Toby Keith Reveals Whether or Not He’ll Tour Again After Cancer Diagnosis

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images for BMI)

Though Toby Keith has been battling stomach cancer for the better part of a year, the country music icon revealed that his career isn’t over just yet. Keith made a rare public appearance at the BMI Awards earlier this month where he was honored with the BMI Icon Award. And while he’s admitted that getting back to performing has been a difficult feat, he shared during a recent interview that he’s itching to get back on the road as long as things continue to improve.

Speaking with CMT Hot 20 Countdown’s Cody Alan, Toby Keith revealed, “Yeah, I’m thinking about…I’m thinking about getting back to fightin’ shape. I need a little bit of time to just rest up and heal up.”

He further revealed that navigating chemo and other cancer treatments has not been easy physically. He shared, “It’s pretty debilitating to have to go through all that, but as long as everything stays hunky-dory then we’ll look at something good in the future.”

During the interview, Country Now states Toby Keith also spoke out about his recent return to the stage at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Lexington, Kentucky. To Alan, he said, “It was good! I was over there for Breeders’ Cup. I’m an ambassador…one of the ambassadors of the Breeders’ Cup and we had all gone to dinner and they kept asking me…to get up [t]here and I was like, ‘ah you know,’ I said, ‘I think I’m just going to stay here with my friends.'”

In the end, though, a little encouragement was all it took. Reflecting on his return to the stage, Keith said, “it was really nice to see if [I] had any power in vocals left and we did alright.”

Toby Keith’s Advice for Hopeful Songwriters: Just Keep Writing

Although Toby Keith’s career has come to a (hopefully temporary) halt, the hitmaker had some sage advice for aspiring country music songwriters. His biggest piece of advice? Just keep writing.

Speaking with fans after receiving the BMI Icon Award, Toby Keith said, “The best advice I could give an up-and-coming songwriter would be to try to write something every day and to try and finish as many as you can.”

Looking back on his career in songwriting, he admitted, “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 so on. Essentially, he advised that if songwriters just continue to practice and hone their craft then, eventually, the gap between hits will grow shorter and shorter.

Toby Keith explained, “As you learn and network and you keep honing your trade, it will come easier for some people.”