When Little Big Town came into the picture in the early 2000s, the jolly quartet became the game-changer in country music. Little Big Town members – Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, and Jimi Westbrook – were known for featuring exceptional and stunning four-part harmonies in their music that set them apart from the mainstream.
The country music group first introduced themselves as a fresh, high-spirited band in 2005 by releasing their first Top 10 hit, “Boondocks.” Ever since, Little Big Town has cemented their superstar status in country music with both happy-go-lucky and inspiring songs all through the years.
But did you know that Little Big Town kicked off their career as a duo? Everything actually started when Karen and Kimberly met in college at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama in 1987.
Karen was only a freshman then when she auditioned and earned a spot on the school’s vocal group. She started singing with Kimberly that same year, who also developed her love of music while singing in church. The two quickly became close friends and eventually musical collaborators.
It took ten years later before they added Jimi – who was a friend of Karen’s husband at the time. Shortly after, Phillip joined the team and completed the quartet.
Even though the hitmakers are now on top of their game, Little Big Town, in reality, had a slow beginning. Their first record deal was with Mercury Nashville Records; however, the group lost it even before they had the opportunity to release a debut project.
The band members have to rock their day jobs in order to survive while chasing their musical dreams. Karen worked as a Music Row agent’s assistant to pay the bills. Kimberly, on the other hand, depended on tips as a waitress while Jimi valeted cars. Phillip also got a job at a liquor store.
In addition to that, Karen, Kimberly, and Philip also went through personal problems. Both Karen and Philip got divorced from their spouses. Meanwhile, Kimberly lost her husband, who died from a heart attack. “There was so much sorrow in her eyes. I kind of thought the band was over,” Karen said on the death of Kimberly’s husband. She admitted she didn’t know if Kimberly would ever sing again after that incident.
Indeed, the group then went into a series of stops-and-starts until they finally found their grip with longtime musical home Capitol Nashville in 2008 – and made them into who they are today.
Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Little Big Town, Phillip Sweet