The Band Perry are a band of gold. Their self-titled debut album was recently certified gold, for sales to retailers of more than 500,000 copies, a rare achievement for any freshman act these days. Winning the best new artist trophy at the ACM Awards was more than icing on that cake. Consider that they've achieved all this despite some quote-unquote handicaps: They're a group, and one fronted by a female, in a genre that still far and away favors solo dudes. But every once in a while, good taste bucks the odds and favors the deserving, both in the sales and kudos departments.
At their gold party, we talked to the sibling trio about these new additions to their walls and mantles, and what's next. Which, to cut to the spoilers, is an even higher grade of shiny certification, if Kimberly Perry has her way.
"We're definitely goal-oriented people," she said. "We see something and we work as hard as we can to reach it. So platinum is our next goal. But right now we certainly are letting gold just sink right on in to our minds and hearts. The music business these days is such a roller coaster up and down, and we're grateful to have reached this milestone on our first record. When we actually crossed the threshold, we were in some small town in Iowa, and I had a little dance party in the hotel room. The boys were jumping on the beds."
But they didn't do too much celebrating while they were in Las Vegas, even after their ACMs triumph. Partying was not on their to-do list. "Well, one of us can't anyway," Kimberly pointed out. "Neil is our baby [at age 20]. So we tuck him in early in Vegas."
"They give me one of those blindfolds that go over your eyes so you can sleep when we walk through the casinos," joked Neil.
"He can play bingo," added Reid.
"But I feel like we worked so hard and the three of us are so competitive, it's all about what the next goal is," said Kimberly. "So we don't really have time to relax or even catch a catnap, let alone party. It keeps us honest, for sure."
At the ACMs, the band performed a slightly modified version of their breakout smash, "If I Die Young." "This one was a little bit of an amped-up version," said Reid. "We got some electric guitars on it." This song well preceded their album in RIAA certification, having gone platinum as a digital single last year.
Despite appearances, "we're not an overnight success," Kimberly said. "The boys and I have been on the road for 13 years together. But it seems like having logged in that decade-plus on the front side of this whole process has made the backside a lot quicker—and also sweeter. I mean, it's a moment I think we can appreciate a lot deeper, because of all the blood, sweat, and tears that everybody poured into the front side of this whole thing."
Fans already have their appetites whetted for new music—a bit prematurely, sorry to say. "The album has only been out since Oct. 12, so, six months, but folks are already asking for album #2," Kimberly noted. "And it's like, well, let's ride this one a little bit longer. We're already working on new music, mainly because we want to keep our creative muscle flexed, and it's just a fascinating creative process right now, so we're excited about the days to come. We're uncovering songs daily. When I say uncovering, we're in this space right now where the songs already exist, and it's sort of an excavation process; we're digging 'em up and finding new pieces every day."
But, said Neil, "'You Lie' just came out to country radio, so we're going to let this one run its course."
"We just went Top 15 with that song," added Kimberly. "But we've got to start deciding what the next single will be." ("You Lie" is their third; the first, which preceded "If I Die Young," was the modest introductory hit "Hip to My Heart.") "We'll certainly go four (singles deep) and we're even debating five. It just depends on how sales continue. As long as we're continuing to grow with the songs on this project, we're going to walk it as far as it can go."
In contrast to the mortality theme of "If I Die Young," "'You Lie' is a little bit of spitfire from the Band Perry," says Kimberly. "There's a lot of that rolling around in this band, in case you didn't notice. The song just talks about cheaters never, ever prosper."
Having hit is heights the honest way, their album continues to prosper. It debuted last October at No. 4 on the overall sales chart with 52,000 units, the best first week for a country freshman act all year. It's continued to sell well in the post-Christmas season. Of its 476,000 Soundscan tally to date, 144,000 of those units have been sold in 2011. In the week prior to the ACMs, it sold more than 10,000 units, an impressive total for an album that's been out half a year, and it'll likely get a post-ACMs boost next week.
It remains to be seen whether they can push the album to platinum, but it won't be for lack of trying. At the gold party, Kimberly thanked their reps for giving them 19 days off last year. (Clearly, someone was counting.) I asked if they could guess how many non-work days they'd be getting this year. "Less than last year, I'll tell you that," Kimberly said. "But we've been working a long time to get this busy, so we're not going to complain," added Neil. "Thank God for Red Bull. We're good to go."
The next prime-time exposure for the band will be April 22, when CBS airs a "Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country" special that was taped the night after the ACMs, with the trio saluting the late Patsy Cline by performing "Walking After Midnight." But their extended exposure will be as opening act on Tim McGraw's four-month "Emotional Traffic" tour, which kicks off this very weekend in Corpus Christi, Texas and wraps up Aug. 14 in Hershey, Pennsylvania. "We just love sweating it out on the road," said Kimberly.
Beyond that, the only date that's certain is the November one in Nashville when the CMA Awards take place, at which the Band Perry would have to be considered front-runners for that show's best new artist honors, too. But there's a lot of Red Bull and bingo to go down before then.