Since recording and releasing “Something Better,” their collaboration with electronic artist Audien, Lady Antebellum have gained an unexpected audience: that of dance fans and DJs, who helped propel the anthem to the top of Billboard‘s Club chart. But the Grammy-winning trio’s foray into EDM isn’t necessarily something they’re trying to push on country radio.
“This isn’t something that we think should live in the country world. This is us exploring outside of our genre,” Lady A’s Charles Kelley tells Rolling Stone Country. “I wouldn’t say that this is anything we were ever thinking or believing would be played on country radio. If they do, that’s pretty cool.”
Since their 2010 mega-hit “Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum have become one of country music’s most successful crossover artists. And they, like many of their contemporaries, watched with a keen eye when the more traditionally country Chris Stapleton swept his nominated categories, including Album of the Year, at last week’s CMA Awards. Kelley says Stapleton’s strong showing proves it’s integral to commit to one’s art, regardless of your influences.
“You just can’t go down the middle. Whatever you’re doing has to make a statement,” he says. “Whether it’s Sam Hunt or whether it’s on the other side, to Chris Stapleton, you have to make a statement. And both those guys, for two completely different reasons, are. It’s bold music.”
“It’s truly who they are, being authentically them,” adds Scott, “and I think the fans are really perceptive to that and are drawn to it.”
While currently taking a mini-hiatus — “It’s more of a touring break,” says Scott — Lady Antebellum is looking ahead to 2016. In addition to having booked concert dates for the new year, they’ve already been dabbling in the studio.
It’s all about creativity without deadlines, explains Haywood. “We’ve been working on a couple songs in the studio, and I think we’re at the point now where we have artistic freedom,” he says. “We don’t have a glaring deadline where this has to be done by this time.”
Lady Antebellum are set to perform a string of festival dates in May. In the meantime, Kelley has released his first solo single, “The Driver,” a duet with Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay that calls to mind Jackson Browne.
Whether it’s EDM or classic rock, Kelley says fans shouldn’t be all that concerned with musical boundaries.
“The world we live in with Spotify, Pandora. . .there is so much music at our fingertips. At some point we have to not be too tied down by this thought of the genre,” he says, “because a lot of time it alienates people from finding out about artists they would have loved.”