Jennifer Nettles

From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Jennifer Nettles
Nettles in November 2021
Nettles in November 2021
Background information
Birth nameJennifer Odessa Nettles
Born (1974-09-12) September 12, 1974 (age 49)
Douglas, Georgia, U.S.
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • actress
  • Vocals
  • guitar
Years active1991–present
Member ofSugarland

Jennifer Odessa Nettles (born September 12, 1974) is an American singer, songwriter, actress and record producer.

Nettles is the lead vocalist of the duo Sugarland alongside Kristian Bush, and prior to this she fronted the Atlanta-based bands Soul Miner's Daughter and Jennifer Nettles Band. She charted as a duet partner on the country version of rock band Bon Jovi's 2006 single "Who Says You Can't Go Home", a number-one hit on the Billboard country chart.[1] Throughout her career, she has acquired numerous accolades, including three Grammy Awards, four Country Music Association Awards, and an American Music Award for her work both as a soloist and as one half of the duo Sugarland. Nettles was a judge on Go-Big Show (2021–22).[2]

Personal life[edit]

Nettles was born and raised in the small town of Douglas, Georgia, United States, graduating from Coffee High School and Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia.[3] Nettles married Todd Van Sickle in 1998; the couple divorced in 2007.[4] On November 26, 2011, Nettles married her boyfriend of two years, Justin Miller, in a sunset ceremony at Blackberry Farm in East Tennessee.[5] On June 18, 2012, Nettles and her husband announced they were expecting their first child in November 2012.[6] Their son was born in December 2012.[7]

Musical beginnings[edit]

Nettles began performing at school assemblies, her Southern Baptist church, and in community theater. She was also a member of Georgia 4-H's Clovers & Company performing arts group from 1986 to 1993.[8]

Nettles studied Spanish and Anthropology at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Georgia, and graduated in 1997.[9] While a student there, Nettles and Cory Jones (who at the time was studying classical guitar at the University of Georgia) formed the group Soul Miner's Daughter. Performing as both an acoustic duo and with a band, they released two albums: The Sacred and Profane in 1996 and Hallelujah in 1998, both of which were composed of songs written collaboratively by Jones and Nettles.[10] Soul Miner's Daughter was invited to perform at the Atlanta installment of Lilith Fair in 1999.[11]

In 1999, she formed the Jennifer Nettles Band, with which she released three studio albums and two live albums. The band, which in addition to Nettles included Brad Sikes (drums), Scott Nicholson (piano), Wesley Lupold (bass), and Mike Cebulski (percussion), was selected the grand prize winner from more than 2000 bands in "The Big Deal $100,000 Music Search" presented by Mars Music.[12]


Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush on stage, 2009
Sugarland at Elkhart, Indiana County Fair, July 2006

In 2003, Nettles teamed up with Kristen Hall and Kristian Bush to form Sugarland. In 2006, Hall left the group[13] and Nettles and Bush continued on as a duo releasing Enjoy the Ride in November 2006. Their third album, titled Love on the Inside, was released on July 22, 2008. Regarding the trio's collaboration, she said:

We really wanted to get out of where we had all been as artists and move beyond that to something bigger. Consequently all the songs reflect that; 'Fly Away,' 'Baby Girl,' all of those songs - you speak to the human condition and write what you know in your life.[14]

Sugarland was nominated for a Grammy award in the Best New Artist category in 2006.[15] Although they did not win the award, Nettles and Bush performed for the awards show and Nettles presented both a Lifetime Achievement Award to Merle Haggard and the award for Best Country Group.[16]

A duet performance with rock band Bon Jovi, "Who Says You Can't Go Home", reached No. 7 on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart and No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles chart. The video for the song won a CMT Music Award in 2006 for Collaborative Video Of The Year. In February 2007, Nettles and Bon Jovi won a Grammy for Best Country Vocal Collaboration.[17]

In an interview on Fox News with Martha MacCullum, Nettles expressed interest in appearing in a Broadway play, stating in particular that she would like to play the role of Elphaba in Wicked.[18]

In early December 2008, Sugarland received three Grammy Award nominations and performed on the 51st Annual Grammy Awards show on February 8, 2009. They won awards for Best Country Song and Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group.[19]

Jennifer Nettles during a concert in March 2009, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.

