CMT Insider: Lady Antebellum Members Ponder New Level of Success

Life Becomes More Hectic After Need You Now Becomes Trio's Breakthrough

The members of Lady Antebellum were surprised when their latest album, Need You Now, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in February, but they were even more shocked when it bounced back to the top of the all-genre chart the same week they headlined two concerts at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium.

“You hope and pray for one week at No. 1, let alone a couple,” Hilary Scott told reporters prior to their concerts on March 10-11. “And so we are very, very excited.”

Scott and bandmates Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood are well-aware that sales often decline dramatically following a strong first week. This week, new releases by Ludacris and Gorillaz have bumped Lady Antebellum to the No. 3 slot, but Need You Now, is still selling more than 100,000 each week to claim total sales of almost 1.4 million copies in just seven weeks.

“We felt like it’s been a nice build and steady sales which hopefully means that the songs are connecting,” Kelley said, adding that the attention has made an already-busy schedule even more hectic. “We’ve been doing so much media stuff, we’ve been flying. What have we done? Like eight flights in a week? But it’s been good.”

Even though the album is new, “Need You Now” — the single — had an impact on the trio’s status at this year’s ACM Awards, where they received seven nominations in five categories.

“We were, of course, blown away by the ACM nominations,” Haywood said. “I think the ACMs hold a really special place in our heart. The very first time we won an award for anything was [at the ACM Awards] in Las Vegas two years ago for best new group. It’s no doubt a shock to us that we got that many [nominations], but I think what’s more exciting is a lot of them are for ’Need You Now.’ So a lot of people are responding to our new music, our new record, so that’s a big pat on the back.”

The byproducts of success are still sinking in on them while they’re opening shows on Tim McGraw’s current tour.

“I had a moment — a real special moment — just personally,” Kelley said. “We were leaving the Oprah show and had to get back into town for one of the Tim McGraw shows. And so Capitol [their record label] was nice enough to charter up a private plane for us to get back. We’re all in there, and I’m in the back and I’ve got my headphones on. Some kind of song came on, and I was looking out the window and I had my little drink there on a private plane. We just did Oprah, flying to go open up for Tim McGraw. And I just had this moment. I was like, ’This is wild.’ I mean it’s one of those moments where I kind of thought, “It’s happening. It’s happened.” We’re in the midst of it, and we’ll see where it heads. But, even then, I don’t think we could have ever dreamed about going platinum.”

Scott shares the same feelings.

“It sounds weird to say this, but you can’t really process the big moments when you’re at Oprah,” she explained. “You know you’re there and she’s next to you and you’re talking to her, but it doesn’t really hit you. It’s in those quiet moments — like when you’re on a plane or you’re at home having dinner with your family. … Because so much of what we do is just constant moving, and so whenever you have a chance to stop moving and just stop, it’s like, ’Oh, OK. Yeah, this really has all happened. We’re not just dreaming it.'”

Haywood says their big goal is to continue to create quality music.

“It’s a dream of everybody’s, I think, to try to make it,” he said. “We never thought it would happen within a few short years. There are a lot of people who work even longer than we have, and we understand that and don’t take it lightly. Again, we just feel very humble that all these things have come our way. The three of us keep each other grounded, and we have fun together, and we’re all really great friends at the end of the day. And if we can keep writing songs for years to come, we’ll be happy.”

View photos from Lady Antebellum’s concert at the Ryman Auditorium.