Will Taylor Swift Return to Her Country Roots? Little Big Town Has the Answer
"Taylor can do whatever she wants," Little Big Town vocalist Kimberly Schlapman tells Billboard.
Fresh off debuting Swift's song "Better Man" at the Country Music Awards, the group -- which includes Karen Fairchild, Jimi Westbrook and Philip Sweet -- was on hand to honor Attorney Joel A. Katz, chair, Global Entertainment and Media Practice of Greenberg Traurig, at the City of Hope Spirit of Life Gala.
"Taylor is just musical. I don't think she's defined by anything other than she is a songwriter and an unbelievable performer and entertainer and incredible businesswoman," says Little Big Town guitarist and singer Philip Sweet. "She is all things music, and we have known her for a long time and when she sent us this song we loved it instantly and just the fact that she wrote it is special too. It's fun to draw attention to just her songwriting. She is an incredible songwriter and we are the beneficiaries of that right now."
Little Big Town's appearance was personal -- Little Big Town singer Jimi Westbrook lost his sister after a battle with cancer.
"All of our families here on this stage have been affected by cancer," Schlapman told the audience. "Thank you for doing what you can to rid the world of all of these horrible diseases."
After a long eight months on the road, the band is ready for a short break to celebrate the holidays before putting the finishing touches on the new record--The Breaker-- which is due Feb. 24. The album is set for release on the same day the quartet kicks off a six-show residency--Little Big Town at The Mother Church--at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.
"We have been on the road since February," said Fairchild. "We are ready to take a little breather as we finish the record. We'll be all about family for the Thanksgiving holidays."
The group entertained the audience of power players, which included Lucian Grainge, CBE, chairman & CEO of UMG; Irving Azoff, chairman/CEO of Azoff MSG Entertainment; Neil Portnow, president and CEO of the Recording Academy, and Scooter Braun, manager of Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Ariana Grande and Tori Kelly.
Other performers included Michael W. Smith and BET award winning recording artist, Davido.
The City of Hope Spirit of Life Gala raises money and awareness biomedical research, education and treatment center for cancer, diabetes and other life threatening diseases. The campaign raised $3.2 million, according to a release.