We all know The Band Perry and their iconic 2010 single “If I Die Young” that put them on the country music map. The song was a smashing hit that went seven times platinum and was also named as CMA’s Single and Song of the Year in 2011. And it even earned the band the Best New Artist at the CMAs and ACMs and a Grammy nomination.
But after their resounding success, it seemed like they went off-grid. And when they came back, the trio decided to switch genres, from country to electric-pop. And fans are quite split down right in the middle.
And so the question that many are wondering about: Did The Band Perry members really just buried their country music career in satin with a bed of roses? Or was their choice to shift the strangest yet best thing they ever did? Let’s find out.
The Perry Siblings and Their Rise to Fame
If you’re wondering who The Band Perry is, they’re a trio of siblings – the eldest Kimberly Marie on lead vocals, Reid Hogan on bass and background vocals, and Neil Clark sharing background vocals with Reid while playing the mandolin and bouzouki. They were born in Jackson, Mississippi, and at a very young age, the siblings have already been into music.
Kimberly started out as a vocalist in her own band. And then, at ages 8 and 10, Reid and Neil also began performing as an opening act for her, known as the Mobile Music Machines. The siblings then united to form what we now know as The Band Perry in 2005, joining in the New Faces of Country tour. Three years later, they were discovered by Bob Doyle, who was Garth Brook’s manager. He helped them make recordings, and in 2009, the band officially signed a record deal with Republic Nashville.
The Band Perry released their debut single “Hip to My Heart” in 2009, which they co-wrote with Brett Beavers, and then their second “If I Die Young” in 2010, which turned out to be their breakthrough hit. The song hit number one on the charts and earned them recognition from the ACM, CMA, and even the Grammys. They released more hit singles afterward, including “You Lie” written by The Henningsens, “All Your Life,” and then “Postcard from Paris.”
For their sophomore release ‘Pioneer,’ they worked with producer Rick Rubin, and it became the band’s first number one on the Top Country Albums chart. Additionally, it also earned them the second spot on the all-genre Billboard 200.
The Band Perry: Going Pop!
In 2016, the band parted ways with Republic Nashville, and then they signed with Interscope Records with rumors of them ‘going pop.’ The band shot down the rumors and said that their label change was mainly for their songs to be distributed in other radio formats besides country. A year later, they released the title of their first pop album ‘Bad Imagination’ with their first single, “Stay in the Dark.”
The song, which was released in 2017, was a leap from their country roots. Kimberly said in an interview that she wanted to believe in what she can’t see and just keep walking forward. She also believed that bold moves are the ones that carry people the furthest in life. Although in a later interview, she did say that if there was one thing she could take back in the past was labeling “Stay in the Dark” as their first pop song. Because at that time, she was still in the moment of defining things since she had always been standing inside one musical construct: country. And that led her to over-defining it, but in reality, it was really hard to quantify the music, especially because they pull a lot from different influences and experiences.
‘Reinventing’ The Band Perry
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The Band Perry started from dying young to feeling young and alive again, refreshed with their first collected work in more than five years. Their five-song 2018 EP ‘Coordinates’ was a major milestone in their career – marking not only their new sound but also freedom from labels. Their new album was released via ARTRAT, which was their new creative house with Rick Rubin at the helm of production.
When asked in an interview what was the band’s turning point, Kimberly noted that it was “Chainsaw” which was off their chart-topping album ‘Pioneer.’ As much as she was respectful of the writers of the song, it was something off their brand and one of the compromises they made. At the very start, they have always had a tinge of darkness, and they were questioning why they had to soften their voice to compete for something that they don’t even do. That was the moment when they knew that they had to keep their voice because everything that they had built was being broken down again.
And with ‘Coordinates,’ they embraced the idea of genre fluidity, and the songs have mixed elements of country, pop, and even Kanye and “Yeezus.” But of course, with changes come opinions, and fans were downright split in half. Some fans were convinced that this new era was their end game and thought that they didn’t know their identity anymore. But some felt that they were still rocking even with the switch to full-on electronic sound. Some also chimed in that a good song will always be a good song and care less about the classification.
According to Kimberly, The Band Perry has never been the poster-child, predictable country artist, and their fans who dipped into their music and loved it know that. And they hope that even though some wouldn’t love their new era, that they would at least appreciate the perspective they have maintained with their music.
The Band Perry