Sunny Sweeney's Challenge to Brad Paisley
Sunny Sweeney's Challenge to Brad Paisley

After Pranking Star on Last Day of Tour, Says 'Dude, Get Me Back'

S unny Sweeney admits that the past couple of weeks would have to stand tall among the highlights of her career so far. After a 2011 to remember, where she entered the top ten on the singles chart for the first time with "From a Table Away," she was voted on by country radio to appear on the 2012 New Faces Show at the Country Radio Seminar.

"I'm so flattered and honored that of all of the people they could have picked, they chose me," she told Billboard. "That's a huge honor."

Sweeney has worked doggedly hard since her first single came out, and says the intense schedule took some getting used to. But, there's nothing she'd rather be doing. "I'm tired a lot, because we don't sleep. We travel all the time. But, it doesn't matter anymore, because you learn to adjust. You wake up some days on two or three hours sleep and you think 'Is this really my life? This is so cool.' This is what I get to do with a job. It's crazy."

It also got crazy for Sweeney last year, as one of the opening acts on Brad Paisley's tour. Though the headliner has a penchant for being one of the greatest practical jokers in the business, he might have met his match. "I pranked him," she says with a breeze of Texas confidence. "He didn't do anything to me. He has a fishing seat in the middle of the audience on the side stage, where he runs off on the catwalk. I replaced it with a toilet and put big blow-up pink flamingos all over the stage, with a picture of my face on the back of the toilet seat. His tour manager were saying 'You're pressing your luck,' but I did it the last night of the tour, so he didn't get me."

She knows that Paisley will probably be ready for her next time out, but she feels she's ready for the challenge. "I don't care. I come from a big family with lots of pranks, so I welcome them. Dude, get me back, whatever," she says slyly.

It wasn't all fun and games last year. The songstress tied the knot with longtime beau Jeff Hellmer last fall, and she could not be happier. "It's great, and he's the best thing that has ever happened to me."

As far as 2012 goes, it looks like she will be equally as busy. "We're working on a new album. And there's the Throwdown tour with Gary Allan, Justin Moore, Eric Paslay, and Josh Thompson this summer. That will be a blast," she says.

Will the practical jokes be flying on this tour? Sweeney ponders for a second, and says "I don't know. I'm going to have to see what they got up their sleeve. Justin Moore probably will. We're friends, and cut from the same cloth -- a bunch of rednecks."

Meanwhile, Sweeney has been named as the "This Is NRA Country" Artist Of The Month for March. She says she is humbled and excited about the honor. "Every day, brave men and women put their lives on the line for our safety and well being of people of our great nation. From firefighters to law enforcement to our Armed Forces and more, I'm grateful to all for their diligence and dedication. I'm proud to be an American. I am Sunny Sweeney, and I am NRA Country."

As part of the March promotion, fans can register ( here ) to win an autographed photo and a copy of "Concrete," her latest disc.