There was a time when Grammy-nominated country star and singer-songwriter Sylvia was booking 250 shows a year, a feat that eventually landed her on a therapist’s couch, wondering aloud if she could ever keep up with her hectic lifestyle.

“I was just moving constantly back then,” she tells Taste of Country in a recent interview about her previous life in the spotlight courtesy of hit songs including “Nobody,” “Tumbleweed,” and “Drifter.”

“I had to take a moment to process those years.”

And so she did, and with the help of therapy, Sylvia found herself going down a road that she once could never envision.

“I came to realize that kids just flocked to my shows,” she remembers. “For some reason, children really resonated with the bouncy quality of my songs, and I did really think it was a wonderful opportunity to be singing to all these kids, but back then, I wish I was singing to them, things that I would really want to say to them.”

And now, all these years later, Sylvia is doing just that courtesy of her new children’s album Nature Child – A Dreamer’s Journey, a magical musical trip into the charm of one’s imagination.

“Several times over the years, I had tried to record this project, but it just didn't feel like it wanted to happen,” she says of the concept album created specifically for children and their families that she first began recording in January of 2019. “It was odd. Now looking back, I can see that now is the perfect time for it to happen.”

Indeed, as the project has evolved, Sylvia has come to realize that the project is as much for the younger kids as it is the kids that still live within the heart of all of us.

“I want this album to serve as a haven for all of us,” explains Sylvia, who co-wrote each track on the new album alongside songwriters including Verlon Thompson, John Mock, Thom Schuyler, and Craig Bickhardt. “This album is for anyone. It’s meant to awaken that dreamer within us.”

In fact, it continues to awaken the dreamer within her, too.

“I have never felt as creative as I feel at this time in my life,” says Sylvia, who was named the ACM Awards Female Vocalist of the Year in 1982. “As a young person, so many of us are taught that our creative years are your teens and your twenties. And then after that, it's downhill. Well, that is a bunch of bunk.”

In fact, Sylvia says that she now plays many a role in her career as an independent artist, from recording the songs to designing the album covers. In addition, while still looking and sounding as beautiful as she did 41 years ago, when her 1981 hit “Nobody” made its way up the country charts, Sylvia also finds herself now working as a life coach.

“I love that life coaches don’t have all the answers,” she says. “As life coaches, we are about being curious and asking the questions that will hopefully give people some clarity. They need to find their own answers.”

It’s often like that with music too.

“That is so, so very true,” she concludes.

Top Country Songs of 2021, Ranked

You'll find much more than just the Top 10 Country Songs of 2021 on this list. Enjoy the 21 best country songs of the year, based on Taste of Country staff and country music fan opinion, plus commercial data (sales, streaming, airplay).

To be considered, the song must have been released in 2021 or have actively charted for a portion of the year (see "Wine, Beer, Whiskey"). New artists including Lainey Wilson, Larry Fleet and Morgan Wade crack the top songs list, while hitmakers including Thomas Rhett, Jason Aldean and Luke Combs make the Top 10.

Let us know your favorite song of 2021 on Twitter, or email us at staff@tasteofcountry.com.