Everything We Know About Blake Shelton’s ‘If I’m Honest’
Blake Shelton's a country music superstar with a handful of Grammys, a whole lot of No. 1 songs and millions of fans to his name; he's also earned a legion of followers thanks to his role on The Voice. So it's no surprise, then, that a new album from Shelton is a hotly anticipated release -- especially the forthcoming If I'm Honest, his 12th studio album, as it will shed some light on his divorce from fellow country star Miranda Lambert as well as his new relationship with Gwen Stefani.
Below, The Boot rounds up all of the information available about If I'm Honest.
Shelton's new album will be called If I'm Honest ... and, really, that title says it all.
“I was like, ‘Man, I want it to be — I need a title that represents a timeline, like 12 or 13 months of my life, like if somebody took those months and wrote a story about it, that’s what I want the album to represent,’ and we kept saying like, 12 Months and Holy Crap,” Shelton recalls. “Finally, he was like, ‘What do you mean by that?’ I was just like, ‘I just want to tell the truth about what happened.’”
The Release Date
If I'm Honest is scheduled to drop on May 20, and Shelton says, "This is the most excited I’ve been about a new album since the release of my second record."
Shelton's sophomore record was 2003's The Dreamer, which features his No. 1 single "The Baby."
The Record Label
If I'm Honest will be released on Warner Bros. Nashville, Shelton's longtime label home.
The Album Cover
The If I'm Honest album cover is a black-and-white close-up shot of Shelton's face -- similar to the artwork for the project's first single, "Came Here to Forget." Printed across Shelton's face are the words "Blake Shelton" and "If I'm Honest," in white lettering with some light blue accents. Per a press release, a limited-edition 3D version of the cover will be made available in addition to the regular version.
Although a producer for If I’m Honest hasn't been revealed, there's a good chance that Scott Hendricks is the man, as he has produced or co-produced the last six of Shelton's projects.
Shelton performed If I'm Honest's first single, "Came Here to Forget," written by Craig Wiseman and Deric Ruttan, at the 2016 ACM Awards amidst a moody backdrop of black and white. The song, with lines stating, “Girl, you gettin’ over him, and I’m gettin’ over her / The eyes have it made, ain’t gotta say a word,” and, “Go ahead and check your phone like I’ve been checkin’ mine / Nobody’s ex is texting for a rewind,” could easily be about Shelton and Lambert's divorce, and he admits that even though he didn't write it, the song pinpoints his personal life.
"I've had a lot of music over the years," Shelton explains about "Came Here to Forget," "but I don't think I've ever had a song before that's such a direct look into my life."
"Came Here to Forget" is available for download on iTunes.
In addition to "Came Here to Forget," Shelton has also revealed a bit about the other music on If I'm Honest.
In early April, Shelton shared "Savior's Shadow," a simple, traditional gospel song.
“Though the devil tried to break me / My Sweet Jesus won’t forsake me,” Shelton sings in the song’s chorus. “When I’m in my savior’s shadow / Where I’m supposed to be.”
In August, Shelton shared on Twitter that he had “wrote a song so important to me I can’t believe it” and thanked Jessi Alexander and Jon Randall for their help. The singer later explained that he “dreamed the song last summer. I woke up and wrote down everything I could remember.”
Alexander tells Taste of Country that the song “came deep from Blake’s soul” and is “very special.”
“He started an incredible song, a gospel song, and asked me and JR to help him finish, and we actually worked on the strings today,” the songwriter says. “It’s beautiful and moving, and I can’t wait for him to tell the story … it’s very deep to him and to us.”
The record will also feature a collaboration with the Oak Ridge Boys, called "Doing It to Country Songs." Both acts shared photos of themselves together in the studio, and if fans were wondering how it went, Shelton dubbed their time together “literally magic.”
On April 19, Stefani "leaked" If I'm Honest's track listing, revealing that the project also includes “Friends,” Shelton's song from The Angry Birds Movie, and a collaboration with Stefani, titled "Go Ahead and Break My Heart." Shelton calls the latter “a full-blown duet,” adding that “I hesitate to brag on it too much, but I really think that it’s as good of a song as I’ve ever written in my life.”
“The song’s important to us,” Shelton notes, “and the fact that we wrote it together is so important to both of us.”
“I’ve written more than I’ve written in 15 years, for obvious reasons — all the awful things that have happened in my personal life — but the way the year ended is also the greatest of my life,” Shelton tells Country Countdown USA, adding, “If I got hit by a truck, the label would have enough for a new album.”
Blake Shelton, If I’m Honest Track Listing:
1. “Straight Outta Cold Beer”
2. “She’s Got a Way With Words”
3. “Bet You Still Think of Me”
4. “Every Time I Hear That Song”
5. “Came Here to Forget”
6. “Every Goodbye”
7. “It Ain’t Easy”
8. “Guy With a Girl”
9. “Go Ahead and Break My Heart” (feat. Gwen Stefani)
11. “One Night Girl”
12. “Doing It to Country Songs” (feat. the Oak Ridge Boys)
14. “You Can’t Make This Up”
15. “Savior’s Shadow”
Shelton hasn't been shy about admitting that If I'm Honest is a result of the turn of events in his personal life. The singer and Lambert divorced in July of 2015, while Stefani and her now-ex-husband Gavin Rossdale broke up in August of 2015. Obviously, there was pain in the breakups -- and also newfound love.
"I mean, it doesn't take, you know, a rocket scientist. If you have followed my career even a little bit in my life, you know what has happened with me in the last, gosh, eight or nine months," Shelton tells ET. "It is all on the record."
He adds, “Some has been bad, and some that’s been pretty good. I’m doing what I’m supposed to do, and that’s put all I’ve gone through and put it into music, and I never felt more connected to a record before. When people hear this record, they may not know what happened to me, but they’re gonna know how I felt about it. And that’s exciting for me, to just lay it out there for people.”
That, he says, is the beauty of being a musician. He can use his life experiences, "... whether it's a divorce or my new girlfriend, whatever those experiences are, whatever things that are happening in my life," and have an outlet for them. Shelton says, "I have music. I can write songs, I can sing about it."
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