Jennifer Nettles (formerly of Soul Miner's Daughter and Jennifer Nettles Band), Kristian Bush (formerly of Billy Pilgrim) and Kristen Hall were all part of the influential Atlantan folk-rock scene of the 1990s and early 2000s. All three songwriters had already garnered significant acclaim as individual songwriters before coming together to form Sugarland in 2002.
Sugarland signed to Mercury Nashville Records in 2004. The trio released their major label debut, Twice the Speed of Light
, in October that year. The album features the hit single "Baby Girl
," which spent a total of 46 weeks on the Country music charts, setting a record at the time for the longest chart run ever. In our interview with Jennifer Nettles
, she told us the song was autobiographical: "It was also a self-fulfilling prophecy in the sense that it was the first single, and it manifested itself in a way of showing that success."
In 2005, Jennifer Nettles collaborated with Bon Jovi on a country version of their song, "Who Says You Can't Go Home
." The track was originally intended to be a collaboration with Keith Urban, but Jon Bon Jovi decided that Urban's voice was too similar to his own and chose to duet with Nettles instead. The song was a hit, peaking at #1 on the country music charts.
In 2005, Kristen Hall announced she was leaving Sugarland to pursue an independent career. In July 2008, Hall sued her ex-band mates for $14 million. Hall claimed she was being excluded from profits agreed upon after her departure. The lawsuit was eventually settled outside of court in November 2010, although details were not made public.
In September 2007, Sugarland appeared on an episode of Sesame Street, during which they performed "Songs" with Elmo.
At the 2007 American Music Awards, Sugarland performed a Country version of Beyonce Knowles' hit "Irreplaceable
." Knowles joined the band on stage midway into the performance. Jennifer Nettles told the Associated Press: "Beyonce was looking at me and I was blushing because I thought I was going to turn to stone in her beauty."
In 2009, Sugarland's track, "Stay
" scooped two Grammy Awards - Best Country Song and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group.
In October 2009, Sugarland released Gold and Green, a Christmas album which contained five original songs and five traditional holiday covers.
They performed at The VH1 Divas Salute The Troops in December 2010, alongside the likes of Katy Perry, Keri Hilson, Nicki Minaj and Paramore. The band were introduced on to the stage by Jennifer Nettles' brother, who is a member of the Air Force.
On August 13, 2011, high winds caused an outdoor stage to collapse at a Sugarland concert at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis. Seven people were killed and over 45 injured. The band offered condolences via a heartfelt letter posted on their official website and later held a free benefit concert in honor of the victims on October 28th, 2011. In November 2011, it was revealed a lawsuit had been filed on behalf of 48 victims against Sugarland and other organizations involved with the Indiana State Fair show. The lawsuit claimed parties "failed or refused to cancel the Sugarland concert despite inclement weather."
Before joining Sugarland, Kristian Bush was one-half of the folk-rock duo, Billy Pilgrim. Bush's former partner, Andrew Hyra, is brother of the actress, Meg Ryan.
Kristian Bush's brother, Brandon, was a member of the rock band Train, most known for their hit-single, "Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)
On November 26th, 2011, Jennifer Nettles married her boyfriend of two years, Justin Miller, at an intimate chapel ceremony near the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. Miller, a former model, appeared in the video for Sugarland's 2006 single, "Want To." This marks Nettles' second marriage; her first, to Todd Van Sickle, ended in divorce in 2007.