When Lady Antebellum sat down to write their fantastic new record Heart Break, inspiration poured in from all over. And one of the most interesting and ear-catching tracks came from perhaps an unlikely source.
In this video, the Grammy-winning discusses how Amy Winehouse inspired album closer “Famous.” A mid-tempo ballad wrapped in acoustic guitar and swelling pedal steel, the song doesn’t name Winehouse, but the references are clear.
“Put another spin on the rehab,” the trio sings, referencing her Grammy-winning song. “Whole world’s waiting on a comeback. Now everybody say, ‘It’s so sad.’”
In 2008, Winehouse won five Grammy awards, including Song of the Year and Record of the Year. Lady Antebellum knows exactly how much pressure that success creates. They won those same Grammy awards, along with three others, in a career-changing 2011. Winehouse passed away from alcohol poisoning a few months later.
The video below also features behind-the-scenes clips in the studio. In it, Kelley sings his lines while Scott points out one of her favorite parts in the melody. Legendary pedal steel player Russ Pahl adds his signature aesthetic.
The specific moment of inspiration for “Famous” came after Kelley watched the recent documentary Amy. He and bandmates Hillary Scott and Dave Haywood sat down to write with Eric Paslay. As they talked about different movies, Kelley brought up the documentary. “We wondered if we could somehow try to write a song that encapsulated that process of when fame gets so large, and how you handle it,” Haywood says.
“[Fame] is this thing that so many of us want so bad,” Kelley says. “But then when they’re in it to that level, it’s gotta be so frightening and sad and lonely.” The band emphasizes that point with the line, “Ain’t a mystery why a star goes down in flames.”
“It’s a heartbreaking song,” Haywood says. An apt choice for an album titled Heart Break. But beyond that, the song shows a level of introspective writing that deals with an experience few have. And yet the band makes it personal and relatable enough that you don’t have to win five Grammy’s in one year to appreciate the pressure that comes with being famous.