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Sugarland Stuck on First Names

Sugarland photo by Jennifer Tzar, courtesy of UMG Nashville.

Sugarland is a one-name duo, and both members of the act are now known by one name to their fans, too.

If people talk about “Jennifer and Kristian,” it doesn’t take too long for country fans to figure out they’re referring to Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush. And that’s pretty much just the way they want it.

“I love how at some point country music, you lose your last name,” Kristian told HitFix.com. “We used to be first-name-last-name, but now it’s ‘Kristian and Jennifer.’ There’s a familiarity about country music — a little like NASCAR, a very interactive sport, and as a fan you want the chance of meeting [the driver] to be real.”

Before he was in Sugarland, Kristian spent a number of years in a folk/rock duo called Billy Pilgrim, so he’s able to make some pretty informed comparisons between country music and other genres. And that personal connection between country stars and their fans is real.

“I spent 25 years clearly understanding that I’m not gonna meet Bono or the Edge,” Kristian says. “But then it happened at the Grammys when we were all backstage, and I just about fell out of my shoes. Today, though, you can join our or somebody’s fanclub and be like, ‘I really wanna meet-and-greet in St. Louis.’ And it can happen. Just with Internet access, you can open the door 16 times more than you could’ve before.”

Sugarland’s made the most of its fan connection. The duo’s latest album, The Incredible Machine, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard country album chart and the all-genre Billboard 200. And “Stuck Like Glue” is in the Top 5 on the singles charts with a good shot at No. 1.

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