Eighteen years after grabbing America's attention on a USA Network show called Nashville Star, Miranda Lambert is an Entertainer of the Year. Her mentor for the television show was Clint Black, and recently he opened up about the advice he gave her back then.

Black mentored all of the contestants throughout Season 1 of Nashville Star. Buddy Jewell would win, and the hitmaker would go on to produce his self-titled album for Columbia Records. Black also produced singles for the second and third place finishers, John Arthur Martinez and Lambert.

Talking to Taste of Country Nights, Black remembers telling the then 19-year-old Texan to "hit the high notes more."

"She sang in the studio for me when I was producing the single, and I had her doing some stuff, and she didn't like doing that," Black recalls. "And I told her and her mom, 'You know when she goes up in her high range, that's the pixie dust. That's the magic. And she needs to do more and more of that.' But she didn't want to, and I thought, man, she sounded great doing that stuff."

While not known as a soprano, Lambert has shown vocal range throughout her career. She lives at a lower register than some of her peers, but has gone for that "pixie dust" on songs like "White Liar" and the fragile final chorus of "Over You." Grit and raw emotion characterize her best songs, few of which would be labeled as vocal showcases, first and foremost.

Finishing in third place on the reality show afforded Lambert time to ingest some of the feedback and to grow into the artist she was looking to be. While she'd sign with Epic Records after Nashville Star wrapped, it'd be another year before she'd drop her debut single off at radio ("Me and Charlie Talking"), and a year after that before her Kerosene album would be released.

"Gunpowder and Lead" would be her first Top 10 hit in 2008, and then with songs from the Revolution album (her third), her career would begin to pick up steam to make her a perennial headliner and Entertainer of the Year nominee.

Black talked to ToC just days after Lambert won her ACM EOTY prize, and throughout the full interview he shared stories about some of his contemporaries like Tim McGraw, plus fellow cast members from his many reality shows. That anxious moment between him and Dennis Rodman on Celebrity Apprentice was much more real than viewers realized.

Currently, Black is the host of Talking in Circles With Clint Black on the Circle Network. McGraw Tracy Lawrence, John Hiatt and Dennis Quaid are a few other guests on Season 2 of the show.

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