Charles Kelley Opens Up About His Upcoming Solo Project
"[It's] maybe a little bit more like California country. It’s not very pop; a little more Eagles. I don’t know the right word," Kelley explains to The Boot of his upcoming record. "There’s not three voices, so it’s already going to be a little edgier, because it’s not as pretty with all the three-part harmonies.
"Even the lyrical content is a little dark: I’ve got a song called "Leaving Nashville" that’s about the struggle of the songwriter. It’s really dark; it’s about ups and downs. Sometimes you play it for people, and it’s like, ‘Man, that’s really kind of depressing,'" he continues. "But then there’s other songs that are really fun and obviously much more upbeat than "The Driver." But "The Driver" set the tone for what I wanted to say."
"It’s funny: I put out a single with two other guys, and they’re like, 'He’s taking a break from a trio, and he’s putting out a song with a trio,'" Kelley acknowledges. "It’s some different styles. The key for me was just really wanting to get back to songs that I always just loved and a style that I loved. "The Driver" kind of set the tone for what I wanted to say, and lyrically it especially did. It was something different."
Kelley will soon embark on a solo tour, but he's already been playing a few solo shows, which he says was more difficult than he anticipated.
"[It] was weird. Very, very weird. It took me about two songs, and once I settled in, I kind of got comfortable. I’ll get more comfortable as it goes on," Kelley admits. "That’s how I started: We played cover bands in high school and college -- hell, middle school. So the group thing didn’t start until I met Hillary [Scott] and Dave [Haywood] and we got together and did this thing.
"That’s all I’ve known for eight or nine years. So to get up there on my own, I’m not gonna lie, I felt really naked, because you don’t have people to play off of and kind of joke around with," he continues. "But I settled into it. And that’s why I did this: I wanted to be taken out of my comfort zone. When you do anything for eight or nine years, you start getting a little comfortable, you start taking things for granted. You start taking the success for granted."
Still, the 34-year-old acknowledges that his reasons for doing some solo work don't necessarily have to do with commercial success.
"We’re already right now looking at what I’m going to make on my club shows, versus what I’m going to be making on some of the Lady Antebellum shows that are coming up, and I’m like, ‘I’ve really taken it for granted,'" Kelley says. "It’s fun. I think, for me, it’s just a reminder of why I got in the business: It’s the love of music. It’s not chasing after success necessarily; it’s just the joy."
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