By Chloe Morrison
Members of the Atlanta band Sugarland had years of experience but found mainstream success together when they made a pact to hit it big or go home.
We thought, If we’re going to do this, let’s go all the way. Let’s hit it out of the park, mandolin player Kristian Bush said in a news release. We thought, Let’s go play arenas, let’s make a record with 10 singles. Let’s do the impossible. It can’t hurt to try.’
With their debut album, Twice the Speed of Life, certified double platinum, some may say Sugarland achieved the success they were aiming for.
Ashley Hopkins, 21, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student, said she thinks the band has a great success story because its members had all worked the club scene.
They didn’t give up, she said. That shows they have true passion for what they are doing.
Originally a trio, Mr. Bush, Jennifer Nettles and Kristen Hall, were all looking for something different when they gathered in Ms. Hall’s basement to work on the song, Babygirl. The group’s chemistry brought Ms. Hall to tears and laughter, Ms. Nettles said in a prepared statement.
There was a moment when we just said, Wow,’ she said.
Each member comes from a different musical background. Ms. Nettles, the lead singer, was brought up on Southern gospel and was also influenced by Juice Newton, Rita Coolidge and Linda Ronstadt. She has been singing since she was seven and before her gig with Sugarland, worked local crowds as lead singer for the band Soul Miner’s Daughter.
Ms. Hall, guitarist and songwriter, grew up listening to 70s singer-songwriters like Neil Young, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and The Eagles. She began writing songs, but had no plans to perform them until a chance meeting with the Indigo Girls, who liked her songs and covered one in concert. With their encouragement, she decided to focus on song writing and performing.
Mr. Bush was influenced by The Police and The Replacements and before Sugarland called, was in a band called Billy Pilgrim, which produced two critically acclaimed albums.
We all come from singer/songwriter backgrounds, Ms. Nettles said in a news release. We share some similar influences, but as a whole, we have diverse musical backgrounds. When we come together we compliment each other and create and interesting and unique sound.
It is their sound that is drawing fans in, according to local fans.
Robert Hopkins, 62, supervisor at the Eureka Foundry Company in downtown Chattanooga, said his favorite Sugarland song is Babygirl.
Anytime I hear it, I just turn it up and tune everything else out, he said.
E-mail Chloe Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org