Eric Church recently slammed singing competition reality shows in an interview with Rolling Stone, in which he named NBC's "The Voice" coaches Blake Shelton, a fellow country star, and Cee Lo Green, but later said that his comments were not meant to be a personal verbal attack against them.
Church, who celebrates his 35th birthday on May 3, is known for songs such as "Drink in My Hand" and his new single "Springsteen." They are included on his third studio album, "Chief," which hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200 Albums Chart after its July 2011 release. Church moved from his native North Carolina to Nashville, home of country music, after college and signed a record contract about six years ago.
"Honestly, if Blake Shelton and Cee Lo Green (expletive) turn around in a red chair, you got a deal?" he told Rolling Stone in an interview published in its "That's crazy. I don't know what would make an artist do that. You're not an artist."
"If I was concerned about my legacy, there's no (expletive) way I would ever sit there," he added. "Once your career becomes about something other than the music, then that's what it is. I'll never make that mistake. I don't care if I (expletive) starve."
He later said in a statement carried by ABC News Radio that his remarks to Rolling Stone were "part of a larger commentary on these types of reality shows and the perception they create, not the artists involved with the shows themselves."
"Every artist has to follow up television appearances with dedication towards their craft, but these shows tend to gloss over that part and make it seem like you can be ordained into stardom," he added. "I have a problem with those perceived shortcuts, not just in the music industry." Shelton had Tweeted in response to the country singer's magazine interview: "Why? Just why?"
Church's original remarks drew the wrath of Shelton's wife and fellow country star Miranda Lambert, with whom he had toured in 2010.
"Thanks Eric Church for saying I'm not a real artist," she Tweeted. "Or @kelly_clarkson, @carrieunderwood & @KeithUrban. Your welcome for the tour in 2010."
Church said in his statement: "I have a lot of respect for what artists like Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, and my friend Miranda Lambert have gone on to accomplish. This piece was never intended to tear down any individual and I apologize to anybody I offended in trying to shed light on this issue."
Clarkson, one of the most popular contemporary pop stars, and Underwood, are both Grammy winners who rose to fame after winning the FOX's "American Idol." Clarkson, the program's first champion, is set to star as a mentor on ABC's new singing competition series, "Duets," which debuts this summer and also features singers John Legend, Jennifer Nettles and Robin Thicke.
Top rock sing Stevie Nicks guest starred on "The Voice" in June 2011 and performed with contestant Javier Colon, who ended up winning the debut season. Nicks told OnTheRedCarpet.com at the finale that if she were starting her music career nowadays, she would most definitely participate in a reality talent show.
Church is currently keeping busy with a U.S. tour, although he had to cancel a show on April 29, citing an undisclosed illness, which he says made his lose his voice.