Sweet Success For Sugarland

Excerpted from the magazine for Billboard.com.

Eight months after the release of debut CD "Twice the Speed of Life," Sugarland's career is living up to its album title.

The record has shown a steady build on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart, where it has spent the last nine weeks in the top 10. It has been certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America. The album has also spawned two top 10 singles, including "Baby Girl," which recently set a Billboard Hot Country Songs chart record in its 46th week for longest chart run in the Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems-monitored era.

"It's big stuff," lead singer Jennifer Nettles says.

Even though the group's career has kicked into high gear lately, Nettles says it feels like something she and bandmates Kristen Hall and Kristian Bush have been working for all along.

"We've all been [separately] doing this for at least 10 years each," she says. "Don't get me wrong -- it's fast and furious, but it feels right."

Asked why she thinks Sugarland is suddenly on the fast track, Nettles says, "Obviously I would love to say the music speaks for itself, but it's also timing. The climate was right for a group like Sugarland to come onto the scene ... People wanted something new and fresh."

The group has made recent high-profile appearances on the Academy of Country Music Awards, "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Good Morning America."

With all this momentum coming so swiftly, Nettles says she has to remind herself to take it all in. "We do get to enjoy it, but it's pointedly enjoyed. I have to take a moment and say, 'Slow down, enjoy this.'"

Nettles previously fronted a band called Soul Miner's Daughter, then spent several years working as a solo artist in the Atlanta area before hooking up with Hall and Bush. She says Sugarland is "new and refreshing not just in the country world, but to us too."

While it is still early in the life of this album, Nettles says the group is already starting to kick around ideas for the next one.

"I'm super proud of this record and the way it captures what we do, but I'm excited about doing the next record," she says. "I still feel our live shows showcase us to a different degree than the recordings."

But the second album is likely to come harder for the group now that it is on the road almost constantly. "The rhythm of what we're doing now is so different from the environment [when] we did the first record," Nettles says. "On the road, there is only so much energy in your cup per day."

Excerpted from the June 25, 2005, issue of Billboard. The full original text is available to Billboard.com subscribers.

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