They’re the hottest thing in country music direct from Tennessee – brother/sister group The Band Perry, Kimberly, Neil and Reid. The trio swept the board at the most recent Country Music Awards winning Song Of The Year for If I Die Young and Best New Artist, and now they’re hoping Europe will fall in love with them too. I caught up with them last week, just before they played their first ever show on non-American soil…
Let’s talk about If I Die Young, the song that’s catapulted you to stardom. It’s not about dying though is it?
Kimberly: “It’s not – it’s a song about life. We live in East Tennessee in the Appalacian Mountains and the day we wrote it was a beautiful cloudy day – the song’s about complete contentment. It was pre-record deal, pre-songs on the radio but it’s about saying, if it all ends now, we’re pretty happy where we are playing music as a family.”
Neil: “It’s one of our favourite moments playing the song live because we stop and people sing it back to us like an anthem with smiles on their faces – so I think they see it as positive.”
If you did die young, what song would you play at your funeral?
Kimberly: “Oh god, some kind of tearjerker to get people going!”
Neil: “I’d go for something funny – Fat Bottomed Girls probably. We play that live and I love it.”
Reid: “Stairway To Heaven – there’s no other song at that moment right?”
You swept the board at last year’s Country Music Awards, winning Song Of The Year and New Artist of The Year. How was that?
Kimberly: “Winning Song Of The Year for If I Die Young was surreal – it’s one of those where you have to really wait till the next day to let it sink in. We bumped into Vince Gill when we walked off the stage after winning and he said songwriter is the one everyone wants to win – we’ll never forget it.”
Neil: “We were on tour with Reba McEntire at the time and she told us to relish the moment and just stop and savour it. She threw us a party to celebrate.”
You’re up for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammy’s, up against Bon Iver, Nicki Minaj, J Cole and Skrillex which is a diverse field. Are you fans of the others?
Reid: “We are now! Skrillex is our pre-show dance party, we really like them.”
Neil: “We’re normally on the road when we hear about these announcements, but this time we were at the Grammy Nominations party so that was cool seeing our faces on the screen. We can’t wait to go – it’s the superbowl of the music world.”
You’ve all been performing for years – what made you come together as a group six years ago?
Kimberly: “It was always the plan to come together as a band, I just had to wait till my younger brothers got taller. It was basically a height issue.”
Reid: “We played together in the house growing up, we learnt three-part harmonies and always knew it would happen some day.”
Neil: “I think Kimberly was also waiting for me to mature.”
Kimberly: “We’re still waiting for that aren’t we?”
What’s Christmas like at your house? Is there a fight for the Singstar microphone?
Reid: “We’re never home at Christmas so we don’t get a chance! Although this year we were, so we took time off and ate a lot of food. We were too busy eating to sing.”
Do your parents play or sing?
Reid: “Our dad was a bass player in college and mum plays the piano, but really they gave us a good grounding in all types of music.”
Kimberly: “Our dad would put us to sleep with The Rolling Stones and mum would wake us up with Loretta Lynn and would also dance to Michael Jackson – they had eclectic tastes.”
What other names did you kick around before settling on The Band Perry?
Neil: “We spent two whole days looking at books and we had four pages of names but none of them looked right. We decided we wanted our name in there, but Perry didn’t feel right and there were also a dozen Perry Bands. So we put it in a blender and that’s what popped out…”
You’re really well-known in the US and but not so much in the UK – what are you hoping for in the UK?
Kimberly: “You guys love live music and we’re a live band, so it’s a case of putting boots on the ground and start sweating it out.”
Neil: “Tonight is our first ever show outside of America. No pressure!”
Do you have plans to come back to the UK for a show?
Reid: “We’re back in March when the album is released and we’ll also be touring with Brad Paisley when he comes back – not sure of dates for that yet.”
Finally, if you could be the lovechild of any two artists, which would you choose?
Neil: “Keith Richards and Loretta Lynn.”
Kimberley: “Can you imagine! Can I throw a third party in there too?”
Neil: “Which is weird, but go…”
Kimberley: “Freddie Mercury – he’s my all-time favourite frontman.”
Reid: “He could be our uncle. We’d also like Eminem as our cousin…”
The Band Perry’s single If I Die Young and debut album The Band Perry are out on March 19th.