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Tracy Lawrence staying true to his music style

Tracy Lawrence will perform Professional Championship Bullriders finals Jan. 31. | HANDOUT PHOTO

Tracy Lawrence will perform at the Professional Championship Bullriders finals on Jan. 31. | HANDOUT PHOTO

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Professional Championship Bullriders, 7:30 p.m.,Jan. 31–Feb. 1, Sears Centre Arena, 5333 Prairie Stone Pkwy, Hoffman Estates. $8-$53


Updated: January 31, 2014 10:44AM

No more cigarettes, less alcohol and more exercise. That pretty much sums up what country music singer Tracy Lawrence learned from Pink’s performance at the Grammys.

“To watch Pink perform was amazing. I mean you could hear her voice bounce when the ribbons would catch her so you know she was really singing,” Lawrence said just hours after he watched the telecast from his comfy couch in Nashville. “Every performance inspired me in one way or another. Taylor [Swift] was amazing on the piano. Bruno Mars is crazy talented. Even Paul McCartney was challenging himself up there. It makes me want to strip away the unnecessary things in my life that are unhealthy and focus on being a more active and creative human being. I’m still learning as I go.”

Heading to Chicago on Jan. 31 for a concert following the Friday night festivities of the Professional Championship Bullriders World Tour Finale VIII (“every time I come into Chicago, it’s just so flippin’ cold!”), Lawrence says staying creative means not resting on the laurels of a career that has given him a plethora of hits such as “Time Marches On” and “Alibis,” alongside industry stats such as 13 million albums sold and 18 No. 1 singles. Instead, the man who just turned 46, says he is committed to finding ways to remain fresh and vital within an industry that is becoming a bit predictable these days.

“I’m all about getting out there and finding what I think is cool, even if it’s not the over-the-top power rock country stuff out there now,” says Lawrence, currently touring on the success of his 2013 release “Headlights, Taillights and Radios.” “I want to say the things that are relevant to a person of my age through my songs. I think there is a big trick to being a mature artist these days. You have to continue to connect with fans by being real rather than just going out there trying to chase what everybody else is doing.”

And while enduring the peaks and valleys of a 20-plus year career is a challenge in itself, Lawrence says the musical creative process is what keeps his head going in the right direction these days. And currently, that direction is heading towards new music. “I definitely know of a mental place that I want to go with this record, even though I haven’t even started writing it,” he says. “All I know that the music I’m hearing in my head is drastically different than anything I have ever put out before.”

Getting inspired to create the next great Tracy Lawrence hit is a job he takes seriously. “I don’t get musically inspired on the bus or on the road, because in my head, those are places where I do music,” he says. “I really have to be away from everything to get creative.”

Unless, of course, that place he is playing is the rodeo.

“The rodeo has always been very much involved in my own circle of life and ultimately the course of my career,” Lawrence said. “The music I grew up on and ultimately inspired me to do what I do was alwaysrodeo-friendly. I mean, George Strait and early Clint Black — that was true country. It helped me realize what I ultimately wanted to do with my life and still inspires me to this day.”

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