Obviously, Hillary Scott’s biggest fan has always been her mother. But her mother, Linda Davis, is also a country singer. So when I asked Scott who the first female artist was to ever truly believe in her, she confirmed what I suspected: it was her mother.
“She absolutely nurtured the gift she could see I’d been given, but she never once pressured me at all. It was more like, ‘Hey, do you want to get up on stage and sing with mommy tonight?’ I remember those moments growing up. I remember being Eisele’s age — just five years old – and singing ‘Amazing Grace’ with my mom on stage,” Scott shared with me. She also said that in a big full-circle moment for her, her oldest daughter Eisele came out on stage with her over the weekend, and during Lady Antebellum’s “American Honey,” she sang the A.B.C.s. Scott’s twins Betsy and Emory are only eight months old, so they’re not quite ready for the stage yet.
Even more important than being raised to sing, Scott said, was being raised with the confidence that she could dream as big as she wanted to. “There was never a moment in my life when I remember thinking I couldn’t do this. Because of the female artists before me who blazed a trail, I never looked at myself in the mirror and thought, ‘I can’t do what my mom does.’ I always just believed that I could.
“And that’s something I want to give my girls. I don’t ever want them to think that there’s a dream they can’t achieve.”
Scott says that so much of the way she was taught to believe in herself came from what her mom didn’t say. “She just embodied this confidence. And I saw how she was chasing her dream, and being her authentic self. I want to make sure that’s what my girls see me doing.”
Another early believer in Scott’s voice was Nashville singer-songwriter Victoria Shaw, who started working with Scott after seeing her perform in a Christmas show at the Opryland Resort. “Victoria approached me during my junior year of high school, then I signed a publishing deal with her, then she produced a handful of songs for me when I had a developmental deal in town,” she said. And then when Lady Antebellum was born, Shaw stuck by Scott’s side helping to produce the band’s 2008 debut album. “She was always a huge believer.”
And Scott had her own list of female artists from all kinds of genres who she’s believed in: Trisha Yearwood, Brandy, Gladys Knight, and Carole King. “I remember the day when I was about 11 years old, and my mom bought me Carole King’s Tapestry. She just said, ‘You need to know this.’”
As a female songwriter in a band with two men, Scott thinks that that’s what gives Lady Antebellum a deeper emotional vulnerability. “What I love about being a part of this band is that you get the guys’ and girls’ perspectives. If it’s a song about falling in love, you get to hear both sides of that story,” she said.
And if younger girls are looking up to Scott along the way, she said that that is a humbling honor and one she does not take lightly. “Knowing that makes me sing and create with intention. I don’t want to overthink everything, but I want to be mindful and know that people are watching me. My baby sister is 18 and has an incredible voice. She’s watching me. And now my five-year-old is watching me. So I try to keep myself in a healthy space, in my head and my heart.”
Scott will be honored along with Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Ballerini, Maren Morris, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, and Kimberly Schlapman at the 2018 CMT Artists of the Year ceremonies, taking place Oct. 17 in Nashville. Icon Loretta Lynn will be honored as the Artist of a Lifetime during the show, which will air live at 8 p.m. ET/PT from Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center.
Additionally, on Oct. 17 CMT will stage an all-female artist takeover across its platforms, including music hours on CMT, the 24-7 digital channel CMT Music and CMT Radio’s widely-syndicated shows CMT Radio Live and CMT After Midnite to encourage and inspire increased female airplay on show day.
Join the conversation on the official CMT Facebook page or follow @CMT on Twitter and Instagram using the official hashtag, #CMTAOTY.