Get to know the hosts of the 2012 CMT Music Awards Toby Keith and Kristen Bell! Exclusive Dish Magazine interview from the CMT Press Conference
Kristen Bell:It’s the first time I’ve hosted anything. I like Nashville, I like it very much. I’ve never been here before and I only got in yesterday but I’ve driven around and walked around I guess about a half mile last night and saw the Gulch and I like it.
Toby Keith:I’m particularly fond of this award show because videos were a great part of my career and I was able to grow my career and express myself not only through music but through the video. I got a lot of CMT awards. They always put together a great show. It’s different; to me it’s not as sterile as the other award shows. It’s more hang out, hang loose. I hosted it several years ago with Pam Anderson and I guess I’m back on the cycle again. I’m back here again. It’s always an honor and it’s not as scripted, we get to hang out. We’ve got some guidelines to go by and it’s just wide open and that’s the way it should be. I have a great cohost, too.
Dish Magazine's Editor-in-Chief Raeanne Rubenstein To TK:What did you think the first time you heard Willie Nelson’s..?
TK:I did one called “I’ll never smoke weed with Willie again” and I sang it at his birthday party and he got up with me and I thought it was just a matter of time because he would write something like that and it’s hilarious. As you know, he’s been in the news forever and I think it’s a wonderful song. It’s a fantastic song, it’s got four or five verses and it’s hilarious that he’s at his age and still has so much fun.
Raeanne Rubenstein To KB:How did you come to host the CMT awards and are you a country music fan?
KB:I got an invitation. I am a country music fan and I have presented at a variety of country music award shows in the past because I’m a fan and I don’t know, honest to God I don’t know how I got here. They just invited me and I squealed. I obviously said yes. I’d never been to Nashville before so I was very excited.
Raeanne Rubenstein To both:Since you only met yesterday, how are you two getting along?
TK:We’re already fighting.
KB:It’s going really well.
TK:It’s been great. Everything since we’ve met so far has been working. A lot of training, a lot of rehearsal. Up between now and the end of the show…
KB:We’re probably going to be besties.
Raeanne Rubenstein To TK:Are you going to get back into film? I know you’ve been taking a break.
TK:The last picture we did, it took me ten months because we actually wrote the script and coordinated all my buddies to do the movie so it took so much away from my album process that I really felt that I took a hit from it because I just wasn’t as prepared musically when I went back in the studio as I usually am that time of year. And when you own your own label you have deliver the business side of it, too. I really felt like I took a hit. If the right things come along, that don’t very much time, then I can consider doing things. It’s gotta be really the right thing. We had fun, I had a blast.
Raeanne Rubenstein To KB:Toby’s a big Deadwood fan. Did he pick your brain a bit about your experiences on that show?
KB:There’s a variety of topics Toby and I have yet to cover in our relationship because we did just meet yesterday. I didn’t know that, you’re Deadwood fan?
Raeanne Rubenstein To KB:Kristen, can we expect any gown/wardrobe changes throughout the show, anything special for you?
KB:I guess, I packed some stuff. It’s particularly fun to host something I think because you get to sort of formulate an arc in your wardrobe. And it’s really silly and girly but it’s a whole lot of fun but I had a lot of fun putting it together and yea, I’m very excited about that.
TK:I have a nice skirt. A knee high job with some pumps.
Raeanne Rubenstein To KB:Did you get any hosting advice from anyone?
KB:No, but if anyone’s got any for me, I’m all ears.
To both:What do you hope the fans will take away from watching the show?
TK:We just want them to be excited at the end, when it’s over with. Fans voting is the way all award shows should be. It should be up to the listener, not up to us. I’ve always said it’s really not up to us. We can only make music and create … and you’re successful because people follow you and it should be up to them. It shouldn’t be up to a bunch of yahoo’s sittin around a desk.
Raeanne Rubenstein To KB:You travel with your sloth?
TK:Yea, let’s talk about this sloth
KB:Here we go. I’ll start by saying that I am not a fan nor will I ever support the exotic animal trade. So, it’s not my sloth but I can understand how it could be slightly confusing. In the movie business, or like for a music video, when you need a horse or a tiger or a bear there are animal sanctuaries that work out of Los Angeles or in a 300 mile radius where the animals live and are usually rescued and have a bunch of trainers. So the surprise came from an animal rescue place that works for movies. This sloth I will say, had a bigger resume than both me and Dax combined. This sloth has been in Minority Report, ever heard of it? But we didn’t talk all business that day. It was a wonderful day. But I didn’t keep her. I just adored her while she was in my living room.
Raeanne Rubenstein To TK:Are you nervous to host?
TK:After 20 years of playing in front of every audience, that went away years ago. It doesn’t really matter if there’s one or a billion watching. I’ve done everything from the World Peace Press Project to been on Letterman and all those things. The butterflies on that went way. It creates energy. You wanna get out and perform and do good, but other than that, no to answer your question.
TK:We just finished our tenth trip to the desert and played our 192nd show. We don’t go into Iraq anymore, that’s over. There’s no place to go anymore. We started going out on carriers in the gulf. So we visited the Abraham Lincoln and the U.S.S. Enterprise was about 30 miles off the coast of Iran. Spent the night and played for 5,000 sailors, so we started hitting the sailors more since Iraq’s out. We usually go for a couple of weeks and it’s a wonderful geography lesson, it’s a wonderful history lesson. It’s a wonderful meeting of heroes. It’s just a wonderful venture each year. It’s like an adult Boy Scout trip and we really wrap up and get excited about going.
KB:I’ve always been a fan of music in general, I grew up in Motown. So, jus the idea of music being a way of life and a part of your life is a big idea. Detroit and Michigan is kind of split down the middle of people who like Motown and sort of gotten more into urban music or who still like country. For me, I think that the songs are so relatable, their ideas are simple and their melodies and harmonies are sort of pure, not really simple. They’re just very relatable ideas and they sing a lot about life. Every time I hear a country song it makes me laugh because I can consider myself in that position, I guess. That doesn’t happen necessarily with every other genre of music for me. I also feel like my mom sang a lot of Patsy Cline around the house and she had a lot of Garth Brooks CDs. She was into country music so I played a lot in her Discman before I started my own collection. So I think that influenced me a little bit.
Raeanne Rubenstein To TK:What award show would you host that would put you in the same position Kristen’s in now?
TK:It’d have to be like the Emmy’s or something, right? I guess. The Emmy’s, the Globeys, the Slothy’s.
A few months ago I walked into a show at 12th and Porter and saw Shannon Sanders slumped over a piano and a pint size singer on stage with locks down her back soulfully strumming away on the guitar. I was fascinated by the two of them. Before I knew it she dropped the guitar and moved over to the keys… then on to the harmonica… I have yet to see an artist in Nashville mirror the musicality that Laura Reed showed that night. Known for her soulful tone and inspirational messages, Laura released “Faith Not Fear” , which was co-written and produced by the Grammy Award winning Shannon Sanders, yesterday as the first single off her upcoming project, The Awakening. Check out the video below:
Video Directed/Edited by Alexander King of Synchronicity Media and Produced by Ryan Hamblin of Brainstorm Media