Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott talks country stardom and motherhood
Lady Antebellum member Hillary Scott says a three-year hiatus was the best thing to happen to the multiplatinum group.
“I think, on so many levels, it was the best gift we could have given each other,” Scott says. “I don’t know where we would be if we hadn’t given ourselves the break and, really, the ability to process the nine years prior.”
The band released its seventh album, “Heart Break,” in June. Its first single, “You Look Good,” has been warmly welcomed by country radio. The trio’s previous album, “747” came out in 2014.
Members also kept busy with other projects. Scott released a Grammy-winning Christian country album, “Love Remains,” alongside family members. Charles Kelley released solo album “The Driver.”
Personal lives have amped up as well, now that the group is back in action. Scott announced last week she’s expecting twins. She and husband Chris Tyrell have a 4-year-old daughter, Eisele Kaye. Lady A’s Dave Haywood and his wife, Kelli Cashiola, are expecting their second child.
In advance of Lady A’s Sunday date in The Woodlands, Scott spoke about the trio’s renewed energy, touring the country with family and why Houston feels like home.
Q: What’s the tour been like after taking a three-year hiatus?
A: There’s always a real rejuvenation that happens when there’s new music to bring to life. Honestly, our single “You Look Good” kind of opened up a whole new world for us in the live show because we now have a horn section. We’ve incorporated them into probably half the show. It’s just bringing a lot of songs that we’ve been performing over the years, for a long time, it’s bringing them to life in a new way. We’re never gonna be the band that refuses to play the songs people love. As a music fan, there’s nothing more disappointing than going to a show and not hearing the song you love. But it’s also great to have a new, fresh spin on these songs.
Q: What comes to mind when you think of the Houston area?
A: Family. My mom (singer Linda Davis) is from East Texas. My aunt and her husband and their family and other cousins have lived in Houston for a few years over the course of their lives. I always get to spend really sweet time with my mom’s side of the family when I’m there. It’s just real special to me. It’s like a mini family reunion every time. They’ll get to see Eisele.
Q: What’s the experience like of traveling with Eisele and your husband, Chris Tyrell, who’s also Lady A’s drummer?
A: The thing that I’ve learned as a working mom - no matter what kind of work you do - you can’t be afraid to ask for help because you can’t do it all. To my husband, I can’t say enough about him. There is nothing he won’t do. There’s no one else in this entire world that could handle our life and our schedule and everything that comes with it. It’s all kind of in how you prioritize, which, for me, full transparency, is a juggling act. You’re just always trying to move things around as best you can. But I’ll say this: Being together as a family is the greatest gift. We are better when we’re together. Both my parents are in the music business, and for quite a few years as a child, right around the same age as my daughter, I actually lived on a bus with my mom and dad. It comes very natural to me, and I think it gave me a real independent spirit. I’m excited to give my little one the same gift.
Q: Is it easy for you to switch from mom to multiplatinum singer?
A: You’re in mom mode for the first half of the day, and then you know that it’s bedtime for my little one. You just kind of flip the switch, and you’re ready to step out onstage. Our tour started after she was born when she was, like, right at 5 months old. That’s really the routine that we’ve been in for the past four years. I think she gets it. I put my heels on and my makeup’s done, and I transform into that version of Hillary.
Q: A kid tends to take over entire areas. Is that the case with your bus?
A: Yes, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s always a lot lonelier when you don’t see her little baby doll just hanging off the couch, her tiny little shoes up at the front of the bus. We’re overrun with a lot of her favorite things these days. She’s been really hooked on Rapunzel, the “Tangled” series, for awhile. It’s one of the few that I’m like, “I really don’t get tired of this movie.” Mandy Moore is the voice of Rapunzel, so I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, I listened to Mandy Moore as a kid growing up.” She has the big Rapunzel princess dress, and I think the wig is somewhere lying around here.
Q: “Heart Break” is Lady A’s first album in almost three years. How did the time apart benefit the group?
A: We got a lot of family time. We got a lot of time with our friends, our communities. Charles (Kelley) got to chase a really beautiful, critically acclaimed passion project that he had wanted to do. I got to get back to my roots with my mom and dad and my little sister and the rest of my family, to get back to one of the foundations of who I am, which is my faith, and got to put that into musical form. We were just so grateful for the time that we had to spend how we chose, but also for the life that we lived that we knew was gonna make up this next album. We had song idea after song idea, and inspiration, to pour into these songs. We truly feel like this album and this tour, it’s the start of chapter two for us as a band.
Q: How did all those elements manifest themselves in the new songs?
A: We had a very tight timeline to record (the last few albums). The wheel was rolling, and we had to keep up. We had goals this time. But we didn’t have one date that was just staring us in the face that we had to try to fit our creative process into that space. That allowed us to really dig deeper. We knew that this album had to be our story. That was a very intentional goal. We worked with a new producer, busbee, who’s an old friend. He wasn’t afraid to challenge us, but also, he was so tender because we’re creative. The stars all aligned.
Q: Your first single, “Love Don’t Live Here,” was released almost a decade ago. What’s the secret to not just staying together but maintaining success?
A: There’s a lot of things that we just can’t take credit for. That’s where my faith kinda steps in. I don’t understand how a lot of it has happened. The practical answers are it’s a lot of sacrifice in different ways. You’re always compromising for the betterment of the group, which is really important. You’re having to communicate really consistently what your ideas are. We’re really close, and we have a very solid foundation of friendship and honesty and trust. That has to be there. You need to have people around you who are smarter than you, who are visionaries, who are in the details. It’s become a lot bigger than we ever imagined it would be.
Also, the three of us knowing our own specific roles in the band. Charles is really incredible with setlists and the pace of a show or the pace of an album. Dave is the one who’s in the studio. He’s the producer. He can work all of the knobs and the software. He’s kind of the brain. And then I have a lot of input in the creative of what the videos are gonna look like, the photo shoots, how the music and the artwork connect. And then I’m also extremely emotional, being the female in the band. I’m definitely like the mom, the heart. “Is everybody OK? Is everybody full, fed, happy?” We do this little dance, and we make it work.