The popular country trio share their secrets for getting along

By Nancy Kruh
Updated December 02, 2020 12:32 AM
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Credit: Nancy Kruh

From the moment they formed Lady Antebellum in 2006, bandmates Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott vowed there was one thing they would never be: Bandzillas.

“There was just this moment of, you know what? We’ve all watched these bands on Behind the Music. We know how this goes, and we re not going to do that,” recalls Haywood, 32. “Unless we love this, let s do something else. But we love it and each other, and it’s been a great ride since then.”

At a recent Country Radio Seminar panel discussion in Nashville, the trio shared the lessons they’ve learned in keeping their offstage harmony as tight as their onstage ones. Here is the tao of Lady A:

Three is always greater than one.

“At the end of the day, when we don’t always see eye to eye, we always come back to the truth that the three of us are so much more special and there’s a magic there that could never be captured individually,” says Scott, 28. “Honestly, that’s just putting your pride aside and accepting that you can’t go through life alone.”

It’s more important to be happy than to be right.

The three agree their first year together was the worst for conflict, and Kelley, 33, admits he often wouldn’t take the time to listen to his bandmates. So the trio sought out a communications specialist to help work out the kinks. “It was tough,” Kelley recalls, “so we met with this guy once and we felt that was all we needed – a kind of ‘come to Jesus’ where we laid it all out.”

“We could all pick at each other and find things to fuss about on a daily basis,” says Scott. “But do you want to be right all the time or do you want to be happy in the midst of this?”

You find balance when everyone has equal weight.

Kelley is a self-described “aggressive personality.” Haywood is “the calmest,” says Scott. And Scott is “somewhere in the middle,” says Kelley. But “we’re not the kind of band that it’s two against one or one person’s right and one person’s wrong,” says Haywood. “It’s always been about us agreeing to do something 100 percent every time.”

It’s not just a job, it’s life.

This maxim arose when Scott became pregnant in 2013 and, knowing it would affect touring and recording, she fretted about how Kelley and Haywood would take the news. She shouldn’t have. “Why are you nervous?” Kelley recalled telling Scott. “This is amazing. You’re having a baby!” Haywood, who became a father last year, laughed at the idea that he and Kelley could tell Scott, “You will give birth when we say!”

None of the three, says Scott, are ready to put “our life choices on hold when we feel in our heart and soul where life is taking us. Something is always going to sacrifice. We’ve learned that. But you know that, once the initial shock of the change happens… everything will work out fine, and honestly, better than it was before.”