Lady Antebellum are on an EDM roll. After performing on last week’s CMT Awards with Russian electronic dance deejay Zedd, the country stars are set for another country-EDM collision. Backstage at the CMA Music Festival, the trio revealed they have recorded a song called “Something Better” with Audien (real name: Nate Rathbun), a Connecticut-born EDM deejay and producer who topped the dance charts in March with “Insomnia.”
“We got approached about it and we listened to the song,” says Lady A’s Hillary Scott. “We loved the lyrics and the melody.”
“This is one of the best songs I’ve heard in a long time. Lyrically, it was powerful,” bandmate Charles Kelley adds. “It reminded me of some those really great messages you hear from a band like Switchfoot. It took us out of our comfort zone. We’re learning as a band not to be so scared of things. We’ll always stay true to the country genre but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun.”
The long-running debate of what constitutes country music — and whether or not it should have borders — has been on Kelley’s mind, even prompting him to listen to Lady Antebellum’s back catalog with different ears. He now realizes the group’s 2010 chart-topper, “Our Kind of Love,” from their Need You Now album, didn’t color as far outside the lines as he initially feared.
“I said, ‘Man, that’s like traditional country now. It’s got fiddle in there,'” Kelley recalls of listening to the song again recently. “[Back when we recorded it], we were looking at each other going, ‘Is this going to be accepted in the country genre?’ Because it was pushing it. I think it just goes to show how broad the genre is going.”
An artist who came straight out of the box refining the genre’s range is Lady A’s tourmate, country-meets-hip-hop (and everything in between) artist, Sam Hunt.
“With Sam, at first I was like, this is really pushing it. . . but [his music is] so good,” Kelley says. “I’ve said the past four or five years, we need to start looking at this genre as a different thing. It’s broad. Pop music is so broad, why can’t we be broad? And let George Strait and Josh Turner live on the same channel as Sam Hunt and Taylor Swift — why not?”