2012 Megaticket with Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, and Thompson Square
"That's the core of our group, how we started," says Dave Haywood, harmony singer and multi-instrumentalist. "What spawned our friendship was that special writing chemistry. That's when we are the happiest, just sitting in a room together making music."
"Maybe it's a self preservation kind of thing," agrees co-lead singer Hillary Scott. "Especially on the road we have to work to nurture our relationship. I write so much from about what is happening in my life and the people closest to me, so knowing my friends care about what is going on in my life outside of Lady A, makes me more likely pour it all out into a song."
“Writing lets us chill and slow down a bit," says Charles Kelley whose edgy lead vocals merge and weave with Hillary’s velvet tone."
Lady Antebellum formed in 2006. Hillary and Charles decided to try writing together after a chance meeting at a Nashville music spot. Charles and his high school musician friend and co-writer Dave Haywood were living with Charles' brother Josh Kelley at the time. Late night songwriting sessions with the new trio soon became the genesis through which they discovered the remarkable emotional effect that was created when Charles and Hillary's vocals blended. With Dave's harmony sounds and instrumental prowess added to that mix the three young musicians realized they might not just be writing songs for other people, but perhaps would get to perform them, too. A Music Row "buzz" began to spread as the newly-formed trio started making appearances on local stages.
Soon key tastemakers began to believe in the group, including producer Paul Worley who has worked on all three Lady A albums. By April 2007, a blink of an eye in music industry time, Capitol Nashville had signed Lady Antebellum to a record deal and the trio began to ascend toward the constellation of country music stars with powerful hits such as "Love Don't Live Here," and "I Run To You."
The group's second album, Need You Now (released Jan. 2010) took the band to an even larger audience. To date the album has sold over five million copies worldwide, spawning three multi-week No. 1 hits (“Need You Now,” “American Honey” and “Our Kind of Love”), and scored five Grammy Awards. It has also received over a dozen other award show trophies. ‘Need You Now’ introduced the world, outside North America, to Lady Antebellum. The single was a huge airplay hit around the globe, reaching the No. 1 spot in numerous markets and achieving Top 5 Airplay in 30 countries world-wide. The album has sold in excess of one million units outside the US, and ‘Need You Now’ remains in the airplay charts more than 18 months since release.
"We never expected to be thrust into the international spotlight in the way that we were…from the success of just one song," says Kelley. "It was six months or so after the album came out that we were finally able to go play overseas. When we got there, we were floored at the life that 'Need You Now' had taken on. The power of that one song re-ally changed the scope of our entire career at home and in all these places we had only dreamed of playing."
In The Studio – Own The Night: The pairing with Paul Worley has proved a good fit. His warm temperament, creative sensibility and platinum experience with acts such as the Dixie Chicks and Martina McBride helped guide Lady Antebellum's studio development.
"Recording for us is an open forum of ideas," says Dave who readily avows, "One of my first loves is messing around with studio production. Paul has great vision for where these songs need to go. Over three albums we've learned a lot about the recording process, how to speak the language and what it takes to get it done. Naturally, as songwriters we envision these songs a certain way. It's not some far removed kind of thing with a bunch of session guys and us just showing up to sing. This is from the ground up—we are writing these songs, playing these instruments and creating the arrangements."
Lady Antebellum's third album, Own The Night is scheduled for release Sept. 13. The upcoming 12-cut set features the band's fastest rising single to date, "Just a Kiss" plus 11 additional tracks. Charles, Hillary and Dave wrote or co-wrote 10 of the songs, including "We Owned The Night."
"'We Owned The Night' opens the album,” says Dave excitedly, "and I really love this song. We reworked the title slightly to make it present tense for the album title–Own The Night. When people come out to our live show it's a call to action. Be confident, live in the moment and enjoy the experiences you're going through—own them. That's the premise of what we wanted to say."
Part of the challenge of a new album is translating it into a live show. "When we were tracking 'We Owned The Night' in the studio," says Hillary, "I was in the control room with Paul (Charles sings lead on it). Listening to the track inspired me to visualize our live show. I grabbed a legal pad and began drawing out the stage. That was the first sign to me that the song would be a cornerstone of this third album."
"Many of our songs have an interplay between Charles and Hillary and we feel strongly about creating that emotion live," adds Dave. "And being on tour with artists like Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban has also given us a lot of ideas. So yeah, we're excited to get a chance to jump up into arenas and give that a shot."
"People want you to entertain them," says Charles. "The fans feed off your energy. They see it on your face. So we've learned to let ourselves go on stage. With three people the strongest moments are when we are close and tight together. But it's a giant stage to fill up."
Being themselves has worked for this group. As Hillary recalls, "I'll never forget when we were on our first radio tour and a programmer said, 'I don't think two lead singers, a girl and a guy are going to work.'
