On getting recognized for his first solo effort, he says, 'It's a validation that I’m on the right path, chasing down music that I love.'

By Madison Vain
Updated December 07, 2015 at 06:59 PM EST
Jay Sansone

As country group Lady Antebellum announced a hiatus until next spring, one-third of the outfit, singer Charles Kelley, grew restless. He stepped out on his own this fall and released the stunning ballad “The Driver,” which features Dierks Bentley and Eric Paslay, and this morning, as the Grammy nominations began rolling out, his first work under his own name got some affirmation.

“Of course in this journey, I’ve had moments of doubt and this is a validation that I’m on the right path, chasing down music that I love,” Kelley tells EW. “I can’t tell you what it means. It’s a brand new journey. I’m trying to make music that I love and that speaks to me and it’s nice to see this early in the game that my peers are recognizing it. It makes me more confident moving forward.”

Those peers include Lady A-mates Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood. “Oh yes!” Kelley says when asked if they were among the first to offer congratulations this morning. “They both said that they were so proud of me.”

Kelley recently performed the tune for EW’s basement series. Watch the performance above. His debut solo project is anticipated to drop in early 2016.

Jay Sansone