Nelly is best known for being a rapper and R&B singer but also as the pioneer who brought the genres together with Country music for a unique sound.
From “Over And Over” with Tim McGraw in 2004 to his “Cruise” remix with Florida Georgia Line in 2013 to releasing his own rendition of Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man” and more recently his single “Lil Bit” with Florida Georgia Line. “Lil Bit” is a track that is set to appear on his upcoming country-inspired EP, Heartland, which will be released in early 2021.
The singer says that his love for Country music comes from his Uncle who was a huge Lionel Richie fan and would support and listen to anything that Richie was a part of including the song “Lady” that he wrote for the late Kenny Rogers. Nelly says that hearing the Richie-penned Kenny Roger’s songs from his Uncle is where his love for Country music began. Richie has previously credited Rogers for helping launch his solo career including within a thank you speech during the American Music Awards.
“My uncle is the one that got me into music and he was a huge Lionel Richie fan and Lionel used to do a lot of writing, he wrote for Kenny Rogers and he wrote for a lot of different people and my Uncle would play anything by Lionel Richie, if it was sung, written, produced, whatever, he would play it,” Nelly explained. “He used to play Kenny Rogers a lot and that was kind of like how my love affair for Country music started and it’s one of the purest art forms that still exists to this day.”
He continued to explain why he love’s Country music saying, “just the love, the passion and the honesty in the music, I think that it resonates with me.”
Watch Nelly’s full interview with fellow superstar Kelly Clarkson below.
Florida Georgia Line and Nelly are set to perform their latest collaboration “Lil Bit” on The Voice during the Season finale on Monday, December 14 (9-11 p.m. ET/PT) on NBC.