Kellie Pickler
Robert Ascroft

On April 19, the Academy of Country Music Awards set up shop in Texas -- a big change of pace for the artists used to hitting Las Vegas for the event in previous years. One of those stars who enjoyed the week of festivities in the Lone Star State was Black River recording artist Kellie Pickler.

"It was a great experience being in Dallas," the singer told The 615. "The weather was incredible, and we were there to celebrate country music. What could be better? I think the Academy did a great job in making everything happen."

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During her time in Texas, she also participated in the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Country Checkers Challenge during the ACM Party for a Cause Festival at Globe Life Park. The singer served as captain of a team of country artists on a life-size checkerboard, where the artist themselves were the checker pieces. "That was so much fun. It was so great to be involved with that and raise money and awareness for our servicemen and women," she said, as the event raised $25,000 for the USO and $10,000 for Disabled American Veterans.

Pickler is also making a little bit of history as of late, partnering up with the Grand Ole Opry for her Selma Drye by Kellie Pickler home goods, the very first artist-curated merchandise collection to partner with the WSM Radio show. "It's my very first interior line of designs, which was inspired by my great-grandmother. There was a song on my last album that was a tribute to her. I kind of pulled lyrics from the song to inspire it and even took pieces from her home into our first meeting to show everything what we were about, and wanted to create."

The singer says that Selma Drye herself would have approved. "I think she would have loved it. She was a very simple woman, and there is a lot of re-framed wood and re-purposed items that you can use for many different things. Each individual piece has their own separate story and meaning -- whether it has something to do with tying into the song lyric or whatever. It's a collection to be a part of people's homes. It's exciting to help someone make their house into a home. You buy your first house or apartment, and that takes a while. It's nice to be a part of that process."

Pickler is also very involved in the recording process right now, and she tells Billboard that she is very excited about it. "We're going to be ready to launch some music in the next few weeks. We are in the process of mixing and mastering and deciding which one is going to be the single. We've got it narrowed down to a couple, so we'll be making that decision soon."