Lately, my Pandora station has been tuned into the Sugarland station 24/7. I'm even listening to it as I write this post, I kid you not. Jennifer Nettles vocals are the reason behind my new country obsession. She can belt out her notes like there's no tomorrow, something seriously impressive for a 5-foot-7 skinny woman. She makes the Lovelyish Girl Crush list not just for her awesome singing skills, but also for her long-running activism and her incredibly genuine attitude. It seems that Jen is one of those celebrities who will always be normal despite the glaring spotlight.
Nettles found her love for music at a young age. She grew up in Georgia, where she performed at school assemblies, at her Southern Baptist church and in community theater. She was part of two bands, Soul Miner's Daughter and the Jennifer Nettles Band, before finally setting in with Sugarland.
The country band Sugarland consists of Jennifer Nettles and her buddy Kristian Bush. Bush and then Sugarland member Kristin Hall hired Nettles in 2002, but Hall left three years later, making the trio into the famous duo of today. Sugarland has been on a fast track to fame ever since with hits like "Want To," "Settlin," and "It Happens." Their chops were recognized in two Grammy 2008 wins including Best Country Song and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group -- all that in addition to numerous nominations dating back to 2006.
Jennifer Nettles isn't just famous for her music these days. She prides herself on being an active member in many charity organizations in addition to being a country star. In 2007, she donated ticket sales to the Shalom Foundation, a charity that aids children in poverty, in a concert called CMT Change for Change tour (see clip of concert above). They raised more than $120,000 for the organization that year.
In 2008, she launched Common Thread, which is a series of musical events that allows musicians to share their music with fans while raising money for their favorite charities, including the American Cancer Society, the American Liver Foundation, Honor the Earth and Intercultural Family Services. She supports many other causes, it's probably best to peruse the full list via her website.
In a rare 2010 interview with The Gazette, she comes across genuine, listing her favorite activities as music (duh), yoga, eco-consciousness and philanthropy. All loves that her fame has given her more time and resources to do.
Jennifer reaches out to her fans, which most celebrities don't find the time to do anymore. She even updates the Sugarland Twitter and her website, or at least I think she does since she occasionally tweets back and forth with her sister and once regularly left vlogs for fans. This is odd since most celebs hire someone else to handle social media for them. She doesn't act like fame gives her any special status and gives sassy responses to questions. When the Gazette reporter asked about her divorce, she simply said, "People are really interested in this? This is so bizarre."
What I love best about Nettles is that she really loves what she does. After the divorce comment, The Gazette interviewer said: "A few more questions about her music, and you can hear the smile in her voice again."
That's all I really want from my favorite celebrities these days: Love for what they do.
What do you think of Jennifer Nettles? Who is your girl crush?