Blake Shelton scored a career-establishing hit with his debut single, "Austin." But in a new interview, the country superstar and television personality reveals that he didn't want to cut the song when he first heard it.

"When I first heard 'Austin,' I thought it was just super cheesy, and I was just like, 'God, this guy is so desperate, let it go, dude. It's been a year, you're still putting this answering machine message on, what are you doing?'" he recalls to Today’s Country Radio With Kelleigh Bannen on Apple Music Country.

"Austin" gave Shelton a No. 1 hit single straight out of the gate when he released it as the debut single from his self-titled debut album in 2001. The song is still one of the tracks most closely associated with him two decades later, and looking back, he tells Bannen that he might have made a major career mistake if not for some sage advice.

"And so luckily back then I had Bobby Braddock and Debbie Zavitson in my ear going, 'Listen, man, you need to just live with this song, work on it ...' and I was just so stupid, I did, and thank God they stayed on me about that, because otherwise, I wouldn't be sitting here talking to you 20 years later, probably."

Shelton has gone on to score a long string of 28 No. 1 hits to date, most recently hitting the top spot with his fiancee, Gwen Stefani, and their duet on "Happy Anywhere." His current single, "Minimum Wage," appears on his new album, Body Language, which dropped on May 21.

See Blake Shelton's Pictures Through the Years

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