This time last year only a handful of industry insiders had heard of the Band Perry, three siblings from Greenville, Tenn. Now, as the Oct. 12 release of its self-titled debut album approaches, the trio has already earned a Country Music Assn. Award nomination for vocal group of the year and an opening slot on Alan Jackson's fall tour.
"We were at Sbarro Pizza at the airport in Charlotte, N.C., at 9 a.m.," says Kimberly Perry, 27, recalling exactly where she and brothers Reid (21) and Neil (20) were when they received news about their CMA nomination. (The awards show will air Nov. 10.) "A girl from our label called, and we said, 'Are you sure?' "
The group had issued only two singles and a self-titled EP up to that point. So to receive a CMA nod before the release of its full-length album was an impressive feat.
"It takes a village to break a band, and that's what happened," Republic Nashville president/CEO Jimmy Harnen says. "We started visiting radio last year, and they haven't stopped since. We've concentrated on visiting everybody in all forms of the entertainment sector from radio to online and retail. There have been a lot of trips to New York, Los Angeles and cities in between, giving the band a chance to share their music and have people talk with them. It's really paid off."
Kimberly credits the fact that Harnen himself accompanied them on the radio promo visits, giving them an additional credibility boost. "For a Nashville major-label president to come out with us was huge," she says.
Leading with the April 6 EP-which peaked at No. 32 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart-also provided another advantage. "People already knew some of the songs because of the EP," Reid Perry says of the enthusiastic response the group received from audiences at its live shows. "I don't even think we had the back half of the album recorded when we hit the road."
Bringing a fresh, contemporary edge to traditional elements further defined by smooth harmonies, the Band Perry debuted on the Hot Country Songs chart earlier this year with "Hip to My Heart." It peaked at No. 20 in May. Second single "If I Die Young" is at No. 13 and has sold 530,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The song's video has accumulated more than 6 million views on YouTube.
"If I Die Young" is a pensive ballad penned by Kimberly that talks about the "sharp knife of a short life." The song's message, she adds, is that "whatever time you're given, it will be just enough. It's been really cool to see how different fans of the song make it meet them wherever they are-whether they just lost a loved one or are in the mood to think about priorities." The forthcoming album also features the song "Postcard From Paris," co-written by former "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi.
Immediate plans call for the Band Perry to hit the road during street week for a series of in-store appearances, visiting such cities as Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Houston, Boston, New York and Washington, D.C. A heavy advertising campaign encompassing TV, social networks and print is also being launched.
Coming together as the Band Perry five years ago, the siblings were hired by Coca-Cola and Walmart to perform acoustic sets as part of a New Faces of Country Music tour. Since then, the group has opened for Keith Urban, Brooks & Dunn, Darius Rucker and the Zac Brown Band. Now the act is looking forward to going on the road with Jackson. The tour kicks off Nov. 4 in Sacramento, Calif., and includes shows in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Cincinnati and Hidalgo, Texas, before wrapping Nov. 20.
"We're really excited," Neil Perry says of the tour. "We're going to play a little and learn a lot."