“We had the honor and the pleasure to do ‘New Year’s Rockin’ Eve’ a couple of times,” the Sugarland vocalist tells Zap2it. “When you think of Dick Clark and all that he created, and the legacy that he built … I read a couple of articles on his passing, and a couple of his quotes really struck me, in that this man really knew himself.
“I’ll speak directly to one, although I’m paraphrasing him: ‘I know what I work in is fluff. It is feel-good stuff that may not be the most deep or cutting-edge.’ He did use the word ‘fluff’ in talking about some of the shows like ‘American Bandstand,’ the New Year’s specials, just a myriad of productions he was responsible for. I love that he knew himself in that way.”
Indeed, Nettles reasons, “There are times when we need stuff to feel good, and that’s OK. Everything doesn’t have to be the height of critical acclaim and push and provoke people, though that definitely is a function of art in my opinion. I like that he was able to celebrate the other side of that, too.”
In Thackerville, Okla., tonight (Thursday, April 19) and Friday with Sugarland-mate Kristian Bush for concerts on a new tour featuring a fan-chosen set list, Nettles is involved in another major project. Along with Lionel Richie — her “Hello” partner on his current No. 1 album, “Tuskegee” — Kelly Clarkson and Robin Thicke, she’s a mentor on ABC’s singing-competition series “Duets,” premiering Thursday, May 24.
Nettles believes Clark’s impact is “definitely” felt in the new show: “When you look at the legacy of music television, as in the Ed Sullivans and the variety shows that came through, Dick Clark had such a hand in forming the foundation. He was there at the forefront.
“He was in radio,” Nettles notes, “and when television started to take off, he said, ‘OK. I’m going to come over here. I see something going on.’ And when he did, he took his seat as a legendary creator of that kind of television.”