Billy Ray Cyrus almost missed out on being a part of country music history after initially passing on Lil Nas X's Old Town Road remix.

The singer lent his voice to the crossover track, which became the longest-running number one in the U.S. charts earlier this year, but has now admitted he was reluctant to contribute to the tune at first.

"I was having coffee and Ron Perry from Columbia Records sent me Old Town Road," Cyrus explained as part of TIME magazine's 2019 100 Next issue. "He said Lil Nas X wanted me to sing on it, but I told Columbia it was perfect (as it was). I couldn't do anything to it. They asked if I'd give it a shot and come into the studio with Nas to record a third verse."

Cyrus was won over during the development process, noting he was in awe of the rapper's work ethic.

"We wrote it with R&B songwriter Jozzy, and it was born right there in the studio. It was magical," he added. "I told Nas he was going to be a light in this world and he would shine brighter than anyone else. And he has. He's brought everyone together, from all musical genres and generations. Old Town Road changed my world, and his, forever."

Old Town Road has become one of the biggest hits of the year, and scored Lil Nas X his first CMA Award on Wednesday, hours before the prizegiving in Nashville, Tennessee - he and Cyrus picked up the Musical Event of the Year honour.