The meteoric rise of Lady Antebellum into one of Nashville’s premier vocal groups is the textbook definition of "overnight success." Most overnight success stories are founded on years of toil and hard work and unwavering perseverance. But shortly after friends Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood moved to Nashville and teamed up with Hillary Scott, the talented trio meshed instantly, and Music City was quick to notice—as did Rascall Flatts, who were summarily dethroned from their six-year reign as the CMA Vocal Group of the Year.
Origins and Early Musical Successes
The origins of Lady Antebellum began when friends, singer Charles Kelley and multi-instrumentalist Dave Haywood, began writing music together in Nashville in 2006. Kelley, who is the brother of singer-songwriter, Josh Kelley, had moved to Nashville from Winston-Salem, North Carolina to pursue a career in country music as a solo artist. Prior to moving to Nashville, he had worked with his brother, John, in construction. In Nashville, Kelley and Haywood, his classmate at the University of Georgia, wrote music together.
Soon, Kelley and Hillary Scott, who is the daughter of country singer, Linda Davis, and musician, Lang Scott, got to know each other through the social networking website, MySpace. Scott, who had previously received major-label interest, agreed to team up with Kelley and Haywood. The trio began making music together under the name Lady Antebellum.
Immediate Notice for the Group
Soon after forming, Lady Antebellum gained quick notice from the Nashville music industry. They began performing around town, and the positive buzz surrounding the group spread like wildfire, which resulted in even higher-profile gigs around town. In 2007, just one year after forming, Lady Antebellum made its recording debut as guest vocalists on adult-contemporary singer, Jim Brickman’s, single, “Never Alone,” which reached No. 14 on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary chart. Capitol Records signed Lady Antebellum in July of 2007 and sent them directly into the studio to record their debut album.
Debut Album Sizzles
Less than two years after forming, Lady Antebellum’s debut single, “Love Don’t Live Here,” was released in September of 2007. A music video for the song followed in December. The single climbed all the way to No. 3 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in May of 2008. The group’s debut album, Lady Antebellum, was released on April 15, 2008, and it became the first country album by a new duo or group to debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Country Album chart.
The group’s second single, “Lookin’ for a Good Time,” was released in June of 2008. It peaked at No. 11 in December of 2008. The trio achieved its first No. 1 country hit in July of 2009 with “I Run to You.” The album, Lady Antebellum, achieved platinum status with the Recording Industry Association of America signifying shipments of 1,000,000 copies in the United States on October 7, 2009.
Lady Antebellum Gains Momentum
Released on August 24, 2009, Lady Antebellum’s fourth single, “Need You Now,” was the lead-off single to their second studio album, Need You Now. The single debuted at No. 50 on Billboard’s Hot Country chart and became the trio’s second No. 1 hit. In 2008, the group took home the Academy of Country Music trophy for Top New Duo or Group, as well as the Country Music Association (CMA) award for New Artist of the Year. They also received a Grammy nomination in 2008 for Best New Artist, while their single, “Love Don’t Live Here,” earned a Grammy nomination in the Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group category.
In November of 2009, Lady Antebellum upset six-time winner Rascall Flatts in the CMA’s Vocal Group of the Year category. They also took home the CMA award for Single of the Year for “I Run to You.”
Most Popular Lady Antebellum Songs
- “I Run to You”
- “Need You Now”
- “Love Don’t Live Here”
- “Lookin’ for a Good Time”
Lady Antebellum Discography