Nashville is what brought UK native Sam Palladio to Music City, but even when it looked as though the TV show -- which aired for the first four seasons on ABC and now will air on CMT -- may not continue, the actor who plays singer Gunnar Scott had no plans of relocating anywhere else.

"I think the music scene here is so inspiring and fascinating, and kind of keeps me grounded," Palladio tells The Boot. "You can go do the Hollywood thing but then come back and write music with great people."

Much like Palladio himself, Scott -- a rising star and an on-again, off-again, on-again love interest and musical partner of Scarlett O'Connor (played by Clare Bowen) -- has grown and evolved throughout Nashville's past four seasons.

"We find him originally as a struggling, young, aspiring singer-songwriter, trying to get some cuts and trying to make some tunes. And it was great to see him get some success, and see the duo, who make great music," Palladio notes. "I think he’s an ambitious guy; he’s got his heart in the right place. He’s always been a shoulder to lean on for a few people, and I’m excited to see what he’s capable of."

In Season 5, Palladio hopes to see Scott experiencing even more growth, both musically and professionally.

"I would love to see what Gunnar’s capable of, and see if he can exist outside of the duo ... It would be interesting to explore, see how far he can take it under his own steam. It might not be very far," Palladio confesses. "We got a taste of that with Elton John last year, when he gets a chance to get up there and show people what he’s made of, so that would be an interesting thing to explore."

Palladio never thought of himself as a singer before starring in Nashville, however, and he says that the show's music is still the most anxiety-inducing part of the experience.

"The musical challenge is always the most exciting and the most fun, to be given new music and find the best way to sing," he shares. "Suddenly I’m in the studio, and having to sing real good was a challenge, and is a challenge, and is still a little daunting. As long as there’s some challenge there, it’s moving forward."

Still, it's the music that Palladio finds the most rewarding part of his role -- and what has given him some of his favorite memories on the show.

"I think to be able to create a relationship with the Grand Ole Opry has been pretty special," he says. "It’s such an institution of country music, and the home and heart of the genre, so that’s an incredible thing when we get to jump up onstage there, either in a fictitious world or in real life, and [to] tread those boards is an honor, really."

Even with a busy year of filming ahead, Palladio hopes to find time to pursue his musical ambitions as well, including finally sharing more of his music with the world.

"I’ve been surrounded by such talented people the last few years, and I’m really excited about some of the stuff I’ve created," he says. "It’s about time to share it."

Palladio had committed to doing another TV show before Nashville's return was solidified, and he also had plans to pursue his own musical career in his downtime.

"Actually, to be able to tour was an exciting thing for a minute," he admits. "I just cut an EP a few months ago, and I was kind of like, ‘Let’s book a tour and get on the road,’ and then that had to change a little bit, but there’s still time for that."

But most importantly, the 30-year-old is eager to be back on set, especially after a few months of not knowing if Nashville would ever return.

"I couldn’t want a better cast, really," he admits. "You do any job for five years, and you need a shake-up. So to be on a great network who are really excited to have us, and [have] new creative teams, musically and script-wise, I think, was a really good call."

Season 5 of Nashville will premiere in its entirety on CMT on Thursday (Jan. 5) at 9PM ET.

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