Lady Antebellum are facing a huge challenge as they enter the studio to record their third album, and the pressure of following up the second best-selling album of 2010 is not lost on Charles Kelley and his bandmates. Fresh off the massive success of their smash hit ‘Need You Now,’ the trio are heading back into the studio this week to begin cutting songs, and instead of recording while on the road this time around, they blocked out two months to focus solely on the music. And though they’ve become superstars and been insanely busy non-stop since they made their last record, remarkably, they say they actually feel more prepared to record this time around than ever.
“We actually just decided we’re going to take two, two and half months straight in the studio to create this thing and not have all this distraction. Hopefully that will be a good thing,” Charles tells Entertainment Weekly. “I always laugh and say that I thought we worked good in the chaos, and that was why it worked. We’ll see if having too much time, what that does to us. Hopefully it’s gonna make the process more enjoyable and not so stressful.”
Charles says the three were “pretty tenacious” about writing songs for this project while out on the road over the past year, even inviting local songwriters out on the road with them to keep the motivation level up. And though they penned about 50 songs for the album, they have realistic expectations about duplicating the success of a mega-hit like ‘Need You Now.’
“If we were to use the success of ‘Need You Now’ as the barometer for every other song, then we’ll probably be highly disappointed. That song will probably undoubtedly be the biggest song of our career. We can hopefully have success for 20 years, but we may not ever have the success of that one particular song again. But we might. You never know. But we’re gonna try not to chase it, is what I’m saying. If we try to chase that too much we’ll start to deviate from what made the sound of the group.”
Instead of fearing the dreaded sophomore curse (which they obviously avoided altogether), Charles says the band is actually more afraid of how their third project will measure up with the masses. “Third records, they can be the most important ones in somebody’s career. They can make and break. If people have enjoyed the first two, if you don’t come up with something special on the third one to really knock ‘em dead, you can take a few steps back. Hopefully we’ll come out swinging on this record.”
The two-month studio block will probably be a welcome break for the band, who have had a whirlwind dream year in their fast and furious journey from new artists to superstars. Charles tells The Boot you never really get to check out mentally and just chill when you’re in the eye of the storm, after all. “Right now it’s the stage of the career that we’re at. We’re at that stage where you have to go, go, go, go, go! There are times where we naturally get a little burned out and just want to have a few days to sit at home, watch TV, and just relax and just check out. Your mind never really gets to check out.”
Lady A may get to hear themselves next week as they’re chilling out in front of the television after they wrap for the day at the studio. Their latest single, ‘Hello World,’ will appear in an upcoming episode of the CBS-TV show ‘NCIS’ on January 18th.