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Lady Antebellum: The scoop on Grammy's surprise 'Best New Artist' nominee

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Ladyantebellum_lOf all the names on Grammy’s list this year, perhaps the most confusing–for non-country fans, at least– was Lady Antebellum, up for Best New Artist. Time for learning: They’re not a dance act, and this nom’s not so out of left field, either. The Nashville-based threesome of Charles Kelley (blond guy), Dave Haywood (brown-haired guy), and Hillary Scott (chick) are your reigning ACM and CMA new artists of the year, due largely to the strength of “Love Don’t Live Here,” the first single off their self-titled debut. To assist in the information disseminating process, we got Kelley on the phone from Las Vegas, where the group played the Fremont Street Experience last night. They found out about their two nominations — they’re also up for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group — between sets. And they are now staying a well deserved extra night in Vegas.

Well, I think the biggest question is, Who the hell are Lady Antebellum?
Oh my gosh! Well, certainly not Duffy or Adele!

What’s the easiest way to tell the difference?
They’re famous, and we are not?

What made you ripe for the nomination?
I don’t know. I hope there’s some kind of artistic cred there that people are seeing, because as far as our careers, we’re not there yet. Even the ACM and CMA wins—I feel like these things are coming before we deserve them. I guess people are hoping for big things. We’re out here at the shows, and they’re connecting, but it’s not like we’re on Perez Hilton.

That may be a good thing.
Until Perez Hilton blogs about you, I guess you’re not famous yet.

[After the jump, more about their music, the shocking truth about who Dave Haywood is most looking forward to meeting on Grammy night, and their CMA performance of “Love Don’t Live Here.”]

If you had to give the short sell of what your music is, besides just “country”…
I think there’s definitely a wider appeal. We’re pulling a lot of influences from old Southern rock, and even a little pop. Hopefully it can bring in a little more mass appeal. We just kind of write the songs we come up with. We didn’t go in trying to create a certain sound, like, “Man, country music really needs this sound.” With the three of our vocals, it just kind of came out that way. And I think the Grammy voters felt strongly about wanting to represent the country market in that category. A little respect to the country market that sometimes gets overlooked. So it’s nice to be in there representing our genre.

So if people go hunting for Lady Antebellum on YouTube, what can they expect to see?
I guarantee everybody’s thinking, like, what was that girl, Lady Sovereign? It’s gonna be hilarious if Duffy or Adele are curious to see who they’re up against, and have it in their mind that, “This must be some cool indie artist, Lady Antebellum!” And they go check it out and it’s two dudes and a chick and we’re from the South. It’ll be funny to see people’s reactions, I’m sure. But there’s a lot of live footage out there, and I like to think we put on a high-energy show. I don’t know. It’s hard to talk about this stuff. It’s just out of nowhere. I never like to give the hard sell on us. We do what we do. If you like it, you like it. And if you don’t, you know, there’s different flavors in the world.

There’s been this alleged Best New Artist curse for years…
Our guitarist told me that, and I said, Well, you don’t need to worry. I think between the Jonas Brothers and Duffy and Adele—and Jazmine! I went and checked her stuff out last night, she’s awesome, too. There’s no way we’re gonna win.

How’s your shot in the Country Duo/Group performance category?
Oh man. You’ve got Sugarland in there, and they deserve it. They kicked butt this year. Again, it’s just awesome to be in this and have a reason to go to the awards. That’s just gonna be so much fun.  Hillary was funny—she was talking about how she’s gonna approach Beyonce. I was like, you gotta be cool about it. Just say it, really quick, “Man, I just love what you do,” and then get the hell out of there. You don’t want to look uncool with Beyonce. She gets it all the time. And that was the conversation we had last night. “Whoa, I can’t believe this is happening.” “What should I say to Beyonce?” Literally, for 30 minutes. Oh, and Dave wants to meet the Jonas Brothers.

He does not.
I swear to God. He loves their style, like, “There’s just something about ‘em, man.” It’s like people who have a fascination with Miley Cyrus and Britney Spears. That’s Dave’s fascination. It’s more just their celebrity than anything.

And who do you want to walk up to?
I’d like to meet Justin Timberlake, that would be pretty cool. And oh my gosh, are you kidding me? Robert Plant. Led Zeppelin was probably the first music I ever got into, because of my brother. I just can’t wait to walk the halls with those people that day.

More Grammys:
Lil Wayne, Coldplay: The Grammys finally get it right
2009 Grammy Nominations Concert: Non-nominees perform old songs!
20 crazy Grammy outfits!
Check out our full list of Grammy nominees in the major categories
Flashback: Who won last year’s Grammys?
Grading last year’s Grammy performances