The members of Lady Antebellum get asked a difficult question all the time: When are you going to write another hit like Need You Now?
That's a little like asking if they can pick a set of winning lottery numbers — twice. The probability of achieving one worldwide hit is astronomical. But two?
“How could we ever do that?” singer Charles Kelley said. “That was a once-in-a-lifetime song. But I think we’ll continue to have success if we stay true to ourselves and our fans, our core audience, which is the country music audience. We’re very flattered that more people are into us, but (pop music is) a genre and a world where it’s much more, ‘in one day and out the next.’ As long as our country fans still dig what we’re doing, we'll hopefully be here for a long time.”
That kind of even-handed approach has guided Lady Antebellum through one of the most difficult periods any band must navigate — instant stardom. Need You Now catapulted the trio from a well-regarded young country act with plenty of promise to multiplatinum international pop stars.
As they release their third album, Own the Night, this week, Kelley, Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood are philosophical about their expectations. No one hides the fact they hope for a follow-up hit and would be disappointed if Night doesn’t catch fire with fans.
But standing firmly on a foundation they built long before the spotlight found them, they believe they did their part.
“Whether we have that smash, the record is a collection of better, stronger songs, for me,” Kelley said. “Only time will tell if the fans feel that way.”
Lady A’s first single from Night, making was a No. 1 on Billboard’s country charts.
It took them all over the world and had their heads swimming. They toured places like Australia and New Zealand, with fans shouting their lyrics back at them from the last row, and have needed translators for some of their interviews. They earned a room full of trophies, including that most surreal night when they won five Grammys, including record and song of the year for Need You Now. They became the go-to act for national anthems and guest appearances, climbed the country music ladder from opening act to headliner and pushed into the pop music world like few country acts before.