Sugarland Dream of Tell-All Memoir
Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles is plotting a tell-all book.
Although Jennifer and partner Kristian Bush say they have a lot of fun in their careers -- especially when writing and recording their recent chart-topping album, 'The Incredible Machine' -- there are plenty of bumps in their road, too, which Jennifer wants to share with their fans ... someday.
"There is obviously something to be said for writing a memoir," Jennifer said on a live webcast on November 4, hosted by Billboard. "There is a lot of stuff we do not get to say that we would like to say, and one day it's all going to come out! I look at Kristian sometimes or I look at our manager and I think, 'This s--- is going in the memoir, because there are a lot of things I may not be able to say right now but I'm going to.'"
That's part of what Jennifer says is her vision for the future. Other parts include what she laughingly calls a romantic version of herself as "some kind of crazy character, completely drunk out of my mind with lots of red lipstick and lots of jewelry. But I won't do interviews. I'll just be a mystery and only write some dark Southern Gothic stuff."
For right now, though, Jennifer and Kristian are reveling in their new album. Although there has been some criticism that the project veers too far away from country, the duo have also received many kudos including for Jennifer's vocals that have been favorably compared to those of Reba McEntire.
"That's very flattering. It's very humbling," Jennifer tells The Boot of the comparison. "She is also someone who has never stuck with just one sound. She's done country, she's done pop, she's done [adult contemporary], and R&B. She hasn't let herself be locked in."
Here are more highlights about from Billboard's Sugarland Q&A:
On songwriting vs. recording, Kristian says: "We have written all of our records. It's an institution in Nashville that a lot of time the writing is separate from the performing. Nashville in the last 30 or 40 years has been built on this wonderful community of songwriters. We have been welcomed in as songwriters as well as artists."
On pushing musical boundaries on this album, Jennifer says: "It is the music that we love and the influences that we have experienced through our artistic lives that inspires us. And at the same time, we trust our fans and they trust us. We have established a climate of artistic growth and expression and evolution from the beginning as writers. They know we're writers. They know each record is supposed to be different."
On whether this is their most adventuresome album to date, Jennifer says: "Yes, and as a consequence I think it's going to take us even further than we have been up until now. We love all [our] songs. I love, for example, 'Stay,' and I love that people love it but we've already recorded that one. If you want to hear that one, buy that record ... or come to the show and you get to hear all the hits."
On Jennifer being the voice of many women, Kristian says: "It's fascinating to me to see [Jennifer's actions] translating into a culture [that says], 'You are the voice of every woman.' The reverse is never true. It's not like ['Kenny Chesney], you're the voice of every man.' Or '[Tim McGraw], you're the voice of every man.' They play roles as they go. Kenny writes a song, and that is the voice of me as a dad, or me as a husband or me as a college kid. But there's such pressure on women to be the voice of all, because there are so few that get further and further up [the musical career path]."
On Jennifer's status as role model to young women, she says: "It's humbling. I also take it as a responsibility, and I don't take it lightly that people see and watch and are interested in what I do. That's not to say that I think all people who are celebrities are always perfect, because I am not perfect and neither is anyone else, but I do take it very seriously. Our fans trust us and we trust our fans not only artistically but to uphold an ethos they have seen us uphold thus far."
On being starstruck sometimes, Kristian admits: "Paul McCartney stopped in a hallway and said, 'I liked your soundcheck.' And we were like, 'Ahhhhh! That's Paul McCartney!' The thing that startles me the most is when people who are famous, that you look up to, stop and tell you they are your fan. That blows my mind. I get excited about it."
Jennifer adds:" I had the privilege to do the Kennedy Center [last year] with Bruce Springsteen on the bill, Sting, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper and Melissa Etheridge ... To meet those guys and be in their presence, they are definitely some of the greats and high up on my list. ... And I once went up to Meryl Streep and said, 'Ms. Streep, I just want you to know that I love you what I do.' [I thought] 'if there is anybody in this room I want to meet I may never have this opportunity again. I'm gonna do it.'"
On their greatest career accomplishment, Jennifer says: "This record is our highest artistic achievement. I always thought each album was the best work we could have done for that moment of time. At each album's release, I always felt like, 'this is the record I always wanted to make.' I feel like this record is the record we have always been destined to make and hadn't done."
On the new album's liner notes that mention 'Mr. Biscuit," Jennifer says: "I like to put a lot of myself out there, and we put a lot of our personal selves in our music. That is for sale and other things aren't for sale. I'm going to keep Mr. Biscuit to myself."