After garnering success and accolades as the lead singer for country music duo Sugarland, Jennifer Nettles this year released a solo album, “That Girl,” and is touring the country in support of it.
Nettles will perform Friday, Aug. 29, at RiverEdge Park in Aurora with Brandy Clark and the Indigo Girls. For information, visit RiverEdge’s website, www.riveredgeaurora.com.
Kane County Chronicle reporter Eric Schelkopf had the change to talk to Nettles about the album and tour.
Eric Schelkopf: How have people been responding to your new songs on the tour?
Jennifer Nettles: Overall, the response for the new album and the whole project has been really, really positive. It is an opportunity to sort of redefine and recreate myself, and reintroduce myself musically, which is super fun. It’s been great to go and play venues that support sort of the nuance and the intimacy of this album. And I’ve been having a blast doing it, so it’s good.
Schelkopf: You talked about the album being more intimate. Would you say this is your most personal album?
Nettles: Yeah, I do, just by the nature of it being a solo project. It can’t help but be more personal, because the only person I’m representing within it is me.
Schelkopf: I know you wrote the songs for the album with a variety of people, including Butch Walker and Richard Marx.
Nettles: Which is super exciting. I have places that I tend to lean and go melodically, that while I love them and enjoy doing them, I can get bored with them. So for me I think it’s important to have diversity in my co-writing so I can learn from all these wonderful, great people and also to create a diverse album of work, too.
Schelkopf: You write with Kristian Bush in Sugarland. Was it hard making the transition?
Nettles: It hasn’t been. It’s been very fluid. Really, my job is the same, and that is to write and record, and then perform live and be a front woman. That’s been my job regardless, be it ensemble wise or solo. What is different is the opportunity to get more intimate and to get more personal.
Schelkopf: I understand you started working on the album after your child was 4 months old. Was it just the right time to work on a solo album?
Nettles: It’s something I had been wanting to do for a long time I think the timing was just right in that I had a good deal of down time. But I left it open. I didn’t know what I was going to feel as a new mom, and when I was going to be ready to get back in.
Schelkopf: Brandy Clark is with you on this tour. Are you going to be performing the song you do together, “His Hands”?
Nettles: We absolutely are. And she has been such a joy to have out on tour. She is so extremely talented, and I love having her out every night.
Schelkopf: What do you view as your biggest achievement in your career?
Nettles: I love whenever I’m both recognized as both a writer and a singer. I won a Grammy award for writing the song “Stay,” which was a high, high honor. But there are also fun moments, like being on “Sesame Street” and I loved singing at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration, which was an incredible moment.
Schelkopf: Of course, your Sugarland band mate Kristian Bush is releasing his own solo album. What’s the term you use to describe the status of Sugarland these days? Are you on hiatus?
Nettles: Yeah, that’s what we’ve been saying. We left it really open ended, because I don’t think one can put a timeline on creativity. Who knows what we are going to want to do and how long we’re going to want to do it? We are both enjoying what we are doing. It feels like a win-win.