Interview: Hillary Scott Is ‘a Different Person Now’ After Recording ‘Love Remains’
It started as a way to comfort others: While Lady Antebellum member Hillary Scott and her family were grieving the loss of her grandfather to cancer, Scott's father, Lang Scott, was looking for a way to reach out to those who responded on his CaringBridge website, and suggested making a CD to share with others. It was an easy task, since Hillary Scott's family also includes her mother, Linda Davis, and her younger sister, Rylee, a talented singer, but from that simple initial idea came something so much bigger: a 13-track faith-based album, Love Remains, released Friday (July 29) by Hillary Scott & the Scott Family and produced by Ricky Skaggs.
"To be able to talk openly about the whole thing, I’m just so excited, because I feel like it’s been some of the most precious moments of my life," Scott recently told The Boot and other reporters.
The debut single from Love Remains, "Thy Will," details Scott's own heartbreaking journey: a pregnancy that resulted in a miscarriage. Already parents to now-3-year-old Eisele Kaye, Scott and her husband, Lady A drummer Chris Tyrrell, felt that God had wanted them to expand their family, leaving Scott hurt and confused when her pregnancy suddenly ended. Heartbroken and suffering, she penned the lyrics of "Thy Will" -- "I don’t wanna think / I may never understand / That my broken heart is a part of Your plan / When I try to pray / All I’ve got is hurt and these four words / Thy will be done" -- while still physically recovering from her miscarriage.
"Someone asked me recently, ‘Did you question your faith?’ and I never questioned my belief in God," explains Scott. "I questioned His plan -- understanding why that had to happen. But I will honestly say, I was angry; I didn’t understand.
"I felt like I had prayed and heard a direct answer: He said yes, I got pregnant, and then for it to be taken away ..." she continues. "Writing this song ended up being a huge outlet for me to be able to get out some of that angst and emotion and frustration about it."
Each of the songs on Love Remains, including the hymn "Sheltered in the Arms of God" and "Ain't No Grave" (which features Cheryl White), is rooted in faith and focuses on the Scott family's strong spiritual foundation. After topping the country charts, as part of Lady Antebellum, with songs such as "Need You Now," "Downtown" and "Bartender," 30-year-old Scott admits that putting out an album about her faith felt like a huge risk -- but she was compelled to share her message of healing and hope with anyone who would listen.
"That is my prayer, is that everyone feels invited and that it is accessible to everyone," she says. "I wanted everyone to know that you’re invited to this music, no matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you believe. I just wanted it to be welcoming, I wanted it to sound welcoming. I wanted every pair of ears that gets to hear it to feel loved when they get to hear it."
You’re invited to this music, no matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you believe. I just wanted it to be welcoming, I wanted it to sound welcoming. I wanted every pair of ears that gets to hear it to feel loved when they get to hear it.
Love Remains extended far beyond Scott's dreams when Skaggs agreed to helm the project. She calls the iconic artist both the producer and the pastor of the record and notes that the days spent recording the disc are among her sweetest memories.
" I cried a lot the last day," Scott recalls. "We started recording last summer, or at least working on recording -- like the pre-production and talking about everything seriously -- last summer. So it’s been a year, a full year. The last day, he just looked at me and goes, ‘Sis … when are we going to do this again?’ And I just lost it, crying. Because his studio truly became a sanctuary.
"It was a safe place," she adds. "It was not only where all of this music came to life, these songs, but it was where my family and I got a chance to grow and grieve and laugh and cry. There’s just hours and hours in that place that were so precious.
"As much as we were anxious to share it with the world, we also kind of wanted to hold it close, in a way," Scott continues. "I think it was just amazing -- to be able to have all of that really committed, undivided attention to what my whole family loves, which is music, and to be able to do it together. To be able to have our hearts be all wrapped up into every single word of every song, [and] to have Ricky and his expertise -- I’ve learned a lot about music. I’ve learned a lot about my faith; my faith has deepened. I’ve learned a lot about my family. I’m a different person now."
Scott never planned on "Thy Will" being a hit at Christian radio, but the song recently hit No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs chart, turning Scott's thoughts to a second single. Discussions are underway, but the artist says they're "nothing solidified yet."
"Even that question blows my mind, because I just wasn’t even sure if any of these songs had a place on the radio when we were cutting them all," Scott shares. "And not that I didn’t think they were worthy of it ... This is such unchartered territory for me, and I was just really following my heart, so I’m very excited that that’s even on the table, a second single."
There are a lot of things that Charles [Kelley] and Dave [Haywood] do really, really well that I’m awful at. And that really comes to light when they’re not here. And so, in so many ways, on so many levels, I appreciate them as my friends and as my bandmates more than I ever have in my entire life.[/pullquotes]
But Scott's also turning her attention back to Lady Antebellum. Following their self-imposed hiatus -- which gave Scott time to work on Love Remains, Charles Kelley the opportunity to release his own album, The Driver, and Dave Haywood the chance to produce a few new acts -- the trio has been playing fairs and festivals this summer ... and contemplating their next record. Although Scott is grateful for the break, she is eager to return to the act that launched her career.
"There are a lot of things that Charles and Dave do really, really well that I’m awful at. And that really comes to light when they’re not here," she concedes. "And so, in so many ways, on so many levels, I appreciate them as my friends and as my bandmates more than I ever have in my entire life. I am just so thankful for every step in that journey, and for that to continue on as long as possible."
However, Love Remains shows a more vulnerable -- and perhaps more authentic -- side of Scott than she could have ever shown with Lady A. It's uncomfortable territory, eased only by her sincere desire to help others.
"My biggest fear was that me putting out a project like this was going to be me saying, ‘I’ve got it together,’ and I feel like that’s so not the case," says Scott. "[I'm] never wanting to send the message that I’m putting these songs together because I’ve got it together. It’s the opposite. It’s the, ‘I need help. I need to search for answers and want to encourage others to do the same."
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Hillary Scott Opens Up About "Thy Will"