Luke Bryan knows that not everyone is going to be a fan of his music, but he never wants to be the person to criticize others.

In a candid interview with Nashville industry publication Country Aircheck, which named Bryan as the most-heard artist of the decade, the superstar singer is honest about his thoughts on those who vocalize their discontentment with the current state of country music.

“I will never be the guy who criticizes and belly aches about how someone makes music and a living for themselves. I’ve had it happen to me,” Bryan says (quote via CMT). "I’ve heard legends say, ’I wish country music would go back to…’ I don’t really understand why we would spend a lot of time trying to sound like people in the '80s and '90s. I get what people are trying to say, but you have to find your own sound."

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And Bryan certainly has defined his own sound. The icon broke onto the country scene in the mid-2000s with hits like "All My Friends Say," "Do I" and "Rain Is a Good Thing," but it was the release of "Country Girl (Shake it For Me)" in 2011 that launched him to the next level of stardom — and garnered criticism for what people said was empty meaning and sexist lyrics.

"One minute, I’m the savior of country music, the next, I’ve ruined it," Bryan analyzes of what people said at the time.

He also recalls his early days playing in honky-tonks, where after he'd perform a country set, the DJ would play rap and hip-hop, remarking how people listen to all styles of music now more than ever.

“Now, people have playlist with all forms of music. The days where everybody just listens to one style of music because that’s the only channel their car will pick up on the radio are gone," he explains. "People have their music they listen to when they’re on their boat. They’ve got their music for when they ride around their farm. They’ve got their music they listen to when they’re tailgating at a football game. It’s all different, and it all sets a mood that they want to get into."

Bryan earned his 23rd No. 1 single with "Knockin' Boots" in 2019. His current single "What She Wants Tonight" is currently in the Top 20 on both the Billboard Country Airplay and Hot Country Songs charts.

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