Singer and songwriter Jennifer Nettles is best known as half of the successful country-pop duo Sugarland with Kristian Bush. Following early work in the '90s, Nettles gained widespread acclaim with Sugarland, winning three Grammy Awards, two of which were for the song "Stay" off 2006's Enjoy the Ride. On her own, she has issued several highly regarded solo albums, including 2014's That Girl and 2016's Playing with Fire, all of which showcase her mix of earthy country, R&B, and pop.
Born in Georgia in 1974, Nettles began singing in earnest at age four. As a teen she played in local bands; her influences ranged from gospel and pop to classic rock and even grunge. Nettles began her recording career as part of another duo, Soul Miner's Daughter, with songwriter Cory Jones. The pair recorded two albums: 1996's The Sacred and Profane and 1998's Hallelujah. They received widespread critical notice and their albums sold respectably. They played some major festival dates, including 1999's Lilith Fair. After the band broke up, Nettles created her own band and recorded three solo albums: 2000's Story of Your Bones and 2002's Gravity: Drag Me Down and Rewind. The Jennifer Nettles Band's recordings received major market airplay, and at the debut Independent Music Awards, she received the award for Independent Artist of the Year.
In 2003, she co-founded Sugarland with Bush and songwriter Kristen Hall; the latter left after the group's 2004 debut album Twice the Speed of Life. After five studio albums and one live recording with Sugarland, Nettles took a break from the band, had a child, and recorded a solo album titled That Girl with producer Rick Rubin and an all-star cast. It was released in January of 2014, debuting at number one on the country chart and five on the Top 200. Nettles switched to Big Machine Records for 2016's Playing with Fire. Her first holiday-themed album, To Celebrate Christmas, arrived later that year. She was back with Sugarland for 2018's Bigger, which reached number two on the country charts. In 2019, she issued the solo I Can Do Hard Things EP. ~ Thom Jurek