Hillary Scott is one-third of the Grammy-winning group Lady Antebellum, but with the trio in the midst of a hiatus, Hillary is using her downtime to create a faith-based album, Love Remains. The “family album” features a mix of hymns, both traditional and contemporary.
Joining Hillary on the album are her younger sister Rylee Scott, dad Lang Scott and mom Linda Davis, who is best known for her 1993 duet “Does He Love You” with Reba McEntire. Produced by bluegrass legend Ricky Skaggs, the album is expected to be released later this year.
In the meantime, Hillary has released the album’s first single, “Thy Will,” to both country and Christian radio. Nash Country Daily sat down with Hillary to get the inside scoop on her new project.
Was Love Remains an album you’ve always wanted to make or was it a recent realization?
“I’ve grown up singing songs. I learned to sing on a lot of songs rooted in my faith. It wasn’t something that I can say I’ve dreamed of doing since I was a child ,but as I’ve gotten older and continued on my own journey in my faith, it’s just become a lot more important to me. Wanting to use my voice to sing songs about it—and working with my family—it’s so much of where I came from and so much of who I am. The biggest thing was wanting this project to show a little bit more of who I am.”
How involved has your family been with the project?
“It’s a family album. Hillary Scott and The Scott Family is the official title [laughing]. It’s my mom singing one on her own and we have a duet together, my dad singing one on his own, my little sister singing one on her own—so it’s all of it. It’s featuring a couple of other artists as well, one from the contemporary Christian world that everyone will know. It’s all of us. It’s not just me with them on background vocals. It’s very inclusive of all four of us. And then my husband [Chris Tyrell] played drums on the whole record.”
Tell me about the new single “Thy Will.”
“It’s a song I co-wrote with two amazing writers, Bernie Herms, who is a producer and string arranger—he’s also Natalie Grant’s husband—and another young writer, Emily Weisband, who is one of my favorites right now. The three of us sat down for a writing session. A lot of writing sessions are pretty much like free therapy. You go in and you kind of spill your guts to people you don’t really know that well a lot of the time, and this was one of those days. I was in the middle of going through something really, really hard and was not in any way shape or form expecting to share all of that because it’s a lot for anybody to hear, but for some reason, I don’t know, the energy in the room shifted and I felt very comfortable to tell them what was going on, and that’s what the song is about. It’s just a very painful thing that I went through back in the fall, and I’m excited to be able to share—at the right time—in more detail. This song can be so many things for so many people. When I thought about it and talking about it especially in these early first few days and first few weeks of it being out, I don’t want to overshadow everyone else’s story being put into these words. I thought a lot about that, I prayed a lot about that of just not wanting to take away from what each individual needs to hear for themselves in this song.”
Did you know Bernie and Emily before this writing session?
“I didn’t. I never met either one of them before.”
But you felt comfortable letting it all out?
“I mean I let it all out. There are some days where you go in to write a song and—’I Run to You’ is a good example with Lady Antebellum. We sat down with Tom Douglas and some days you’re just a pass through. You just become the voice of something that is so much bigger than you could have ever come up with on your own. “I Run to You” is that for us as a band. A lot of that is owed to Tom Douglas and a lot of those lyrics that he brought to us that day, but also it’s just a big universal message that isn’t just about a relationship, it could be about your relationship with God. It’s the same with this song. With ‘Thy Will,’ as I look back on that day where I was emotional when we wrote it, what it’s done already in the lives of people directly connected with me, I was a pass through.”
How many other songs on the album did you write?
“I am a co-writer on three songs, and then we found a handful from really talented writers, country and contemporary Christian writers. And then there are a couple of hymns, there’s a modern-day hymn and then a traditional hymn that we recorded. So it’s all over the place. We’re kind of calling it a faith-based record because there are certain songs that aren’t really directly talking about faith, but it’s about family and so it kind of brings it all in. Ricky Skaggs is producing the project, but it’s not bluegrass. It’s one of those things to where we’ve all been stretched in the process of recording it to go places musically that we’ve never gone before. For Ricky, for us, for me, it’s just been a journey, the definition of a journey.”
Speaking of Ricky, what’s was it like working with the legend?
“The fact that the process of making this album is almost done, the best way I can compare it is to your senior year where you want to soak up and savor every memory but you’re so ready for the future. That’s what this has been like. And the last few weeks of being in the studio together and last-minute tweaks on songs and everything, I just found myself not wanting to leave. That’s what Ricky does to people, you want to be around him, you want to learn from him, you want to hear just his little nuggets of wisdom that hit you when you’re not expecting them. I’d like to say that he has not just been the producer of this album, he’s been the pastor of this album, and he’s also been the referee because he’s got a whole family in there that he’s juggling those dynamics. It was a hilarious joke on the first day of recording, my dad walked in with an ump shirt and a whistle [laughs]. We have the whistle, it’s still hanging in the studio. And he’s broken out the whistle a time or two [laughs].”
Will we be hearing your daughter, Eisele, singing on the album?
“She shied away from the microphone. She was in the studio a lot. I think her time is coming. She’s getting her studio legs. She is singing a lot at home though. She’ll go ‘Mommy, I want to perform.’ She actually uses the word perform.”
photo by Joseph Llanes