My Atlanta: Jennifer Nettles

Sugarland star talks with Where Atlanta about her young son, new album and why she loves the ATL

After taking a break from smash country duo Sugarland to bond with her young son, Magnus, Jennifer Nettles is stepping out on her own. She’s got a new solo album, “That Girl,” which just came out in January, and a 30-city tour, which kicked off in February.

Q: Magnus is now a year old. What’s been the biggest surprise about being a mom?

A: How much can still get done on very little sleep, and the fact that I can actually sleep on my back.

Q: You’ve got a new solo album—tell us about it.

A: My new album "That Girl" feels like my most personal and intimate work to date. It has been an inspiring adventure to work on a solo album and it certainly shows my roots. You'll hear influences of country, gospel, singer/songwriter and ’70s radio. It is sparsely and rawly produced allowing for breath and nuance and spirit and emotion. I wanted to showcase the songwriting and vocals. I wanted it to feel human and not slick. I'd rather have emotion and flaws than perfect sterility. I'm learning about that in life as well.

Q: How is it different performing as a solo act than as part of a duo?

A: Collaboration always implies influence and compromise. Compromise and influence are great things! Like a dance. However, there are different freedoms and different space when working solo and I am excited to get to explore those.

Q: Are you excited to be back on the road?

A: I am both excited and anxious. Excited to play this music live for my fans and anxious to take my baby on the road again. While Magnus is very experienced on the road, I'm always fearful that each new stage of his will be the one that makes the road challenging for him. And yet, each and every time he adapts way more quickly than I do!!

Q: How does Atlanta stack up to some of the places you’ve traveled?

A: I lived in Atlanta for 17 years! Almost as long as the town in which I was raised. I have such a love for all that it offers. I know the shortcuts on surface streets. I know the best times to eat at my favorite restaurants. No matter where I live, Atlanta will have a part of my heart as home. I am comfortable there.

Q: What are some of your favorite things to do around town? Any favorite places to hear live music?

A: I love going "junking" (some people call it "antiquing," but I'm not that fancy). I love going to the farmers market. I love seeing live music. Eddie's Attic, The Fox Theatre and Chastain Park Amphitheatre are such fun places to catch a good show.

Eddie's Attic Music Room
Jennifer Nettles got her start at Eddie's Attic. (Courtesy Eddie's Attic)

Q: What’s your fondest Atlanta memory?

A: Too many to count or name.

Q: What’s one thing about Atlanta that will surprise an out-of-towner?

A: The traffic!

Q: Are there any romantic spots you would take your husband in town?

A: Oooooooh! Bacchanalia always feels romantic and decadent to me.

Bacchanalia (Courtesy The Reynolds Group)
Bacchanalia's Quail Three Ways (Courtesy The Reynolds Group)

Q: What’s your guilty pleasure and where can we indulge?

A: The spicy chocolate cupcakes from Atlanta Cupcake Factory.