It’s no secret that no matter how dearly Jennifer Nettles loves country music, she is also crazy about the Broadway stage.
So when she had a chance to make her Broadway debut as Roxy Hart in the Tony Award-winning musical Chicago in 2015, she took it. And Nettles told Billboard that she sees some similarities between country music and theater. “They tell different stories in different ways — so while each of them are about the storytelling in and of itself, they approach it musically in very different ways,” Nettles said. “But when you get into musical theater, much like in classical or jazz, it just opens up the world musically a bit more.”
But she’s also not committing to having to choose one over the other. The band she started in 2003 — Sugarland — is what she’s doing right now. She and bandmate Kristian Bush took some time off from being a duo, after releasing their last studio album The Incredible Machine, but then in late 2017 they announced they were back together and released a brand new single, “Still the Same.”
“That’s the beautiful thing about what we have done and what we will continue to do,” she explained of the break. “As artists, there are times when we’re together and do what we do and then there (are) times that you do other things.
“I think you have to go and fill your cup and do so diversely; otherwise then you burn out.”
One of Nettles’ current Broadway projects is a duo of “As Long As You’re Mine,” from the Wicked musical, that she sings with Wicked’s Glinda (Annaleigh Ashford). The musical is one that Nettles said she fell in love with when she first saw it 10-12 years ago.
“I loved the fact that it was a woman’s story and where I was in my life at the time, I loved Elphaba and the fact that she was going against convention and living her truth and living authentically. I love that message so much,” she said.