Actress Talks 'Wild' Ride in Music City; Label Chief Says She'll Hit Promotional Circuit When Shooting Schedule Slows
Hayden Panettiere is rising this fall. Her new ABC series, "Nashville," has been one of the biggest hits of the TV season, and just like her character of Juliette Barnes, she's developing her talents as a vocalist. She has partnered with Big Machine to release a new single, "Telescope," to radio. It's a blur these days, she says, but she's enjoying every second of it.
"It is so unbelievable and wild," she said. "I have gotten in the car a few times, turned on the radio, and saw my name and 'Telescope' on the receiver. It's just overwhelming that I think I just zone out. I become numb when I hear it."
In two weeks, "Telescope" has risen to No. 43 on Billboard's Country Songs chart.
Panettiere says that she has been encouraged by the reception the series has received from Music City. "That's the buzz that I have gotten, especially from being at the CMA's this year, presenting and being around the other artists." When people say that the music business is a family, she stresses it's not an exaggeration. "It was the first time I had felt that family feeling, where I knew people, and had met them before. You realize that people don't just know each other within the industry, but they spend time with each other. They write songs with each other, they produce each other. They know each other's children and families. It's a much closer environment than anything I've been around."
In addition to the single being promoted at radio, she has also released a video clip for "Telescope." Though being in front of the cameras is nothing new for her, she enjoyed the video making experience. "I loved filming the video. It was fun, but also really interesting in that it was outside the show, but I was still really playing my character."
The reception that she and the "Nashville" crew have received from the area has been incredible, she tells Billboard. "I have never been made to feel more welcome in a place my whole life. It's the epitome of southern hospitality, and comfort. People will come up and say 'Hey, I'm so glad you're here, and so thrilled and grateful that you guys are representing us."
Making sure that the city is shown correctly is something that everyone involved with the series takes very seriously. "I think people have a very specific opinion about the south, the people here, and country music... When you get down here and you see them, it's not that stereotype at all." She gives credit to several on the production staff - such as musical producer T-Bone Burnett, and series creator Callie Khouri for the authentic feel.
One of the show's fans is Big Machine head Scott Borchetta, who didn't have to think long about becoming involved with the show - as well as Hayden, who he thinks will charm radio the same way as she has done in "Heroes" and "Remember The Titans." When asked about working with her, he told Billboard "Hayden has a true love for Country Music and is very excited to get out and meet radio programmers and fans. As soon as the shooting schedule for the show allows, she will be out."
Panettiere returns the sentiment, saying Borchetta and Big Machine have been "so great" to her and the show. "It's great to have Big Machine as your first experience with country music."
"Nashville" airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. Eastern / 9pm Central on ABC.