HITS Daily Double


Interview with Kimberly Schlapman by Simon Glickman

I wonder if you could say a little bit about the Grammys’ significance to you, and particularly being nominated on this record.
The nomination for the record is just the greatest honor. I’m not going to lie and say when we make records we don’t think about that, because we always want to make records that people connect with and that become the soundtracks for people’s lives. When we heard that this record was nominated, we got silly crazy—we were so excited.

How do you think of this album in the context of the work you’ve done so far?
This is my favorite record we’ve ever made. It represents a time in our lives when we’re relaxed and content; I feel like it’s one that you can turn on and have a road trip. It goes from the extreme of being giddily happy to devastation. I think it’ll forever have a special place in my heart. I have so many memories of being in the studio with the band and [producer] Jay Joyce, and I’m super-proud of the statement that we made.

There’s definitely an evolution in your sound.
Absolutely, and what I love about this record is that it feels nostalgic. We’re children of those California band harmonies from the ’70s and ’80s, and I feel like it’s a throwback to a lot of that. I just love that stuff—it’s like a cozy blanket for me.

How did you end up doing Taylor Swift’s song, “Better Man,” and how did you approach it?
We’ve been friends with Taylor Swift since she was a wee pup. We watched her grow up from a very young girl to the biggest star in the world and have cheered her on the whole way. She emailed “Better Man” to Philip. When Taylor sent it she said, “I wrote this song, I keep hearing your harmonies on it; take a listen and if you’re interested in it, it’s yours. If you’re not, no worries.” She just presented it in such an easygoing way, and of course when we started listening to it, we all said, “Yes! We want it!” The challenge was making this song sound like a Little Big Town song, because Taylor has such a stamp.

Karen took a lot of time in figuring that out. we started putting the harmony vocals on it and decided to play it for Taylor. She and her mom came and listened to it and she loved it. That song took us to another level. It took our career to another step on the ladder.

Your performance with Jimmy Webb on the CMAs was really gorgeous, and such a fitting tribute to Glen Campbell.
Thank you very much. We grew up on Glen’s music and when we heard that we were going to get the opportunity to do that, we thought, “What could we do with that song to make it really simple and special?” and then we heard that Jimmy Webb could come. It was such an honor, and he was just a doll. It was just so incredible to work with him and an honor to do that tribute.

What are some of your takeaways from doing a residency at the legendary Ryman Auditorium?
We had all these ideas and expectations, but I can say that our expectations were exceeded every time and as I look back on the ten shows, I have so many distinct memories of moments on stage, looking in the eyes of friends like Chris Stapleton or Luke Bryan or Gladys Knight. It was a gift of a gig. It will rank very near the top of our career memories.

What do you have coming up?
We have a big tour next year with Kacey Musgraves and Midland, The Breakers Tour, and it’s going to be so much fun. We’re in the middle of planning the production out right now. We’re big fans of Kacey and Midland, and they’re going to lay the perfect foundation for the tour. We’ll be doing that next year, and we’re also going to be headlining this C2C music festival in the U.K. in March.