Photo Credit: Andrew Southam
Hard to believe just three summers ago Lady Antebellum first met and began writing music together. Since then, the trio has toured with notable acts like Martina McBride, Kenny Chesney and Jason Aldean, won Top New Group at the 2008 ACM and CMA Awards and garnered two Grammy nominations. Not a bad three years for Lady A. Made up of Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood, the band spoke at the CMA press conference about their upcoming album, connecting with their fans, and touring with Kenny Chesney.
You guys are so well connected to your fans and really take the time to give back to them, especially through your Webisodes. How has the interaction during CMA Music Festival been for you getting to see them face to face?
Charles: It’s awesome for us. We just did our fan club party.
Hillary: It was our second year, it was sold out. We had breakfast with everybody.
Charles: What’s so special about this week is it’s the most die-hard country fans in one place at one time and I just think, what an amazing time for them to be here. All of their favorite artists are here and even we pinch ourselves when Reba McEntire walks through. It’s just a great week; it’s a lot of fun.
Hillary: And it’s fun to see how they’re getting involved in our Webisodes. We actually started this thing where we give a fan a flipcam every show and they get to tape and video the show from their perspective and we put that into our Webisode. It’s just a great way to get them involved and make them feel a part of it. That’s been a really cool thing we just have been doing that a couple weeks. We’re going to keep on doing that for sure.
You debuted a track off your upcoming album at your fan party today. Did you feel the fans were receptive to it and are you planning on playing new tracks on the tour as well?
Charles: We’ve gone ahead and cut some songs so we wanted to try one out, especially with some of our most devoted fans. I don’t know. We’re going to see how we start bringing those out. I think for the Kenny tour, right now it’s a little bit of a shorter set so we have to get in and get out and rock them and get them ready for Kenny. So, we’ll see.
Do you have any rituals that you do before each show?
Charles: For instance, last night we were in Moline, Illinois, and it went, “Moline, Moline Moline!” It’s as weird as that.
Dave: It’s whatever you want that day.
Hillary: It’s us and our band guys and crew. You’re out on the road with these people so much and they’re like your family. You almost end up having your own language and what you think is funny.
You’re currently working on your second album. What are your goals for it?
Charles: Hopefully it’ll bust open the doors a lot more than the first album. We’re just so excited about it. We’ve been writing a bunch for it. We’re working on it right now. There are still so many people who are just now hearing about us. We’re going to keep pushing on with this first album. We’re just so thrilled with how “I Run To You” has been doing right now, our third single. I feel like it’s connected more than anything we’ve had out so far. It’s just been a blessing. If we can keep doing this the rest of our lives, that’s the goal. Hopefully the second album will beat the first. We’ll see.
Hillary, you performed at Blake Shelton’s party last night. How did that come about and why did you pick the two songs you sang?
Hillary: We are out [on tour] with Kenny Chesney and Miranda [Lambert] is on the bill as well. She and I have gotten to be really good friends. It’s so great to have a girl out on the road to talk to and to talk about boys and all of that, because they don’t want to hear it.
Dave: It’s great for us too.
Hillary: We were just talking and she goes, “Blake’s doing this charity event.” The guys weren’t going to be able to make it so she said, “Well, you should do something!” And it was all country songs from the 80s , that was Blake’s rule ‘cause he knows them all. So she and I put our heads together and I was like, “What about 'Little Rock' the Reba song?” It is so fun to sing and I’ve grown up listening to Reba with my mom being Linda Davis and singing with her my whole life, so it was a pretty easy one to learn. And then we did The Judds. We learned, “It’s a Girls Night Out.” We actually had a show in Moline last night and flew home private in that storm.
Dave: Scary. I thought I was going to die.
Hillary: We were all on that plane [singing] “Oh Happy Days.”
Charles: I was freaking out. This sounds so awful. We’ve been working on our next record and I was already prepared to send an email to our manager going, “If something should happen, put out the songs we started. We have some good demos here, put out our second album.”
Hillary: It was really scary, but we made it and I went and got my Reba on and my Judds on and it was fun.
You’re currently on tour with Kenny Chesney. What have you taken away so far from watching him perform?
Dave: He’s unbelievable. There’s definitely a reason he wins Entertainer almost every year. The way he can connect with someone at the very back of the stadium on the top level, for us trying to learn that has been the biggest part of the tour. We’re watching him every night and Miranda too.
Charles: Party songs, party songs, party songs. That’s what I’ve learned. It’s all about having a good time. Those fans, when they come, they know they’re going to have to be on their feet the whole time and have a good time. It’s really wild to see.
Hillary: And he also treats everybody so well. That’s another thing that we’ll take away from this. I heard this, and it may not be right, but the length of time that his employees stay in his camp, it’s something like 10 years. That’s the average of how long all these people have been with him. He’s so loyal to his employees and treats them so well and that comes such a long way.
For more on Lady Antebellum and their upcoming tour dates, visit them on MySpace.