Blue, arrived this month, and its first single, “Honey Bee,” is another infectious good-time tune that joins a string of hits stretching back a decade. American Way talked with Shelton about his start, his songs and his love for social media.

American Way: Is it hard to find new songs?
Blake Shelton: It’s one thing to find 10 songs. It’s another thing to find 10 songs that you’re excited about and you love. It’s even harder to write that many. When I roll along through the year, whether I’m recording an album or not, I’m in the studio four or five times just recording stuff either so I don’t lose it or so we’re ahead of the game.

AW: “Honey Bee” really took off.
BS: I hope it adds momentum to the next song. What I’ve learned is: You can’t try to duplicate success and try to hold up one song against another, because each song you put out there is creating a story for you. What I want is to stand back 20 years from now and look back at all the songs and the path they took me down.

AW: The lean years when you first moved to Nashville weren’t that long ago. How lean were they?
BS: I was never homeless, but I was sure gasless a lot of times. I did a lot of odds and ends for people. I’d always just try to make enough money to buy beer and gas for my truck and pay rent in whatever piece of junk I was living in at the time.

AW: You’re known for being one of the more active social-media users in Nashville. Is it true the Grand Ole Opry invited you to join via Twitter?
BS: Yeah! [Laughs] I get addicted to things pretty easily. Now it’s not Twitter; it’s Angry Birds. So if the Grand Ole Opry were to ask me to be a member today, they’d have to do it in an Angry Birds game.