Lady Antebellum Immediately Knew ‘What I’m Leaving For’ ‘Had To Be Recorded’

Life has changed quite a bit for Lady Antebellum since they first hit the country music scene in 2007. Six…


Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

February 20, 2020


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Lady Antebellum; Photo By Dove Shore

Life has changed quite a bit for Lady Antebellum since they first hit the country music scene in 2007. Six children, five Grammy Awards, three marriages and a new record label later, Lady A’s Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood have lived a lot of life since their debut album and that’s all reflected on their latest project, Ocean.

The 13-song album features songs about life, love, heartbreak and everything in between and is a true representation of where the members of Lady Antebellum are at in life. And while each track is special to the trio for a number reasons, their latest single, the emotional “What I’m Leaving For,” strikes a chord with Scott, Kelley and Haywood as parents. Even though they didn’t have a hand in writing the song (it was co-written by Sam Ellis, Micah Premnath and Laura Veltz), they recently told Country Now and other media they “knew it had to be recorded” upon first listen.

“I listened to it and I’m like this is my life,” Scott shared. “I was that child because my parents toured. They toured with Reba [McEntire] for the majority of my childhood and so I was that little girl. Now, I’m that mom, I’m that parent, and so it was just I felt such a true very present representation of where I am, where we are as a band.”

While the reflective ballad that finds the band recalling the pain they feel when they leave their families to go out on the road, the emotional lyrics resonate with all parents, whether they are touring musicians or not.

“Take a look at our little paradise/ It ain’t much but baby, you and I/ Picked the right stars, made the right wish/ Ain’t nothing out there like this/ And it kills me that I gotta go/ Couldn’t do it if I didn’t know/ That every time I’m walking out that door/ You know what I’m leaving for,” they sing throughout the chorus.

Haywood recently recalled being “wrecked” by the song and sending it to a family member, who served in multiple tours overseas in the military.

“When I hear this song, I think about military families [and] how they could really relate to this song,” he said. “You know, what I’m leaving for…I’m doing it all for you.”

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“Once you have kids, you just look at the world differently and you look at it through their lens,” Kelley added. “It’s not just a selfish thing of us getting to do all this. You’re out there doing it for another reason and doing it for them to provide and let them have those experiences and let them be a part of it as well. This one hit really hard and I think a lot of this album is a lot of that honesty and is a lot of where we are currently.”

With “What I’m Leaving For” off to a great start at country radio (the song was the No.1 most-added track this week), Lady A is turning their attention to their upcoming Ocean 2020 Tour, which kicks off May 21 and runs through mid-September. Scott predicts that there might be a few tears when they perform the song on tour this summer. “That’s going to make for some emotional performances of that song over the next several months and on the tour, especially on the weekends when they aren’t with us,” she told press at Lady A’s recent No.1 party celebrating the success of “What If I Never Get Over You.”

Tears or no tears, the group hopes that their music continues to connect with others because that’s what it’s all about. “I think it’s going to connect more because people can see that our kids, our families are the most important thing to us,” Haywood explained.

Ocean is available to stream or download now.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.