Jennifer Nettles Talks Debut Solo Album and More

01/30/2014
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(Radio.com) After 10 years as lead vocalist in Sugarland, Jennifer Nettles decided it was time for a change. Do not worry, Sugarland has not broken up. In an interview with Radio.com, Nettles discussed jumping out of her comfort zone on her first solo release, That Girl, working with Rick Rubin and whether we'll hear more solo projects from her in the future.

"Right now I'm focusing on this solo project and am super excited about it," she told Radio.com during record release week. "At the same time, I love that people have been super connected with Sugarland 'cause I am too. I didn't want to do a solo project out of a dislike for Sugarland. I love that music, I love what we've done in that project. And yet, at the same time, there's something else that I think I need to prove to myself and share something different with my fans too."

Nettles' new album, That Girl, is comprised of 11 tracks, 10 of which she wrote herself as well as co-wrote with a diverse group of songwriters including Sara Bareilles, Richard Marx, Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet and Butch Walker, among others.

"Musically and sonically, this album is much different than Sugarland," she said. "If one is going to record a solo album and it sounds just like your ensemble work. What is the point? Don't just record the same music and put a different name on it, that's silly. I wanted it to be different."

Artistically, Nettles was ready to switch gears from Sugarland and enlisted famed producer Rick Rubin (Beastie Boys, Eminem, Rage Against the Machine) for help. She credits Rubin with allowing her to try things in a way she never has before.

"Working with Rick Rubin on this album was liberating and exciting and sometimes terrifying and cathartic and also at the same time, very safe and warm and collaborative," she said. "I felt really safe with him to be able to hand these songs over and say, 'OK. How do you envision them?' That's a vulnerable place as a songwriter but I really wanted with this album to do things differently and to get out of my comfort zone."

The album includes lead single "That Girl," which Nettles wrote with Butch Walker, as well as a beautiful ballad "This One's For You," which she wrote with Bareilles. Nettles explained that each co-write happened very organically.

"I was very open. Interestingly enough, Sara Bareilles and I have been friends for a number of years now. When I was writing for this project I reached out to her and said, 'Hey you want to write with me for my new record?' It was fun after all these years of being friends. She also introduced me to Richard Marx since they had worked together. He's great, he's hilarious and super talented." more.

Radio.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.
Copyright Radio.com/CBS Local - Excerpted here with permission.

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