When the three members of Lady Antebellum visited the CMA pressroom after winning two trophies on Wednesday night (Nov. 11), they were still riding the adrenaline rush — and emphasized to reporters that Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Martina McBride and Jason Aldean should all be cited for helping them reach new fans on tour. Yet the trio’s popularity in the industry extends well beyond other award-winning singers, since Lady A captured best vocal group and best single (“I Run to You” ) just one year after claiming best new artist.
“We’ve had, honestly, the most amazing year,” said Charles Kelley. “First and foremost, we’ve made so many friends in this industry. And everyone seems so supportive. Whether that’s a faÃ§ade or not, it feels great and we love them. We really feel the love. Everybody’s rooting for us, it feels like. As long as we continue to work hard and hopefully put out good records, our goal is to be doing this for a long, long, long time.”
With various reporters asking questions, Lady Antebellum took a moment to express what they’ve learned from Rascal Flatts, what to expect from their new album (due on Jan. 26, 2010) and why they don’t want to be overexposed.
Congratulations on both of the awards you won tonight. Which one took you by surprise and which one may mean more to you?
Hillary Scott: Oh, gosh, both of them took us by surprise.
Kelley: It’s hard to say. I will say, though, to be able to bring up (co-producers) Paul Worley and Victoria Shaw on single of the year meant so much to us because they made that song what it is, with their production. Without that I don’t think that song would have shined through like it did. And as far as the group [award], that was a complete shock. That was not expected. Rascal Flatts — that’s some big shoes to fill right there, and we don’t quite feel worthy yet. We’ve got a lot to prove and can’t wait to put the second record out. Then I’ll feel a little more comfortable.
Speaking of Rascal Flatts, in the last six years, they’ve won this award. As a group, what have you learned from them?
Kelley: They always make great records. They pick really great songs, whether they wrote them or not. We even tried to take a little bit of that with this next record. We have a few outside songs. There are just amazing songs here in Nashville, and you’re doing yourself a disservice not to cut those and make the best album possible. We tried to do that and we learned that from groups like Rascal Flatts.
Dave Haywood: We’ve been trying to emulate those guys for years, and especially the Eagles, too. That was actually my first concert, so they turned me on to live music.
What strengths do you think each of you bring to the table that makes this such a viable group as a whole?
Scott: The three of us have dreamed about this our entire lives and feel so blessed to be able to wake up every day and do this for a living. I think we try to live with that mindset. I think Dave is the brains of the operation. He has this brilliant production mind. He’s the glue that holds us together. Charles and I are really type A and he’s completely type B so it balances out really well. Charles is the go-getter. He’s always hustling. I’m always the one who’s like, ‘Let’s just hang out,’ and they’re like, ‘No, let’s write! Let’s write!’
Kelley: She brings the heart, though. Honestly we would have run this thing off the track if she wasn’t keeping us right down there and making us realize what’s important — and that’s us staying together and enjoying this and soaking it up. Hillary doesn’t give herself enough credit.
Haywood: And she’s the hottest one, so …
Kelley: Well, that’s obvious.
You mentioned your upcoming album. What can we expect that to sound like?
Kelley: That’s such a tough question. We like to think our songwriting got a lot better. We had a year to basically write the first record, because we weren’t together that long, and we’ve had a couple years with this one.
Scott: It’s normally the opposite.
Kelley: We got to write with some of the best, biggest songwriters in Nashville and learn from them. We feel like our songwriting has gotten a little more personal, too. But a lot of the same, you know. It’ll be a similar feel — ups and downs throughout the record. We want people to go through a journey. We’re just fired up, man. It’s just about done, and we are so ready to have some new music to play.
A lot of artists want to pace their career to make sure they’re not doing too much too soon. When you win awards like this, does it make you think about getting your own headlining tour and maybe stepping outside the shadow of other people?
Kelley: We’re going out with Tim McGraw next year. It doesn’t get any more fun than that. So, you know, we’ll get there. Right now we still have a long way to go. But the awards, sometimes I feel — even winning the new artist award last year — it’s just a lot of luck, a lot of timing, to get these things. We always feel like we’re probably getting it a little bit earlier than deserved. But then that comes down to feeling so much support and maybe some high expectations from everybody and we love that. We’re going to try to push ourselves. But we don’t want too much overexposure. We want to pace this thing out. We don’t want anyone to get sick of us yet.