Remember when Sugarland was a trio?
Kristen Hall, Jennifer Nettles, and Kristian Bush were already enjoying some level of renown as solo country artists. But in 2002, the three talented singers came together and started independently releasing an EP of demo recordings.
Their live performance swiftly built a buzz in Nashville, helping them land a recording deal with Mercury Nashville and the release of their major-label debut album, Twice the Speed of Life. With such fantastic country voices, the trio’s debut single, “Baby Girl,” was an overnight smash hit – skyrocketing to the second spot of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
The trio followed that success with three more hits: “Something More,” “Just Might (Make Me Believe),” and “Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good).” Meanwhile, Twice the Speed of Life was certified Double-Platinum.
But just as when Sugarland was on the brink of superstardom, one of the bigger mysteries of the last several decades in country music happened.
Cracks Between The Trio Were Already Deepening
In 2006, Sugarland dropped by The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, which made fans abuzz as it was only Nettles and Bush who showed up. A few days later, Hall announced her sad split with Sugarland.
Hall explained in a statement that the conditions of performing on the road limited her time to focus on what she does best – songwriting. Hall also expressed her desire to pursue a solo career.
And just when Nettles and Bush moved on as a duo, scoring additional hits, Hall filed a federal lawsuit against them in 2008. She demanded to be paid one-third of Sugarland’s profits because of her role in creating their hit debut album – Hall actually co-wrote the group’s breakthrough debut single. She also said that she formed the band in 2002.
Nettles and Bush argued against that claim, saying that Hall’s departure even left them with more than $100,000 in debt. Fortunately, the warring parties settled the suit out of court in 2010, but the settlement terms were not disclosed publicly. Since then, Hall has remained mostly out of the public eye.
Kirsten Hall, Sugarland