Billy Ray Cyrus' life has been a rollercoaster ride, and he's still enjoying it. Cyrus catapulted from humble Kentucky beginnings to stardom with his 1992 debut, Some Gave All, which was certi- fied nine-times platinum, fueled by the hit single "achy breaky heart." it's been two decades since that auspicious beginning, and cyrus is busier than ever. he teamed with music/Tv pro- ducer brandon Friesen to launch blue cadillac music, the Los angeles-based label that issued his latest album, Change My Mind. he's working on his autobiography, "hillbilly heart," due next april, and making his broadway debut in "chi- cago" on nov. 5.
l1 What made you decide to start your own label?
Waylon Jennings told me years ago, "The way to do it these days is start your own label." And I said, "I think I'm going to sign with Sony." He got upset and said, "Signing with [a major label] is like buying a boat. There's only one day happier than the day you bought it, and that's the day you sell it." I found out that Waylon was right. The last couple of albums that I've made have been with Disney [Music Group], and I love Mickey Mouse. Mickey Mouse has been good to me and my family, but this was an opportunity for me to get back to my roots as a singer/songwriter from Flatwoods, Ky.
l2 Do you plan on signing other acts to Blue Cadillac?
My vision for the label is to give a kid, like I was 30 years ago, a chance. It doesn't have to be a kid. I'm just going to be open to talent. I'd like this to be a vehicle, no pun intended, for other artists. Nothing would mean more to me than for Blue Cadillac to be able to help other people reach their dreams too.
l3 What can people expect from Change My Mind?
I make music straight from the heart. There's not a whole lot of anything really fancy here. You won't find me painting the Mona Lisa; but I don't have any desire to paint the Mona Lisa. I might paint some old barn somewhere out in a field-that to me is beautiful. My goal was to go back and make a record that encompassed every bit of my roots, from Bill Monroe to Glen Campbell to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Led Zeppelin to Molly Hatchet. All of those influences are a part of who I am.
l4 You've been doing a lot of TV. What else will you be doing to promote the album?
There's a video for "Change My Mind" on CMT and GAC. I call it the "opening act" because [of] the depth of this album. It really opens up in January 2013. That's when we'll pick the first single, and then I'll spend the first three months of next year on a tour bus going town to town across the States and Canada. I'm going to go back to my roots. I'm going to go to little clubs. I'm going to big clubs. I'm going to go wherever it takes me. I've not had an opportunity in 15 years to do that.
l5 You've been writing your autobiography. How's that going?
Writing the book has been somewhat therapeutic. It's made me ref lect and say, "You know what? This is my life. This is where I'm at. This is the way it went down." It's as tragic as Loretta Lynn's "Coal Miner's Daughter." Much like her story, there are those peaks and valleys. I never had anything that was ever in the middle of the road. It was either real, real bad or real, real good. I never really knew vanilla or anything in the middle.
l6 How do you plan on approaching the role of Billy Flynn in "Chicago"?
I'll do the best I can. One thing I don't want to do, I don't want to copy Richard Gere. Richard Gere was an unbelievable Billy Flynn, but I'm never going to be Richard Gere. Even the other guys that I've seen play Billy Flynn, they're great, trained actors. I'm going to borrow from all of them, but there has to be an originality. When people come to see it I want them to go, "Hey, Cyrus took that role and made it his own and kept all the elements of ev- erything that is great about Billy Flynn." I want to be original in my interpretation.