On January 18, 2009, Nettles performed at the We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial, singing James Taylor's "Shower the People" with James Taylor and John Legend.[20]

On February 11, 2009, Sugarland received two nominations from the Academy of Country Music for Top Vocal Duo and Vocal Event of the Year for "Life in a Northern Town".[21] During the broadcast of the April 5, 2009 awards show, Sugarland was presented with the Vocal Duo of the Year award, ending Brooks & Dunn's nine-year run.[22] Nettles also received a Milestone award, presented to her by Reba McEntire.[23]

ABC broadcast the first CMA Country Christmas, hosted by Nettles, on November 29, 2010. Nettles and Sugarland partner Kristian Bush kicked off the evening with their rendition of "Winter Wonderland", backed by Little Big Town. The pair returned to the stage later in the program to perform the hymn "Come, O Come Emmanuel", just before the "Jingle Bell Rock" group grande finale of the 90-minute special.[24] Until 2016, Nettles was the sole host of Country Christmas but was replaced by Reba McEntire for the 2017 show.

After a five-year hiatus while Nettles and Bush recorded solo projects, Sugarland officially reunited in 2017 at the 51st Annual Country Music Association Awards and announced that they were working on new music together.[25] The lead single off their sixth studio album Bigger, “Still the Same" was released on December 21, 2017.[26]

Duets and solo career[edit]

In 2009, Jennifer Nettles performed at the Kennedy Center Honors for Bruce Springsteen and a second time in 2011 for Neil Diamond.[27][28]

In 2012, Nettles appeared as a judge on the ABC singing competition series Duets alongside Kelly Clarkson, John Legend and Robin Thicke. The show was cancelled after one season.

Nettles announced in May 2013 that she would begin working on a solo album.[29] Her first solo single, "That Girl", was released in August. Nettles co-wrote the song with Butch Walker, and Rick Rubin produced it. The album, also titled That Girl, was released on January 14, 2014.

On June 4, 2014, Nettles performed "All of Me" with John Legend and Hunter Hayes at the CMT Music Awards.

Nettles on stage at the C2C festival in 2017

In July 2015, Nettles parted ways with Mercury Nashville. Nettles then signed with Big Machine Label Group. Nettles announced that she would be going on the "Playing With Fire Tour" with Ryan Kindler and Brandy Clark as her opening acts. The tour was then extended by CMT and promoted as "CMT Presents Jennifer Nettles with 2016 Next Women of Country Tour" with Brandy Clark and special guest Lindsay Ell and Tara Thompson for over 30 dates across the country starting in January 2016. Nettles then released a music video for her song "Sugar", she would be performing this song, which is off her upcoming album, at the 89th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on the Domino Sugar float. Nettles then released the first official single, off her upcoming album with Big Machine, "Unlove You" which she debuted on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on November 24. In March 2017, Nettles made her international solo debut at the C2C: Country to Country festival.[30] For six years in a row she has hosted the CMA Country Christmas on ABC. In 2018[31] Jennifer Nettles duetted with Josh Groban on his "Bridges" and "Bridges Live" albums with the Groban-penned song "99 Years". In December 2019 Nettles ended her solo deal with Big Machine Records but her duo Sugarland signed an exclusive deal with Big Machine.

To coincide with the sixteenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack, Nettles released a song called "King of the City", which tells the story of an immigrant who lost his life during the tragedy. Of the track, Nettles said "it has been so long since I started writing this song, but I was only able to finish it in the last year. I was inspired by the political tensions in our country right now. I want to humanize the immigrant story as an American story, and allow people a different narrative from what they might, or might not, be seeing on the news or in their communities".[32]


Nettles made her acting debut in the NBC television movie, Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors portraying Dolly Parton's mother. It premiered on December 10, 2015. She reprised her role in the sequel Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love which premiered on November 30, 2016.[33]

In February 2015, Nettles joined the Broadway cast of Chicago, where she played the role of Roxie Hart for a limited engagement.[34] In April 2016, she had a role on the WGN America hit series Underground. Her role was as a wife and mother who became a mental patient.

