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Those familiar with the Billy Ray Cyrus story know that the Kentucky native's musical roots lie firmly in the church. Billy Ray Cyrus grew up surrounded by gospel music. The grandson of a Pentecostal preacher, the young Cyrus was singing with his father's gospel quartet before he'd started grade school. Though Cyrus went on to fame as the multi-platinum hunky heartthrob behind such country hits as "Achy Breaky Heart," "Could've Been Me," "In the Heart of a Woman" and "Busy Man," his own faith still runs deep.
Billy Ray Cyrus admits his long, hard struggle to get his career off the ground and the ensuing rocket ride as "Achy Breaky Heart" catapulted him to international fame tested his faith. A devoted family man - he and wife Tish have six children - Cyrus' dual role as TV star and recording artist often requires long separations from his family.
"I have to say my world was spinning so out of control, I hit a couple of spots where I didn't feel like God could hear me anymore," Cyrus says. "There were times I felt like, 'Is anybody listening? Does anybody care?' But it wasn't that God wasn't listening, it's that I wasn't taking the time to be still and make sure that prayer was getting through."
With that realization came a shift in his priorities. "My family became my foundation, and my spirituality became my foundation," he says. "That's when I started reconnecting back to life, instead of being out there in the twilight zone on some rocket spinning out of control."
Though he's come full circle musically, Billy Ray Cyrus stresses he's still the same imperfect person he's always been.
"I'm not all of a sudden stepping up on a pedestal and saying I'm holier than thou, because I'm not! I'm a very imperfect person, but isn't that why God sent his son Jesus to this earth? - to save sinners like me? I just always try to work to make myself better in the eyes of God."
"Music is not a job, it's what I love to do." He says. "My goal is for my music to touch people's lives. I want them to feel they were moved inside."
His impressive career resume also includes the million-selling "It Won't Be The Last," three number-one and many top-ten singles including 1999s "Busy Man," which still receives strong recurrent airplay.
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