Sugarland collected a bunch of plaques on Monday afternoon (June 4) in Nashville’s ASCAP offices for their No. 1 hit, “Settlin’,” which the duo wrote with Tim Owens. Clearly, the music thing seems to be working for Sugarland, but should something happen, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush might consider a career in stand-up comedy.
Nettles had the industry crowd in stitches with her rapid-fire thank-you speech. “I’m not ashamed to say it,” she said. “I go to therapy. Yes, believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen! You’d be amazed that when you talk to a whole lot of people for 90 percent of the time, and then you talk about yourself for an hour, how much it helps!”
After the crowd laughter died down, she added, “Last time my therapist said, ‘Jennifer, I have to tell you, we have people coming in all the time who say this song has helped them so much. And one lady came in yesterday and said that “Settlin’” was her theme song.’ And I thought, ‘This is overpowering to make such a difference.’ And I thought, ‘Something More’ encouraged people to quit their jobs, and now we’re encouraging people to leave their marriages!’”
You almost expected Bush to remind you to tip your bartenders, but instead he joked about being grateful to be let in the room. (He’s signed with BMI, a competing performance rights organization.) Then he praised Owens, who also wrote “Happy Ending” and “Mean Girls” with the duo for their second album, Enjoy the Ride. His other co-writing credits include “Ticks” for Brad Paisley, who initially arranged for the Sugarland-Owens writing sessions.
“If you are an artist or a producer, you need to listen to Tim’s songs,” Bush said with a big grin. “Don’t miss this chance because he is really on fire. It isn’t just Brad Paisley. Jen and I are about to get wealthy off Tim Owens.”
After the party, Bush and Nettles were asked what they remembered the most about the writing session for “Settlin’.”
“It was the first song we wrote for the record and interestingly enough it’s also the first song on the album,” Bush said. “So the way you experience it as a fan is the way we experienced it as writers, which is unique. It went very fast when we wrote it that day.”
Nettles said Owens came in with the first line for the chorus, and they went from there. “He has so much energy anyway that it has to go fast,” she explained. “If you could plug him in, he could light up the whole block. He’s wonderful to write with because of that. At the time, the whole context of the song — of not settling — was important because it was second album. It was the first song we had attempted to write. We knew there were a lot of eyes on us at that time, so we really wanted the message to empower us and reinforce what we wanted to put out.”
Even though all of their singles have done well so far, “Settlin’” is only the band’s second No. 1 single. (Their previous single, “Want To,” reached the top in December.) Nettles said she feels the pressure of going three-for-three with their new single, “Everyday America.” Meanwhile, Bush said he is grateful for their success so far and that he realizes how hard it is to reach No. 1.
“I didn’t know quite what to expect with the first No. 1, and now I’m aware enough to look around and go, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this!’” he said. “I’m so appreciative and so thankful. Now I get it.”
On the eve of the CMA Music Festival, Nettles took a moment to thank the fans for their support.
“I think it’s really cool that we’re here at the beginning of the week of CMA Fest, simply because that is a week that is all about the fans,” she said. “The fact that we have a No. 1 record is obviously about the fans, too, because they’re the ones who want to hear the song, they’re the ones who request the songs, they’re the ones who are tested for the songs and they’re the ones who buy the records.”