Since 2019, Nettles has portrayed Aimee-Leigh Gemstone, the deceased matriarch (featured in flashbacks) of a fictional Southern evangelical family in HBO’s dark comedy series The Righteous Gemstones. She also co-starred in the drama Harriet, about abolitionist Harriet Tubman, playing Eliza Brodess. The film was directed by Kasi Lemmons.[35]

She played the lead role of Jenna in the musical Waitress on Broadway from October 19 to November 25, 2021.[36]

Nettles plays Miranda, the mother of a young woman named Katherine, possessed by a demon, in the 2023 film The Exorcist: Believer.[37]


Nettles has lent her time and talent to support various non-profit organizations. Nettles has been a longtime supporter of the Shalom foundation.[38] She raised more than $120,000 for the foundation in 2007.[39]

In 2008, she launched Common Thread, a series of musical events enabling artists to come together to share music and raise money for their favorite charities. The first three Common Thread concerts included performances by Nettles, Sugarland partner Kristian Bush, Emily Saliers, and Amos Lee and raised funds for the American Cancer Society, American Liver Foundation, Honor the Earth, and Intercultural Family Services.[40]

Following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Nettles and Sugarland partner Bush sang on the remake of We Are the World as part of Artists for Haiti.

In February 2012, Nettles was one of a group of celebrities who walked down a catwalk in red dresses for the 'Heart Truth Red Dress Collection' show, part of New York Fashion Week. She wore a David Meister dress.[41]

In November 2019, Nettles attended the CMA Awards wearing a Christian Siriano design with a hot-pink train. The train had a hand-painted graffiti painting by Alice Mizrahi and a message stating "play our [expletive] records; Please and Thank You", and the backside said "equal play". Nettles' outfit was in protest of country music radio stations not giving equal play time to female artists.[42]

At the 2020 CMT Music Awards, she was recognized for her activism in the fight for equal play with the first CMT Equal Play award.[43]


Studio demos[edit]

As Jennifer Nettles
Year Album
1991 For Your Love / You're the One
  • Two-song Demo Cassette on Timme Records label.

Studio albums[edit]

Soul Miner's Daughter
Year Album
1996 The Sacred and Profane
1998 Hallelujah
As Jennifer Nettles Band
Year Album
2000 Story of Your Bones
2002 Gravity: Drag Me Down
2002 Rewind
As Jennifer Nettles
Title Details Peak chart positions Sales
US Country
UK Country
That Girl 5 1 22
Playing with Fire 10 2 39 4
To Celebrate Christmas
  • Release date: October 28, 2016
  • Label: Big Machine
66 13 18
Always Like New
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Extended plays[edit]

Title Details
I Can Do Hard Things
  • Release date: June 7, 2019
  • Label: Big Machine

Live albums[edit]

As Jennifer Nettles
Year Album
2003 An Acoustic Evening with Jennifer Nettles
2004 An Acoustic Evening with Jennifer Nettles II

Solo singles[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country
US Country Airplay
US Bubbling
2013 "That Girl" 37 37 That Girl
2014 "Me Without You" 50
2016 "Unlove You" 24 26 16 Playing with Fire
"Hey Heartbreak"[55]
2019 "I Can Do Hard Things"[56] I Can Do Hard Things EP
2021 "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat"[57] Always Like New
"Wait For It"
"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Guest singles[edit]

Year Single Artist Peak chart positions Album
US Country US Country Airplay US US AC CAN NOR IRE NZ SWE SPA
2006 "Who Says You Can't Go Home" Bon Jovi 1 Have a Nice Day
2010 "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" Artists for Haiti 2 7 1 9 8 5 15
2014 "Christmas Day" Michael W. Smith The Spirit of Christmas
2015 "Here It Is Christmas/Baby, It's Cold Outside" Kenny Rogers 18 Once Again It's Christmas
2020 "Do What You Can" Bon Jovi 28 2020
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Other charted songs[edit]

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
US Country
2016 "Little Drummer Boy"
(featuring Idina Menzel)
12 To Celebrate Christmas
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" 20
"O Holy Night" 46

Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director
2006 "Who Says You Can't Go Home" (with Bon Jovi) Anthony M. Bongiovi
2010 "We Are the World 25 for Haiti" (as USA for Haiti) Paul Haggis
2013 "That Girl"[59] Philip Andelman
2014 "His Hands" (with Brandy Clark)[60] Shaun Silva/Valarie Allyn Bienas
2015 "Sugar"[61] Declan Whitebloom
2016 "Unlove You"[62] Trey Fanjoy
"Hey Heartbreak"
2020 "Do What You Can"
2021 "Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin'"




Year Title Role Notes
2015 Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors Avie Lee Parton Television movie
2016 Dolly Parton's Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love Avie Lee Parton Television movie
2019 Harriet Eliza Brodess
2023 The Exorcist: Believer Miranda


