OFFSTAGE: Sugarland’s Kristian Bush Says Lucy Hale Is a Natural

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Pretty Little Liars star Lucy Hale may be in a long line of actresses who want to try their hand at country music. But if you ask Sugarland’s Kristian Bush, Hale has what it takes to really make it. Of her voice, he told me, “She sounds like Carrie [Underwood] — strong with a blues side and a pop side to it. And a lot like Faith [Hill]. As she gets more comfortable, her voice will get even stronger, and you’ll hear more powerhouse stuff, but stylistically she lives in that range.” Of her songwriting, Bush said, “She has a really good grasp of her own story she wants to tell of growing up in Memphis. Lucy is a natural.”

Hale had good things to say about Bush, too. They spent a couple of days together in Bush’s studio last week crafting some songs for her debut country album. (Bush said that as they were driving around Atlanta, they were listening to country radio and that Hale was singing every word to every song that came on.) “Kristian told me that hard work pays off,” she said while on the way to the set of her wildly popular teen drama show. “He said, ’Worry about the career side of it later. Just start with a song,’ He’s so nice, so funny. We talked about how, in acting, I don’t have to be Lucy, and I don’t let a lot of people know who I am. But with songwriting, you need to let down walls and be completely vulnerable and wear your heart on your sleeve.” She added that since she’s always kept a journal and has done some writing in poetry form, she took the starts of ideas with her to her session with Bush. “It was a really cool collaboration, because we drew things from each other,” she said.