Toby Keith’s First Interview in Over a Year To Air on CMT’s ‘Hot 20 Countdown’

by Suzanne Halliburton
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

Toby Keith, who hasn’t been interviewed on camera in more than a year, will appear on CMT this weekend.

Specifically, the country music superstar will be part of Saturday’s Hot 20 Countdown on CMT. The network is billing its Toby Keith sit down as the first on-camera interview he’s done since before he revealed his cancer diagnosis.

CMT said its host, Cody Alan, caught up with Keith last week when BMI honored Keith with its icon award at a gala in Nashville. The network says Keith will talk about songwriting, country radio and whether he’ll go back on tour again. The show airs at 8 a.m. Central on Saturday. And it’ll repeat Sunday at 7 a.m.

Toby Keith did do an interview with BMI reps last week. And BMI downloaded that chat to its YouTube channel. In the interview, he gave his best advice to young songwriters. After all, the 61-year-old was once in their shoes.

“The best advice I could give an up-and-coming songwriter would be to try to write something every day and try to finish as many as you can,” Toby Keith said in the BMI interview.

“The only thing you can do, I mean, I feel like I wrote 200 songs. Then I wrote a good one. Then I wrote 150 songs, then I wrote another good one. (And) then, you know, I wrote 50 songs, and I wrote another good one. As you learn and network and you keep honing your trade, it will come easier for some people.

“People more talented than me probably shrunk that margin,” Keith said. “But once you get down to where you understand how to write a song, then you’re just a great idea away from a great song.”

Keith even brought up a specific song. He said he can feel a hit lyric in his soul, but that it takes discipline.

“When I got the idea to do ‘Don’t Let The Old Man In’ a few years ago, I knew when I heard the title that I was going to write a masterpiece for myself,” Keith said. “That’s what happens. I know the second I know the idea if I’ve got a hit or not if I can nail it. And that’s just from doing it over and over and over again. Just get it in there. You can’t be lazy with it.”

Aside from the one-on-one interview with BMI, Toby Keith also gave an acceptance speech. So it appears he’s feeling far better than this time a year ago. That’s when he was undergoing treatment for stomach cancer. This summer, he told his fans about the diagnosis via a social media post. He said he still needed time to “breathe, recover and relax.” But he added that he’ll see fans “sooner than later.”

So hopefully, Toby Keith will reveal in the CMT interview when he’ll return to the stage.