Year Title Role Notes
2005 CMT Crossroads Herself Episode: "Bon Jovi and Sugarland"
2010–16 CMA Country Christmas Herself/host 7 specials
2012 Duets Herself 9 episodes
2016 CMT Crossroads Herself Episode: "Cheap Trick and Jennifer Nettles"
2016 Underground Charlotte Episode: "Cradle"
2018 The Launch Mentor Episode: "Ain’t Easy"
2019–present The Righteous Gemstones Aimee-Leigh Gemstone 9 episodes
2020 Puppy Dog Pals Capo (Voice) Episode: "Music City Mishap"
2021–22 Go-Big Show Herself/Panelist
2023 The Masked Singer Herself/Guest Panelist Episode: "Sesame Street Night"
2023–present Farmer Wants A Wife Host


  1. ^ Billboard website.Billboard Music Charts - Jennifer Nettles; retrieved February 24, 2009.
  2. ^ "Jennifer Nettles, Judge".
  3. ^ Jennifer Nettles website. Website bio; retrieved February 24, 2009.
  4. ^ Corneau, Allison (June 18, 2012). "Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles Pregnant With First Child". Us Weekly. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  5. ^ Finan, Eileen (November 28, 2011). "Jennifer Nettles Gets Married!". Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  6. ^ Schwartz, Alison; Kauss, Katie. "Jennifer Nettles Expecting First Child". People. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  7. ^ "Jennifer Nettles Welcomes Son Magnus Hamilton". People. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  8. ^ Clovers and Company History, CAST MEMBERS AND SHOW PROGRAMS THROUGH THE YEARS!. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 18, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Retrieved August 27, 2010.
  9. ^ Agnes Scott College. Alumnae Spotlight: Jennifer Nettles '97. Archived May 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved February 14, 2009.
  10. ^ Back, Alan. Soul Miner's Daughter takes top honors at Lillith competition. Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine The Technique, May 14, 1999. Retrieved April 4, 2007.
  11. ^ a b c Ask Men website. Jennifer Nettles. Archived February 22, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  12. ^ Entertainment Wire. Atlanta's The Jennifer Nettles Band Wins Grand Prize In Nationwide Music Search Competition. Archived October 11, 2012, at the Wayback Machine November 28, 2000. Retrieved March 23, 2009.
  13. ^ Dugger, Brian. Kristen Hall leaves Sugarland. Archived December 22, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Toledo Blade, January 20, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  14. ^ Cronin, Peter. The Road To Sugarland. Archived February 11, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Great American Country TV website. September 5, 2006. Retrieved February 23, 2009.
  15. ^ Gardner, Elysa. Meet the best new artist nominees. USA Today, February 2, 2006. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  16. ^ Lee, Lisa. Urban, Hill and Sugarland Prepare for Grammy Show. CMT website. February 6, 2006. Retrieved February 26, 2009.
  17. ^ a b Grammy Awards website. 49th Grammy Awards Winners List. Archived December 20, 2006, at the Library of Congress Web Archives (See Category 39.) Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  18. ^ YouTube. Jennifer Nettles on FoxNews. August 13, 2007. Retrieved February 23, 2009
  19. ^ a b c Grammy Awards website. 51st Annual Grammy Awards Winners List. Archived December 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (See Category 38 and Category 41.) Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  20. ^ USA Today. Live-blog: 'We Are One' concert at the Lincoln Memorial. January 18, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  21. ^ Academy of Country Music. 2009 Nominees. Archived March 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine February 11, 2009. Retrieved February 12, 2009.
  22. ^ DeDekker, Jeff. Following the ACMs, part four. Archived April 16, 2009, at the Wayback Machine Leader-Post, April 5, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  23. ^ McDonnell, Brandy (BAM's Blog). ACM Awards Continues. The Oklahoman, April 5, 2009. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  24. ^ Hollabaugh, Lorie. Stars Celebrate First 'CMA Country Christmas'. The Boot, November 29, 2010. Retrieved November 30, 2010.
  25. ^ "It's Official: Sugarland Are Returning With New Music!". The Boot. November 9, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  26. ^ "Sugarland Announces New Single, 'Still The Same'". December 8, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  27. ^ Rolling Stone December 30, 2009, article titled "Bruce Springsteen Honored at Kennedy Center" Retrieved September 19, 2018]
  28. ^ Washington Post December 4, 2011 article on the Kennedy Center Honors Retrieved September 19, 2018]
