Nothing like a global pandemic interrupting spring break. That’s what happened to Charles Kelley and his family weeks ago when they were having some downtime in Florida. When things started taking a turn they headed back home to Nashville and the Grammy-winning member of Lady A settled in.
While enjoying domesticity for a while (making lunch, swimming in the pool) Kelley and his band are riding a fresh wave of success with the new single “Champagne Night.” He rang up Music Choice from his Tennessee home to chat about how they’re navigating getting new music out into the world and how the start time of happy hour keeps creeping up. Read on for the conversation and hear Lady A’s “Champagne Night” on MC’s Pop & Country channel!
Music Choice: Where are you hunkered down?
Charles Kelley: I’m home in Nashville now. We were in Florida for spring break when all this started happening and had to head back.
MC: When you say “we” you mean your family?
MC: You didn’t keep the band and all families quarantined together?
CK: [laughs] Nope. We see each other so much. Although, right now I am missing those people. I can’t wait to get back and hang with them.
MC: A little government-mandated band time apart. You just released a new song (“Champagne Night”) and what interests me about that, are you having to get creative with how you promote it? You can’t tour or go on Good Morning America or anything.
CK: We decided to put it out because the response has been overwhelming (the band premiered the song on NBC’s Songland on 4/13). I feel like it’s a great song because sometimes you want to hear something lighter when life gets heavy. Something that gets you dancing in your living room.
As far as promoting we’ve been doing performances from home but that gets a little tricky when you’re in a group and not together.
MC: How so?
CK: Well, if we all sang together there would be a delay so what we do is Dave (Haywood) lays a track down and we individually sing our parts. When a song takes on a life of its own like this one (“Champagne Night”) has you can’t deny it.
MC: Has the sudden success of “Champagne Night” inspired you to get writing more at home?
CK: I’ve been doing my own writing then hopping on a video call. I wrote yesterday that way with songwriter/producer Nathan Chapman. I asked him to send me some ideas and then I wrote some melodies and we ended up finishing a song. This is the new normal.
MC: Right, the new normal includes hoping your internet doesn’t go out! Besides the music how are you passing the time at home?
CK: Definitely some booze [laughs]. Happy hour has been moving from five or six up to around three. I’ve been having fun with my family. We always cook big dinners, but we’ve been making lunch all the time. I love getting outside and running when I can. We are also lucky to have a little pool so can do some swimming. We feel lucky. A lot of people in big cities, this isn’t the case.
MC: What’s your go-to lunch meal?
CK: Burgers, hot dogs, chicken. Whatever we have to cookout with. It’s been a lot of fun.
MC: When we get on the other side of this thing what’s the first thing you want to do?
CK: It may sound cheesy, but I want to perform. I’ve spent the past 15 years performing and this is the longest I’ve gone without doing it.
MC: Is performing so engrained in you and your muscle memory that you will be able to just hop back in? You aren’t like practicing moves in front of the bedroom mirror?
CK: I don’t have that many moves! I’d be performing even if I didn’t get paid to. Maybe that’s the narcissist in me. There’s no alcohol or drug on earth that gives me that same feeling.
MC: Lastly, is there anything you’d like to say to your fans?
CK: Stay safe and we’ll be together again. We as a people have gone through so much and will come back stronger having learned something from this. It’s about community and staying and sticking together.