"I've never made an excuse. I never will make an excuse," Wallen told 'Billboard.' "I was never that guy that people were portraying me to be"
In a new cover story with Billboard, the "Whiskey Glasses" singer, 30, reflected on the incident where — in a video obtained by TMZ — Wallen was captured using the N-word to describe one of his drunk friends.
Because of that situation, the country star says he realized “just how much that people listen to me."
"I don’t think I realized that, at least not at that grand of a scale at the time," Wallen told the outlet. “I [learned] how much my words matter.”
While the performer says the person he was then "is definitely not the same person I am now," it doesn't diminish the impact of his words and the hurt he caused.
“There’s no excuse. I’ve never made an excuse. I never will make an excuse," Wallen told the publication of using the slur. “I’ve talked to a lot of people, heard stories [about] things that I would have never thought about because I wasn’t the one going through it."
"And I think, for me, in my heart I was never that guy that people were portraying me to be, so there was a little bit of like, ‘Damn, I’m kind of actually mad about this a little bit because I know I shouldn’t have said this, but I’m really not that guy,’" he said, referring to being being branded as a "full-blown racist."
"I put myself in just such a s--- spot, you know? Like, ‘You really messed up here, guy.’ If I was that guy, then I wouldn’t have cared. I wouldn’t have apologized. I wouldn’t have done any of that if I really was that guy that people were saying about me.”
The "any of that" Wallen refers to in the story is meeting with Black leaders in the music community like 300 Elektra Entertainment chairman/CEO Kevin Liles, Universal Music Group executive vp/chief people and inclusion officer Eric Hutcherson and Grammy-winning gospel artist Bebe Winans, as well as with the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC), in an effort to educate himself and “learn and try to be better."
After the video surfaced of Wallen using the slur, he released a five-minute Instagram video addressing the incident urging fans not to defend him because he wanted "take ownership" for the offense.
"I'm long overdue to make a statement regarding my last incident. I wanted to collect my thoughts, seek some real guidance and come to you with a complete thought before I did," he began in the clip.
Wallen claimed that the video that surfaced was taken during "a bender," which he said was "not something I'm proud of either."
"I let so many people down," he said. "I let my parents down and they're the furthest thing from ... the person in that video. I let my son down, and I'm not OK with that."
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
Wallen recently extended his 2024 One Night at a Time tour with 10 more stadium shows, including two back-to-back nights in each city. His May stop in Nashville is now a trio of consecutive shows at Music City’s Nissan Stadium.
The new dates will kick off in April 5 at Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium and go through Aug. 8 at Las Vegas’ Allegiant Stadium.
The string of dates will featuring a rotating set of openers — three at each date — including Jelly Roll, Lainey Wilson, Bailey Zimmerman, Jon Pardi, Nate Smith, Bryan Martin, Lauren Watkins and Ella Langley.
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.