When Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush stopped backstage at the ACM Awards on Sunday (April 15) to talk about their comeback album Bigger, the first track they detailed was their collaboration with their longtime fan, Taylor Swift.
“When she was just getting started, we had just had our first little EP out called Premium Quality Tunes. And she still has the copy of it we signed for her,” Nettles said. “And she was excited we were getting back together and reached out and said, ‘Hey. I have a song.’ And that is a short list, ladies and gentlemen, of people to whom she has said that.”
As for the rest of the duo’s upcoming album — due out June 8 — Nettles said that it came together well because she and Bush picked up where they left off.
“The dynamic and the flow creatively is much the same, and that was such a pleasant surprise (after) really almost seven years of not having written together, and five years of not having worked together on the road. I do think we got way more efficient over the hiatus,” she said, adding that while the entire genre has gone through some changes, their new music will fit right in. “I think the definition of progressive in country music has changed over the past five years.
“We were always an act that was somewhat of a leader in the format and played in those margins, and enjoyed doing that just authentically based on who we are and where we’re from and the stuff that we love,” she said. “Since the last time we made a record, those margins have widened into a superhighway.
“So what we see tonight in this show is a wonderful indication of the freedoms in the format, and the truth that music speaks to all people when it’s good.”
By the way, Sugarland’s Premium Quality Tunes still exists, although it is priced like a collector’s item.
An all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown, airing Saturday and Sunday (April 21-22) at 9 a.m. ET, will have more on all the action from the ACMs in Las Vegas.