Talent, hard work, perseverance and good, old-fashioned camaraderie have been the tent poles of Little Big Town’s phenomenally successful career. Since launching the group two decades ago, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet, Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook have endured their share of hardships and challenges, but have survived and thrived to become one of the most awarded groups in country music history.
The talented foursome began performing together in 1998, and signed a deal with Mercury Records. That early promise soon led to disappointment when that deal failed to yield an album or any singles. Pushing forward, Little Big Town moved on to Monument Records and released a self-titled debut album in 2002 that spawned two minor chart singles. The group finally saw breakthrough success after signing with Equity Records in 2005 and releasing their sophomore album, “The Road to Here.” The project spawned four hit singles, including “Boondocks,” which became their first top 10 hit, and “Bring it on Home,” which climbed to the top five. The album was certified platinum, signifying sales of more than a million copies, and the group’s hard work and perseverance finally paid off.
Little Big Town recorded a second album for Equity, 2006’s “A Place to Land,” but when the independent label folded, the group signed with Capitol Nashville, a winning partnership that has continued to fuel the group’s successful juggernaut.
Though the Little Big Town’s early days were fraught with record company turmoil and personal losses such as divorces, the passing of Jimi’s father and the sudden death of Kimberly’s first husband, the four friends remained committed to their music and to each other, and survived those early struggles to become one of the most beloved acts in the country community. Known as much for their kind, caring personalities as they are for their soaring harmonies, Little Big Town’s success is proof that nice guys (and girls) don’t always finish last.
During the past two decades, they have released some of country radio’s most celebrated hits, among them “Little White Church,” “Tornado,” “Day Drinking” and “Pontoon,” which won the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. “Girl Crush” also proved to be another monster hit for the group, topping the charts, winning Grammys for Best Country Song and Best Country Duo/Group Performance and earning CMA Awards for both Song and Single of the Year. “Better Man,” written by Taylor Swift, is another of the group’s chart-topping hits, claiming Song of the Year honors at the 2017 CMA Awards.
During the course of their career, the members of Little Big Town have earned numerous accolades, including six consecutive CMA Vocal Group of the Year Awards. They are also the only group to have had a residency at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, performing multiple shows during 2017. They continue to wow audiences abroad as well, and are slated to headline at the C2C: Country to Country festival in the U.K. and Ireland in 2018.
Away from the spotlight, all of the group members have happy family lives. Jimi and Karen, who married each other in 2006, have a son, Elijah. Phillip and wife Rebecca are raising daughter Penelopi, and Kimberly and husband Stephen have daughters Daisy and Dolly.