Lady Antebellum On Staying In Tune With New Album After Sweeping This Year's Grammy Awards
“It was surreal. We were up for six awards, we hoped we’d walk away with one, maybe two, but once they kept coming, it was almost so shocking that it stopped being real,” is how musical frontman Charles Kelley remembers 13th February 2011.
That was the night his band, country pop trio Lady Antebellum, were christened the new darlings of the music world, sweeping the Grammy Awards and taking home five gongs, including the prestigious Record of the Year, for their song Need You Now.
“That turned it into a bit of a dream,” says Kelley, with classy understatement. “It was an interesting night, something that still hasn’t completely registered. But it obviously opened a few doors, and a little bit of awareness for the band.”
It wasn’t exactly overnight success, it being their second album. Nor were the trio complete outsiders to the tight-knit Nashville community that fosters the country music scene.
Kelley is the brother of musician Josh, making him the brother-in-law of Hollywood A-lister Katherine Heigl. And vocalist Hillary Scott had previously tried her turn – twice - at the X Factor auditions, something she says she’d “do again in a heartbeat”.
But this year has cemented their grip on the business of country pop, the in-between music genre inhabited so lucratively by the likes of Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, Lean Rimes, Keith Urban, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw. Have Lady Antebellum received the country purists’ backlash experienced by some of these artists for their crossover success?
“I think there are definitely some purists out there ready to do battle, but we never claimed that territory from the beginning,” explains guitarist Dave Haywood.
Scott expands: “The present state in country music is the need for authenticity, whatever the genre. I know that’s what I look for when I’m flicking through iTunes. I want to feel that belief in what the artist is saying and how they’re singing it I want to know they’ve been through that. It doesn’t matter what the category is.”
For the band, in London for a small list of appearances including a performance at the Union Chapel in Islington, it’s obviously all about the music, what they call “a completely collaborative process, just telling a story – we’re simple people, writing simple songs that are hopefully relatable”.
They’re obviously succeeding, with two of their songs - Run To You, and Need You Now - both going to number one in the United States (although both tunes almost didn’t make it to the final cut of their respective albums). Now, the biggest challenge for the band is addressing the expectation around their new album following the hullabaloo of the Grammys:
“Four days after the Grammys, we were back in the studio,” says Haywood. “Even at the Awards, we had our heads down and were saying to each other ‘We’ve got to get back and have a couple of months in the studio with nothing to distract us, because all those eyes are going to be watching what we do now.’”
And how are they coping with their meteoric rise up the star-ometer? The same way apparently:
“I can go to the grocery store in my underpants where I live in Nashville, which is great,” exclaims Scott. “There are so many artists who live there, and they really respect your privacy. We have never chased the celebrity side of it all – we’re pretty simple people and stick to our thing. That way, most people won’t recognise us, but we still get to have professional success, so we get the best of both worlds.
“I think it’s a combination of having each other, and having parents who raised us well,” adds Haywood. “I think we’ve all seen enough ‘Behind the Musics’ to see what can happen to you. We don’t want to be another statistic. And we’re workhorses too. There’s more music we’re already working on, which keeps us busy...”
So the best place to spot Lady Antebellum is probably next year’s Grammys. They’ll be the ones in the corner, three tops of heads looking down and staying grounded.
Lady Antebellum play at the Union Chapel in Islington tonight, Friday 10th October.
Their album Own The Night is now available to purchase online at iTunes, Amazon, Tesco , Play.com and HMV.com
Watch the video for Lady Antebellum's Grammy Award-winning song Need You Now:
Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.