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Jennifer Nettles on How She Finally Broke into the Country Music Scene

The 'Sugarland' singer was determined to have her music heard.

By AMANDA KABBABE 

Musician Jennifer Nettles is the lead vocalist of Sugarland—you know, the wildly popular country music duo that has collaborated with the likes of Taylor Swift and Bon Jovi. But despite her impressive CV, Nettles says her path to success didn’t come easy.

Nettles got her start performing in church and looking to other singers for inspiration. She spent nearly a decade touring the country with "little independent bands," hoping for her big break. It wasn’t until she joined Sugarland—alongside Kristian Bush—that she was able to break into the mainstream country music scene. Even then, though, the duo didn't become a household name overnight.

“We put together this whole big showcase…it was probably a 2,000 seater,” Nettles remembered, "and we invited all these label heads down and nobody came." They were, of course, incredibly disappointed, but they didn't let the failure slow them down.

Instead, they regrouped and decided to plan another showcase, in Nashville this time. They bussed in a charter bus full of fans—and it totally worked. By the end of the night, they had a record deal.

SOMETIMES THE PARTS OF US THAT FEEL THE MOST WOUNDED END UP BEING OUR BEING OUR BIGGEST STRENGTHS.

Now, looking back, Nettles feels that her success is that much sweeter since she worked so hard for it. "If you know your purpose, it definitely helps you on your path," Nettles explains. "Sometimes the parts of us that feel like they are the most wounded or the weakest end up being our biggest strengths."

Check out Sugarland's album Bigger, in stores now.

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