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How Hillary Scott Transformed Personal Tragedies Into Hopeful Gospel Album

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 (Associated Press)

Hillary Scott has weathered her share of storms.

When she and her bandmates in country trio Lady Antebellum announced a brief hiatus last year, the 30-year-old songstress believed it was the perfect time to work on an album with her other family: mother Linda Davis, father Lang Scott, and younger sister Rylee Scott. However, that particular project turned out to be rather theraputic for Scott, who was still grieving over the passing of her grandfather (who succumbed to leukemia in 2011), the passing of her grandmother (who also died that same year) and the miscarriage she suffered in 2015.

The result is "Love Remains," a 13-track collection of hymns and original songs that helped Scott deal with her personal anguish. The single "Thy Will,” composed in the wake of that tragic miscarriage, also explores the despair and confusion Scott and her family faced, and how she found comfort through her faith.

And while Scott attempts to hold back tears while describing the process of recording "Love Remains," she’s also beginning to see the light at the end of her dark tunnel. The gospel-fueled album is currently receiving praise from both critics and fans alike, and Scott insists that she and her family are now closer than ever before. She’s already compelled to move on to the next chapter of her life: reuniting with Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood of "Lady A" to record new music for 2017.

However, Scott does reveal she will shed more tears before this year is over — her 3-year-old daughter Eisele is set to begin school soon.

Fox News Magazine spoke exclusively with Scott about "Love Remains," relying on her faith to heal, as well as what fans can really expect for the future:

FNM: It’s been said that your album, "Love Remains," is about relying on your faith during a very difficult time in your life. Could you tell us about that?

HS: I can honestly say that there's been a few different incidents in my life, and the lives of my family, that became the inspirations behind this project. My grandfather — my dad’s dad — he was pretty much like a second father to me, because he and my grandmother lived in Nashville and helped take care of me, because my parents traveled a lot when I was younger. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011 and fought for five and a half months … I don’t like to say that you "lose" the battle. His time was up, and he fought with everything he had. That was just a really dark time for our family. That was one of the storms that we went through. But we lean on our faith and each other.

That same year, my mother lost her mother. My dad always said, "If you go into a storm, or in the middle of one, you’re coming out of one." We needed our faith to keep us grounded and at peace in the midst of a lot. That’s really the heart of this record. These are the songs that we wrote or we felt best represented how we tried to get through rough times.

FNM: How challenging was it to write and record these songs while you were still grieving?

HS: It was an emotional process, but in a really healthy way. There were a lot of tears. I would be singing an entire song in the studio and I would have to stop halfway through and collect myself. I heard at one time — probably 10–12 years ago, and it just stuck with me — that we’re all equipped to handle what we think is unthinkable, before we’re in the middle of it. And I truly believe that if we lean on the strengths of God, and the strength that he gives us, that we’re capable of handling a lot more than we give ourselves credit for. There were days I did it better than others. I would go in trying to not cry because it was hard.

These songs are talking about losing someone I love … but you have to bear-hug the emotions. You have to let yourself be sad, let yourself be angry — you can't be afraid to feel. It’s what you do with those emotions that’s the next most important thing. It’s OK to feel those things. This record was a huge learning lesson for me. I was really uncomfortable and it was really hard to hold it together in front of all those people in a studio. I was balling my eyes out, but my heart is broken. My heart is still broken that we’re on this earth without my grandfather. It’s been almost five years, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it still hurts, that I still grieve that. My husband and I were also dealing with the loss of our second pregnancy. But with our family, and how I was raised in the faith that we have, we have hope. That’s what we wanted to get across more than anything. This isn’t a sad album. It’s a hopeful album. It’s the hope that we have, that we can get through it, and that we’re stronger on the other side.

FNM: Why do you believe the single, "Thy Will," is resonating with critics and fans?

HS: This song, it’s the most personal song I’ve ever written. I wrote it in the weeks of being told that our second pregnancy wasn’t healthy — it was the rawest place that I’ve ever been in to write a song. It’s extremely, deeply personal. But at the same time, I feel like it’s extremely universal. The day that we wrote it, even in the midst of everything that I was going through, God gave me this clarity. I felt like this was a message bigger than me, that people needed to hear, just so that they can find hope when they don’t feel like they have it. I’m just extremely humbled that God showed up that day, in that room, while I was writing this song, and poured out through me and my two co-songwriters, what came out. Maybe I was brave enough, I guess if you want to call it that, or crazy enough — perhaps both — to pour my heart out to two complete strangers. I had never met either one of my co-writers before that day. But there was something in me that knew, and I honestly couldn’t have written another song that day other than this one. This is truly what I’m in the middle of dealing with. It was the song that was supposed to be written that day.

FNM: How are you feeling these days?

HS: I feel at peace. I mean, there’s definitely days that are hard. But I’m also really excited about the future. As much as I didn’t want to experience what I went through, and I would never want anyone to experience what I went through, I’m at peace. I’m now really looking forward to the future. I’m a very heart-led person, so every time I hear about someone connecting to these songs, there’s no greater compliment than that. I’m really happy. I have joy. There’s a lot of exciting things on the horizon for me to look forward to. This album is still brand new, my bandmates and I are working on new music for Lady A, and my little girl is about to start school. Life is really good right now.

FNM: What was it like working with your family on "Love Remains"?

HS: It was so much fun. You know, Lady A, we’ve been together 10 years, and we’ve been gone a lot of those years all over the world. We’ve had such a great time, but I’ve been missing out on spending more time with my family, especially my baby sister who turned 16. I felt like I was missing a lot of her life, years of her life. To be able to have that quality time, day in and day out, to make this record with her — it’s priceless. We already have an extremely close relationship, but as she’s getting older, she’s becoming one of my best friends. That would have happened no matter what at some point in our lives, but for it to have started and really solidify throughout the process of this record, I’m forever grateful for that.

FNM: You’ve have had tremendous success as a country artist, but this new faith-based album has been very well received. How do you feel about your rise on the Christian/country charts?

HS: Overwhelmed, but very grateful! My goal with this album was to just to really share the heart of my family and I. On that last day at the studio, we shut that door, we all looked at each other, and just knew that these 13 songs brought us closer. We released this album while feeling at peace that we have done what we were supposed to do. Also, I think people all over the globe just want music that makes them feel uplifted and encouraged, that helps them find hope. Because I think there’s a lot of us, myself included, walking through life right now with a lot of questions, uncertainties and fear. This is the way that I’ve been raised to face my fear head-on, with my faith.

FNM: I know you can’t reveal too much, but what can fans expect from Lady Antebellum?

HS: Oh my gosh! Well, we’re working on it now. As much as I would love to tease you with something, it’s honestly too early to tell. We’re just in all-out exploration mode right now. That’s the best way to describe where we are. We’re writing, recording some things, and pulling ourselves out of our comfort zones in terms of songwriting. We have a few more shows coming up and then the rest of the calendar for this year is locked off totally for writing and recording. Right now we’re just ready to get in the studio again. We’re are excited and it’s going to be fun! And that sounds really lame (laughs).

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