Lady Antebellum’s ‘What I’m Leaving For’ Speaks to ‘Where We Really Are in Our Lives’
When Lady Antebellum returned to the top of the country charts with their recent single "What If I Never Get Over You," it had been six years since they last had a No. 1 song. With the momentum of that song under their belts, the group says they "wrestled" between a few different options for a follow-up single, but ultimately, every indicator pointed to "What I'm Leaving For," a poignant ballad that speaks to their relationships with their families and children.
"I have personally got so many responses from friends, and all kinds of people, going, 'Man, that song really speaks to me,'" the band's Charles Kelley explains. "I mean, our security guy, Chuck -- this big ol' strong dude -- we go, 'What's your favorite song?' and he goes, '"What I'm Leaving For."' I was just like, 'You're just a big softie!'"
The song resonates with people from all walks of life, in fact, and that includes the bandmates. Sonically, the song has a lot in common with Lady A's first couple of albums -- "It's got that warmth," notes Hillary Scott -- but it also speaks to a very current situation for all three members of the group: their role as parents.
"It's where we are," Kelley comments, noting that, especially in an era in which social media connects artists and fans more than ever before, country listeners respond powerfully to songs that speak directly to the singers' own lives.
"I feel like Thomas Rhett is so good about [his music] being his story," Kelley muses. "Especially after singing a song [like "What if I Never Get Over You"], that was more about where we've been ... it's nice to show that we can tell a story about where we really are in our lives. I think it's gonna connect more with fans, who hopefully can see that our kids, our families, are the most important thing to us. I think [the song] is a really nice, present followup."
Scott agrees: "[Especially with us] about to be going on tour," she notes. "And about them being home and us being gone a lot. That's gonna make for some emotional performances of that song over the next several months, I think!
"We'll have to put cute photos of them on a screen or something," she jokes.
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