The three siblings who make up the Band Perry — big sister-frontwoman Kimberly Perry, middle brother/bassist-singer Reid, and baby brother/mandolinist-drummer-singer Neil, all in their 20s — cannot believe how far they’ve come since the release of their self-titled 2010 debut.
Thanks to the album’s clutch of hit singles — including the melancholy crossover ballad “If I Die Young,” which has sold 4 million copies — the country trio, who have been playing music since they were kids, has been showcasing their family harmonies from coast to coast. They’ve played everything from clubs to arenas with current superstars like Keith Urban and Vince Gill and legends like Merle Haggard.
The trio has also raked in nominations and awards left and right, including a win for new artist of the year at the Academy of Country Music awards and a nod in the same category at the Grammys. Next Wednesday they’ll compete for video of the year honors at the CMT awards. Not too shabby for a bunch of kids who started out playing in Walmart.
But before they can haul anymore hardware home — or finish work on their sophomore album with famed producer Rick Rubin who has worked with everyone from the Dixie Chicks to Slayer — the Perry kids have to open up some shows for Brad Paisley, including a gig Sunday at the Comcast Center. We caught up with them by phone from their tour bus as they rolled from Nashville to New York City.
THE BAND PERRY
Q. You’ve had an impressive run since your album was released. Have you had a chance to stop and smell the roses at all?
Kimberly: We really have. We’ve gotten really good over the last 18 months about actually making ourselves sit still for a second and really soak everything in. Even on the toughest day it’s amazing we’ve been given such an opportunity.
Q. You all are pretty dogged chroniclers of your travels on Twitter and your blog. Does that help put the pieces together of the blur that must be your life?
Neil: Definitely. We do look back at the tweets and say, “Wow it’s pretty cool that we got to do some of that stuff!” One thing that’s really cool is Reid’s a journaler, so it’s interesting when he goes back and reads some of the stuff we did.
Kimberly: And Neil is our photographer of the bunch so it’s cool to have those too.
Q. It’s been about a year-and-a-half since your debut. Where are you in the process of working on a new album?
Reid: We’re actually in the studio right now recording the second album. We’ve got about half of it done and we go back in a couple of weeks to record the back half of it and we’re excited about the songs.
Kimberly: We are. This go around we had the opportunity to jump in the studio with [famed producer] Rick Rubin. We’re ecstatic. The producer hunt was a little over a year in the happening and nothing felt like the right fit and so finally, as almost as last ditch effort, we said, “Our hero is Rick Rubin. I’m sure he’s way too busy, but why not give him a call?” He’s amazing. He’s just been so even tempered. He’s been part therapist and part producer. Because, of course, diving into the second album we have the typical sophomore jitters, but he says, “It’s not the second thing you’ve ever done in your life, it’s just the next thing in your journey.” Which, for us, has been going on about 14 years.
Q. People usually write about the people and things that surround them. Do you all find yourselves sort of writing about each other in code in the songs?
Kimberly: We don’t do that as much, we just share every life experience. Even though we have experienced the same thing we come at it from three distinct perspectives. It truly is a blend of the three of us. Even though we grew up under the same roof, Reid is more the sarcasm and the dry sense of humor of the bunch. Neil as the baby is the jester who never lets us take ourselves too seriously. And I would probably be the more poetic, dramatic one of the three of us. All three personalities going into the lyrics is what makes it unique.
Q. Truthfully, spending so much time in such close quarters, do you ever get sick of each other?
Neil: We are siblings, so there is everything that comes with that, but honestly, I think there’s such a support around the three of us and from the three of us that even if we’re having a bad day the others are there to pick them up, because if one person’s unhappy all three of us are unhappy, so it’s really in the best interest of all of us to be in a good head space.
Reid: When we do go home we do go to our separate corners just to be quiet because we’re around such a loud business.
Kimberly: We do work as a democracy, however, if we come to a three-way tie we just solve everything with brute force: arm wrestling, rock, paper, scissors, Krav Maga, whatever we can come up with to get our own way.
Neil: And there is a secret weapon that we do bring out on occasion: our mother.