Billy Ray Cyrus Retiring From Music? He's Changed His Mind

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BILLY RAY CYRUS
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For Billy Ray Cyrus, Change My Mind isn't just the title of his recent album and single, it's also his latest career move.

During the promotion of his previous album, I Am An American, in May of 2011, the country star and mullet king seemed convinced that his next batch of songs would be his final recording. But something happened during the record process of what would become Change My Mind that, well, changed his mind about his musical future.

"I wrote a bunch more songs, so now I've got to make another one," Cyrus tells Huffington Post Music Canada. "When I write a song, it's almost like it can't be delivered, like I can't move on, until it's recorded. So I'm going to make another album."

With the potential for more records in the future, Change My Mind became less of finale for Cyrus and more the end of a chapter, or perhaps a retrospective on the first 20 years of his career.

"I just felt like it was the right band with the right songs with the right producer. The right time in my life to make a record that reflected all of my roots, where I've been, where I'm at, where I'm going."

It's also an intensely personal album. Written during a rocky period in his family life when he was on the verge of divorcing his wife, Tish Cyrus, it details the problems he was facing and emotions he was experiencing in extremely straightforward and honest terms.

"It's therapy," says the singer. "That's what I write about, what I'm living. I try to live what I'm singing and sing what I'm living."

Despite the overwhelming tabloid attention that his family as a whole endured during that time, Cyrus insists that he didn't feel the need to hold back or censor any of his lyrics to protect what was left of their privacy.

"I just stay focussed on being in the moment right now," he says, and leaves it at that.

He's equally vague when discussing the celebrity culture that he first experienced with his breakthrough hit, "Achy Breaky Heart" in 1992, and how it compares to to blog and gossip-obsessed fame that he and his daughter, pop star Miley Cyrus, face today, preferring to talk about fame in more general terms.

"It's a different climate. It's a different world," he muses. "That whole moment for me was build on a foundation of 10 years of persistence and dedication and never giving up on a dream. Nowadays, you get about a hundred shows, Whatever Got Talent This, Got Talent That, blah blah blah. There's a hundred of those talent shows out there. Then you've got the internet where, for me, I played a bar five nights a week, six nights a week four sets a night. Nowadays you can change your life with one video on youtube if you're a struggling singer/songwriter and actor. So there's advantages and disadvantages."

He doesn't try to bother himself with the whole situation, though, and he doesn't think anyone else should, either.

"You've just got to try to look at the glass half full instead of half empty and try to take the positive and you know not worry about the negative. There's so much of life you spend worrying about things that are over and done that couldn't be changed with all the worry in the world. So you've just got to focus on what's important to you in your life and work on your dreams and goals."

But does the gossip bother him?

"I don't know," he shrugs. "I'd be the wrong person to ask, probably because I'm not much of a gossip."

Cyrus is far more interested in his music and acting, and where they're going to take him next. Change My Mind, he insists, is just the beginning of a whole new adventure. He just did Broadway, where he played Billy Flynn in Chicago. In the new year, he'll embark on a world tour to support the album and release an autobiography on Amazon. He's also shot a television pilot called Still The King that he's hoping will be picked up.

After that, at some point, he's hoping to finally get a chance to record some of those new songs that he's been writing.

"I might just write songs during 2013, come up with a whole batch of songs and then — maybe in 2014, after a good hard, heavy dose of world tour — then I might be in a good spot to just make one last record."

But don't hold him to that "last record" promise this time around, either. Cyrus admits that he could just as easily change his mind again.