Billy Ray Cyrus Signs with PolyGram

By Jean Metcalfe

"I've pursued this dream for many years and devoted my heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears to make it a reality."

That's Flatwoods, Ky., country music artist Billy Ray Cyrus talking about the recording contract he signed early this year with Mercury-PolyGram Records.

"We are delighted to welcome Billy Ray Cyrus to the Mercury-PolyGram family of recording artists," said Harold Shedd, head of the Nashville record label, and the person responsible for producing Alabama, K.T. Oslin, Reba McEntire, and the Kentucky HeadHunters.

Under the terms of his contract, Cyrus will record eight albums and conduct live tours to promote his records throughout the world.

Cyrus has opened for such artists as George Jones, T. Graham Brown, Reba McEntire, Charlie Daniels, Patty Loveless, REO Speedwagon, Restless Heart, Highway 101 and Lorrie Morgan.

Cyrus & the Breeze expect to have their first album completed by April when they return to his hometown area for a performance on the 20th at the Paramount Arts Center in Ashland, Ky., site of Cyrus' January 3 contract signing.

Breeze band members include Terry Shelton from Boone Co., Ky., Barton Stevens from Carter Co., Ky., Greg Fletcher from Barboursville, W.V., and Corky Holbrook of Westwood, Ky.

Cyrus credits his grandmother with his early involvement in music. It was her insistence that the young Cyrus made his first public appearances -- singing old standard hymns and gospel songs at the Pentecostal church where his grandfather was pastor. At age five he was performing with his father's gospel quartet, The Crownsmen.

"I love to perform," Cyrus says. "When I step onstage, I want nothing more than for the audience to love what I do as much as I love doing it."

Cyrus is currently playing Cowboy's Nightlife clubs in the Carolinas.