Ray Stevens joined country music's most elite group of legends -- the Country Music Hall of Fame -- in 2019, alongside Brooks & Dunn and Jerry Bradley. Stevens' extensive legacy in country music involves an artful blend of depth and levity, with a special emphasis on the genre's comedic side.

As a Hall of Fame member and someone whose career in the genre spans over five decades, Stevens is in a unique position to define what country music is. In response to that question, the singer says that the genre is (and rightfully belongs) at the center of mainstream American popular music as a whole, because it offers something for every listener in the country, no matter who they are or what their story is. 

Read on as Stevens explains what country music means to him, and how it feels to be a part of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

It's just the music of America. And it's kind of taken over the music business -- and well it should -- because it speaks the language that most people speak and that most people wanna hear.

It's been great [being a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame]. [It was] such an honor, and such a thrill, to be inducted. You know, it's one of the highlights of my life. I'll never forget it.