Grammy Award-winning country artist Billy Dean has been delivering music that has been making a difference in the lives of his fans for over 20 years, which includes 13 Top 10 hits and four Gold studio albums. This year marks a milestone in the singer's career, as he has been chosen as the celebrity spokesperson for Naturipe Farms, a farmer-owned producer of wholesome, good-for-you fresh berries grown by local family farms.

With the new sponsor on his side, Dean is currently working with the fresh berry grower, writing and recording songs for its promotional videos and activities where he will be appearing on behalf of the company at retail events and media tours throughout the year. Dean recently released a new EP on iTunes, containing five new songs that will be part of the Naturipe events throughout the year (and which is available for purchase by clicking here).

Taste of Country recently caught up with the 'Billy the Kid' and 'Somewhere in My Broken Heart' singer to talk about his new venture with Naturipe, as well as what else he has been up to in the recent years, including is upcoming role as a firefighter in the made-for-TV movie 'Decision.'

It's good to have you "back" with new music! What has been going on in your life in the recent years that you've been laying kind of low from the music scene?
I've been out touring. I started touring last year. Went out on a little European tour with Kenny Rogers last June. It was my official back out on the road dates. We went all over Europe, Scotland, Ireland and England. We went to China in February of this year. Now we're out with the Oakridge Boys and doing a lot of solo dates on my own.

Talk about the new music you have made in relation with Naturipe Farms.
I'm working on a new album project that will be coming out in the fall. It will be sponsored by Naturipe. Basically, Naturipe has been very supportive of my music and career, and so in turn I've been really trying to get the word out and support Naturipe with the message of their locally grown produce, and reminding people to support the local farmers and look for the Naturipe brand. They've been very supportive of that and bringing awareness to people who are struggling to save their family farms. I want everyone to know just how important family farms are. We included a couple songs that have to do with agriculture. I've got one song called 'Earning Our Place on Earth,' which was written for the family farmer. The title of the album is 'The Seed,' and it's one of the best songs I've ever heard. It's a song from the point of view of a seed saying, "Don't tell me you're too small to do amazing things because I was just a seed." It's just a great album with good music. We're looking to release the full version in October.

This new collection of songs is another independently recorded album for you. What do you feel are some of the pros and cons of having all the pressure on your shoulders, rather than a major label?
It is a little more labor intensive because I do a lot of it myself. We do outsource some work on it, but I enjoy having the control and freedom to not have the pressure to make a competitive hit driving album. We can just do songs that really move me ... songs that are really powerful. You don't have to work with such a deadline like you do with [major] labels.

Are you planning on doing a full-fledged tour for the new album?
I will be doing some dates in the fall, [and] we're going to heavily tour in the winter. I'm going to be on the Kenny Rogers Christmas tour. The first part of that show is hits and new material, then we do an intermission and come back with Christmas material. So I'll be doing that tour with Kenny from October through the end of the year.

You recently played the role of a firefighter for the television movie 'Decisions.' When will that be premiering?
I was talking to a lady Lulu Roman from 'Hee Haw.' She is also in 'Decisions.' Apparently they don't have an official distribution date, but it must be getting close. I haven't heard on when that will be released, but I'm hoping it's right around the corner. I think Natalie [Grant] had a baby, so they've been waiting on her to get on her feet so she can get out and promote it as well, so it should be soon I hope.

Do you see any more acting in your near future?
I think one of the things we're trying to stay focused on is getting new music out there. We're also doing this thing called Agri-tainment out at our farm [in Nashville]. We're kind of turning our farm into a music venue by having limited amounts of people and really high quality entertainment -- musicians, singers and songwriters -- to come out and host concerts out here. We do some dinner/concerts, and when it gets a little bit cooler, we'll take it outside. I'm hoping to grow it into a festival. So we've been working really hard on that, keeping with the theme of Naturipe and agri-tourism and agriculture. Staying with that theme, and it also has a synergy behind the album, as well. We're physically getting into the venue business out here at the farm. If you go to Country Singer Billy Dean on Facebook, you can see some pictures from the show we did recently.

We understand that you are one of the latest celebrities to have an iPhone app designed...?
Yes! It's the neatest thing ... if someone wants to follow me and they have an iPhone, get this app. It's everything: the latest most updated tweets, music, everything! It's the Billy Dean app for iPhone on iTunes.

Watch the Billy Dean 'Somewhere In My Broken Heart' Video

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