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"I wanted to have everything around me be totally unfamiliar to me," the superstar entertainer tells Nashville's Tennessean. "I think it's great in a sense that all sorts of stuff is coming out that I normally haven't done before."
Included in the list of new experiences was a writing session with producer Jay Joyce and hit songwriter Jeremy Spillman, which Keith says resulted in one of the most personal songs he has ever recorded.
"The song [I wrote with Joyce and Spillman] is a bit of my journey over the last six years, my transition," he notes. "I have it represented in there, and I like it because it got represented in a song that's otherwise pretty upbeat. I didn't think that would be the place for that kind of lyric, but it works."
Although he's guaranteed himself a fresh experience in writing and recording, Keith can't guarantee fans when the new set of tunes will hit shelves, since he's taking his time to make sure each song is exactly the way he wants it.
"It just isn't easy to do," he explains. "But it just feels very, very strong in me to do it. I am putting a tour on next year, but it won't be early in the year, so there is somewhat of a need for an album sooner than later. But I just would like for the album to be right. We can't keep remaking the same record.
While he's focusing his efforts on the upcoming album, Keith is still is setting aside some time for live performances. He heads to Canada later this month before returning stateside to perform in New York and New Jersey. He'll also kick off 2013 with a series of shows in Australia. Check out a list of his upcoming concerts here.