Sugarland Unsure Why People Are ‘in a Huff’ Over New Music
Sugarland are enjoying their 11th Top Ten single with 'Stuck Like Glue,' the first single from their upcoming 'Incredible Machine' album, but the Grammy-winning duo, comprised of Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, admit this ride to the top of the charts has been a challenging one.
The song, which includes a reggae-infused section that many programmers at country radio thought was incompatible with their format, is still being fiercely defended by both Jennifer and Kristian more than ten weeks after it was released. "I don't think this is the first reggae-flavored backbeat anyone's ever heard in country music," Kristian tells Billboard magazine "People around us have had entire [Bob] Marley families on their record. So I'm not sure why people are in a huff now."
While many radio stations are playing the song because of the requests from their listeners, some stations are choosing to play an unauthorized edit that eliminates the reggae sound. It's an ongoing balancing act for the pair, Kristian admits, to create music that represents who they are as artists, without losing the support of radio. "We've never tried to go without [radio]," he says. "Not a lot of bands have the opportunity to be on the radio these days, and we cherish it. Our whole thing is reaching as many people as possible with our music, and radio is a great way to do that."
The duo, who caused more questions than answers by famously referring to their upcoming album as "steampunk," say they purposefully used that term to inspire them to create music that was uniquely diverse from what was already being played. '"We were talking about the music from movies like 'The Breakfast Club' and 'Pretty in Pink,' " Jennifer says. "And then we thought, 'If John Hughes were still around today, God bless his soul, what songs would he be using in his movies?' Or the scene in 'Say Anything' where John Cusack holds up the boom box and plays 'In Your Eyes' by Peter Gabriel -- what would that song be now? It's this beautiful take on the modern serenade, so heartfelt and romantic. That's what we wanted to create."
Whether or not radio will embrace 'Stuck Like Glue' enough to take it all the way to No.1, remains to be seen, but what is certain is that Jennifer and Kristian will continue to try to expand their roles beyond being traditional country artists. "We dream really big," Kristian acknowledges. "If you come to us asking to do a song for a movie, we'll say, 'Sure, can we score the whole thing?' 'You guys want to sing a song on this awards show?' 'Sure, can we host it, too?' So when we think about this record and whether it could play on pop radio, we think it could. Our message is simple: We're your tribe. You're welcome here. Come on in."
Sugarland are currently traveling all over the country as part of their 'Incredible Machine' tour. And while they have a lot of fun performing for sold-out crowds and filling amphitheaters and arenas, it's still a job they take very seriously. "I think of the shows as something sacred," Jennifer tells The Boot. "Music is a performance art, there's no question, but at the end of the day it's a sacred space, a communion, between us and the audience." Find their tour dates here.