Jennifer Nettles

Jennifer Nettles, photo from

Jennifer Nettles is a triple crown-winning song writer with “song of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards and the Country Music Association Awards and then best country song at the Grammys” in 2009.

We’ve never had a songwriter headline the Festival before, so this is a real treat! Nettles interviewed with Washington Post’s J. Freedom du Lac in their “Post Rock” section. When asked what it feels like to win country’s triple crown for Sugarland’s song, “Stay”, Nettles responded,

The trifecta! It’s crazy and thrilling. I can not believe the gifts over and above that song has given me. The Grammy is the highest honor in music that we can receive, outside of having fans come and watch you every night and clap. That song has been such a gift. To have people really respond to it all the way up to the Grammys is very exciting.

Many times, not only a casual listener but even a conditioned listener will hear someone who has a distinctive voice and has [been] heard around a lot, and they’ll tend to feel that it must be all that this person does. It’s limiting, even if it’s something that’s not done consciously. Especially in country music, people are accustomed to seeing artists who aren’t songwriters, because there’s such a songwriting system in Nashville. But really, for my whole career, I’ve been a singer-slash-songwriter, even though I’m very thankfully known for my voice. Songwriting has always been a joy in my life, and to be recognized for it is extremely validating.

She talks more about her songwriting process later in the interview, discussing when she first sat down to write the award-winning tune.

I wrote the song sitting on my couch, just an acoustic guitar and voice. It fit very well in that instrumentation. But for the sake of the old studio try, we thought: Does it need something else? Does it need some percussion? What should we try? Immediately, it was pretty clear with each element that we tried to add in that it didn’t serve the song. That’s the most important thing when you’re in the studio or figuring out how to perform a song live: What best serves the song.

Personally, I can’t wait to see Jennifer Nettles discuss her passion for songwriting this year at the Writers’ Festival, but if you’d like to see the rest of the interview from The Washington Post, check it out here.

(Dying to hear the song? Check it out on Youtube, here.)

I hope the Atlantans out there are safe and sound, even with all the ice!

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