"Especially with the name too," remembers Dave. "Programmers weren't sure if people could identify with two singers. It was a risk at the time. But for us it was just like, well that's who we are. How can we not do that?"
It's All About Our Fans! "We stay connected with everybody in a huge way online with our webisodes and social networking,” says Dave. “After a show we pull up Twitter to see what people are saying, especially when we're introducing a new song. We care about what they think and the internet gives us a way to get an immediate reaction."
"All these people who spend their hard earned money on a concert ticket or a CD, they invest in us and who we are," says Hillary. "Not just in the music we play, but in our lives. So the least we can do in return is reciprocate that trust in the form of continuing to tour, create music and do our very best at both."
"We are just as vulnerable about this music, self-conscious and need approval like anyone else," says Charles quietly. "We recognize we've been given an amazing opportunity and don't want to let anyone down. We hit the lottery. We’re just lucky we can sing and play instruments."
"I hope people realize we aren't taking it all for granted," says Dave. "This is crazy, but we want to enjoy it and do our very best. Twenty years later I hope people will talk about us and say, ‘They were just genuine people who made genuine music based upon their life experiences’."
Darius Rucker: Every now and then comes along a singer who can continuously reinvent themselves, break barriers, and create music that resonates. Darius Rucker is that versatile artist. He set records with Hootie & the Blowfish as a rocker, he evolved into the jazz-R&B world, and most recently he has broken down barriers as a country star. Moreover, he is a performer with a twenty-plus-year career; Darius Rucker tour dates are currently scheduled throughout the US this summer, 2011.
Darius Rucker got his start as the frontman for Hootie & the Blowfish, which formed as students at the University of South Carolina. Their debut album, "Cracked Rearview Mirror", is currently ranked as the 15th best selling album of all time in the United States and the best selling debut for any act. With the band, who are also his lifelong friends, they released seven studio albums and are currently on a permanent hiatus while pursuing other interests. The band became a household name and they toured and continue to perform for benefits and at other scheduled events.
In 2001, Rucker signed with independent Jazz-R&B label Hidden Beach Recordings to produce an R&B album. The album "Back to Then" was released in 2002 and featured famed neo-soul artist Jill Scott on production. While the album was a modest success for the label, it didn't match the acclaim that Rucker had experienced with Hootie & The Blowfish and he didn't release any more records with the label.
While his R&B career may have floundered, Rucker made a surprising turn as a country artist in 2008 when he signed to Capitol Records. He co-wrote and produced his first single "Don't Think I Don't Think About It", and released it in 2008. It was an instant hit and reached #1 on the Billboard Country charts. He released his debut country album, "Learn to Live", in 2008 with production help from Frank Rogers who has worked with such artists as Brad Paisley. Rucker's accomplishment made him the first African-American country artist to have a top 20 hit since Charley Pride in 1988. Rucker's album was certified platinum by the RIAA and also produced the #1 singles "Alright" and "It Won't Be Like This For Long", which distinguished him as the first country artist to have his first three singles reach #1 since Wynonna in 1992. Rucker's success was solidified when he received the Country Music Association award for New Artist of the Year in 2009!
Rucker returned to the studio to record his highly anticipated sophomore follow-up. The album, "Charleston, SC 1966", was released in October, 2010, and featured the #1 single "Come Back Song". The second single "This", written by Rucker and Kara DioGuardi also reached #1 on the charts. In support of the album, Darius Rucker tour dates are scheduled around the country throughout 2011. Rucker surprised us with his country transformation, however, he proved he is as genuine and sincere as any country artist before him. Use Eventful as your source for Darius Rucker concert dates and tour information.
Thompson Square: In the last two years, Stoney Creek Records’ Thompson Square has earned over 25 awards show nominations – including 2 GRAMMY as well as American Music Award and Teen Choice Award nods – and made music history when it was awarded awards from both the ACM and CMA for “Vocal Duo of the Year” in 2012. Thompson Square was awarded its second consecutive ACM Award for “Vocal Duo of the Year” in April 2013and is once again nominated for “Vocal Duo of the Year” at the 2013 CMA Awards.
Thompson Square’s breakthrough hit “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”has surpassed two million in sales, was the #1 Digital Soundscan Single for 5 weeks straight, the #1 Country Ringtone for 12 consecutive weeks and the Most Played Song at Country Radio in 2011 (Mediabase). Thompson Square followed that success with the award winning hit, “I Got You,” and critically acclaimed “Glass.” Thompson Square’s star continues to rise in 2013 with the #1 GOLD selling heart-tugger “If I Didn’t Have You” and its current Top 40 hit, “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About,” both from the duo’s current album, JUST FEELS GOOD.
The duo is currently touring with Luke Bryan on his Dirt Road Diaries Tour through October 2013.
For more information on Thompson Square, visit: http://www.thompsonsquare.com