Country powerhouse trio Lady Antebellum hasn’t released an album in three years, but clearly the short gap made no difference in the band’s unstoppable success.This week sees the Grammy-winning group breezily taking over the charts with Heart Break, their sixth studio album: The set debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, as well as No. 4 on the all-genre Billboard 200 (marking their seventh top 10 debut there).
The creation of Heart Break wasn’t a straightforward process, however. The record was the ultimate result of an actual break, in which Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood took a breather to pursue side projects of their own.
Following the release of 2014’s 747, the group was prolific on individual levels — Kelley recorded his debut solo set The Driver; Scott, recording with her parents and sisters as the Scott Family, released the Grammy-winning country/Christian album Love Remains; and Haywood produced the first EP for country trio Post Monroe.
While this period was a positive recharge for all three, when launching the making of their latest album, they realized quickly that they needed to recharge their musical process as a team. The solution? The trio took the same approach they did with their 2008 self-titled debut — utilizing a focused, uninterrupted, retreat-like period in which they lived together in houses in Florida and California concentrating solely on music. It’s not surprising, then, that Heart Break is being heralded as a return to the Lady A’s very roots.
The album’s lead single, “You Look Good,” inspired social discovery app Bumble to partner with the trio, launching a “Beetique” at the 2017 CMA Music Fest June 10. The Beetique offered Bumble users a beauty bar experience that complemented both Bumble’s mission of empowering women and the meaning behind Lady A’s single — the lighthearted spirit of feeling good.
Yahoo Music recently sat down with the members of Lady A to discuss the making of their latest album, as well as their unique collaboration with Bumble.
YAHOO MUSIC: How did you come to the decision to write Heart Break using a “vacation mentality”?
Hillary: We wanted to approach this record the way we did with our first record with no deadlines or set schedule, and put ourselves in a new environment making songwriting our top priority. We wanted to share our personal story through Heart Break, which is how we ended up writing all but two songs on the record.
Did you find it difficult or easy to return to a group process after taking nearly a year hiatus?
Charles: When we dove into the album process again, it felt like we picked up right where we left off. We gave ourselves our most undivided attention and songs started pouring out of us. We mixed things up working with [superstar songwriter/producer] busbee as our producer for the first time, and he really helped push all of us step out of our comfort zone.
All three of you have your own families now. Were you able to spend time with them while creating this album, or was that a hurdle?
Dave: We are all extremely grateful to have supportive families who are really part of every step of the process with us. They were around for some of our writing retreats, they are the first ones to hear demos of new songs and are actually what a lot of these new songs are about.
Hillary, did you learn anything new about yourself or your musical style when working on Love Remains that you were able to bring to the table for the making of Heart Break?
Hillary: Love Remains was such a honest and authentic collection from my family and me, so I feel like I was able to bring a truly honest approach to our writing and dig even deeper into my own feelings and experiences for Heart Break.
Where do you think you all, as a band, made the greatest creative leap on this album — lyrics, music, style — what area of growth on this album impressed you most personally?
Charles: I feel like one of the most important creative changes we made for Heart Break was teaming with busbee as a producer, who also co-wrote ‘You Look Good.’ For that track specifically, we brought in horns for the first time ever. And now, we’ve got two horn players out on the road with us so it’s added a really fresh new twist on Lady A that the fans seem to be really into.
Last weekend you teamed up with Bumble for the “You Look Good” Beetique. Why is it important to partner with someone like Bumble who empower women to make the first move in life?
Hillary: The “You Look Good” Beetique was so fun! When we first heard about this opportunity, I immediately connected with their whole idea of women making the first move. In my own personal life, if I hadn’t approached Charles when I did at a bar when we first met, we might not have ever become a band! So, I definitely can relate and truly support empowering women to feel confident about making the first move in whatever part of life they are considering it.