  29. ^ "Jennifer Nettles finally doing solo album". May 17, 2013. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  30. ^ "C2C: Country to Country 2017 - Jennifer Nettles live review - Entertainment Focus". March 10, 2017. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  31. ^ Credits on the Josh Groban "Bridges" album for Reprise records
  32. ^ "Jennifer Nettles (@JenniferNettles)". Twitter. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  33. ^ Kissell, Rick (May 11, 2016). "NBC Sets Sequel to 'Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors' for This Year". Retrieved May 12, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ Leahey, Andrew (December 9, 2014). "Jennifer Nettles Scores Iconic Broadway Role". Rolling Stone. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  35. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (September 13, 2018). "Focus Features Moving Forward With Harriet Tubman Pic Starring Cynthia Erivo". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
  36. ^ McPhee, Ryan. "Sugarland, Butter, Flour: Jennifer Nettles Will Star in Waitress on Broadway", Playbill, September 23, 2021
  37. ^ Lang, Brent (February 24, 2023). "Jennifer Nettles Joins 'The Exorcist' in Key Role (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved November 23, 2023.
  38. ^ "The Shalom Foundation with Jennifer Nettles". Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. Retrieved August 9, 2014.
  39. ^ Dining Stars website. Sugarland's Tour Benefits The Shalom Foundation.[permanent dead link] Retrieved February 23, 2009.
  40. ^ CMT website. Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles Launches Common Thread Charity Events. November 6, 2008. Retrieved February 23, 2009.
  41. ^ "Stars Hit the Runway for Heart Health". February 10, 2012. Archived from the original on February 14, 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2012.
  42. ^ "Jennifer Nettles wears a strongly worded message to the CMA Awards". November 14, 2019. Retrieved November 14, 2019.
  43. ^ a b "Jennifer Nettles Says 'We Have More to Do' as She Accepts First-Ever CMT Equal Play Award". Retrieved October 22, 2020.
  44. ^ "Jennifer Nettles". Billboard. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  45. ^ "Jennifer Nettles". Billboard. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  46. ^ "Jennifer Nettles". Billboard. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  47. ^ Peak positions on UK Country Albums chart:
  48. ^ "Upcoming Releases". Hits Daily Double. HITS Digital Ventures. Archived from the original on April 15, 2016.
  49. ^ Bjorke, Matt (February 14, 2017). "Top 10 Country Albums Chart: February 13, 2017". Roughstock.
  50. ^ Bjorke, Matt (November 26, 2017). "Top Country Catalog Sales Chart: November 26, 2017". Roughstock. Retrieved December 16, 2017.
  51. ^ Hudak, Joseph (April 9, 2021). "Jennifer Nettles to Sing Songs From 'Hamilton,' 'Annie' on New Broadway-Inspired Album". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  52. ^ "Jennifer Nettles". Billboard. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  53. ^ "Jennifer Nettles". Billboard. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  54. ^ "Jennifer Nettles". Billboard. Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  55. ^ "Jennifer Nettles – Hey Heartbreak | Daily Play MPE". Play MPE via Big Machine Records. September 7, 2016. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  56. ^ Jeff Gage (February 22, 2019). "Hear Jennifer Nettles' New Song 'I Can Do Hard Things'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 4, 2020.
  57. ^ "Jennifer Nettles revisits beloved American Songbook classics with new album, 'Always Like New' - Music News - ABC News Radio". Retrieved April 23, 2021.
  58. ^ "Jennifer Nettles – Chart history (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  59. ^ "CMT : Videos : Jennifer Nettles : That Girl". Country Music Television. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  60. ^ "CMT : Videos : Jennifer Nettles : His Hands (Live)". Country Music Television. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  61. ^ "Sugar – Jennifer Nettles". Vevo. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  62. ^ "CMT : Videos : Jennifer Nettles : Unlove You". Country Music Television. Retrieved March 13, 2016.
  63. ^ Clover Country website. Songs From Famous 4-H Alumni: Sugarland. Archived September 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  64. ^ CMT website. 2006 CMT Music Awards -- Winners. Retrieved February 24, 2009
  65. ^ a b c d e CMA website. Artist Detail: Sugarland. Retrieved February 24, 2009.
  66. ^ CMA website. Artist Detail: Jennifer Nettles. Retrieved February 24, 2009.

External links[edit]