Interview: Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott on ‘Bartender’ and the Power of Positive Songwriting
You’ll hear every country artist say it: their fans are their most important asset. They drive the enthusiasm for an artist’s music, and then back that up with album and concert-ticket sales. So when an artist feels their fans are showing interest in new directions their music may be heading, they pay attention.
For Lady Antebellum, that fan enthusiasm is now leading them in new musical directions. Two recent singles of theirs in particular, “Downtown” and “Compass,” showed the band shifting away from the mid-tempo ballads (“Need You Now,” “Dancin’ Away with My Heart”) on which they’d built their career and testing the waters with more upbeat material. And according to Lady A vocalist Hillary Scott, fan response for that shift has been overwhelmingly positive.
“When we released Compass,’ it was embraced so well,” Scott told Radio.com during a phone conversation last week. “We could tell our fans were just wanting uptempo from us [and] not wanting another mid-tempo [song] or ballad. They wanted to see a different side of us.”
The result of that is a shift toward higher-energy songs in their shows—and on record. The trio (Scott, Charles Kelley, Dave Haywood) is putting the finishing touches on a new album that is brimming with songs that have tempo and, as Scott describes it, a “fun” spirit. They’re also working with a new producer, Nathan Chapman, who’s best known for his work with Taylor Swift.
“Nathan saw things in the three of us as a band that we hadn’t seen,” Scott said. “And [he] gave us the confidence and permission to explore that, to be fun.”