EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Lawson Bates and Emily Ann Roberts Talk Recording A Duet Together

Photo by Isabel Baldinger
Photo by Isabel Baldinger

Earlier this week, Celeb Secrets Country had the opportunity to interview Lawson Bates from Bringing Up Bates and Emily Ann Roberts, who was a contestant on season nine of NBC’s The Voice, about a duet that the two were recording at Castle Recording Studios in Franklin, Tennessee, right outside of Nashville.

Bates is currently in the process of working on a new album, and he told us that while he was recording, he decided that he wanted to close his album with a hymn. Originally, Bates had planned on singing the song by himself, but after he discovered Roberts’ voice, he asked if she would do a duet with him on the album, and the rest is history!

The two singers also talked about what it was like recording a duet together, what they like to do in their spare time and how they stay grounded while in the spotlight, so make sure to check out our exclusive Q&A below.

You can listen to one of Bates’ songs here and you can listen to Roberts’ music here!

Photo by Isabel Baldinger
Photo by Isabel Baldinger

Celeb Secrets Country: How did you guys find each other?

Emily Ann Roberts: “It’s a crazy story.”

Lawson Bates: “We don’t have a TV in our house, even though we have a TV show, some people think it’s funny, but for one, we’d never get anything done if you have 19 kids and parents all trying to DVR or watch your favorite show. Imagine how crazy that would be. So we don’t have a TV, but my sister-in-law told me that there’s this girl from Knoxville singing on The Voice and I said that’s cool. They showed me some of her performances. I was going to Dollywood and I’m on my way there and one of my siblings says that Emily will be performing there. I knew Emily liked bluegrass and gospel and so I said I’ll stop by there and I can give her my CD, which is traditional country with bluegrass sounds and gospel. I didn’t see her and that was that. A lot of people came up who where fans of the show and so some of them were her good friends.”

Emily Ann Roberts: “My friends came up to me and told me Lawson Bates was here and wanted to give me his CD, so my friend set it up where they were messaging on Twitter to have us meet up.”

Lawson Bates: “I felt a cool thing for me to do would be to close the album with a hymn. Originally, it was going to be just me, but when I heard “In the Garden” that Emily sang on The Voice, I texted her and asked her if she wanted to do a hymn with me on the album. I was surprised when she said she would.”

Celeb Secrets Country: What is the power of a duet that is stronger than just one person?

Emily Ann Roberts: “I love singing with people. I’ve been in choir my whole life. Anytime that I get to work with other people, I think that it brings out something in me that wasn’t there before. It inspires me to do stuff that I wouldn’t have done before and I learn a lot.”

Lawson Bates: “I’m the same way. It forces me to step up my game, which is a good thing, and play off of the other person. It changes the mood of the person.”

Celeb Secrets Country: Lawson, do you write all your songs by yourself?

Lawson Bates: “I used to write all my own songs by myself and I was scared to let anybody hear my work until it was perfect. I started writing with a bunch of amazing writers here in Nashville this year and I think that opened up so many more opportunities and took me out of a box. It took me out of a rut. It helped me become more confident with who I am as an artist.”

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Celeb Secrets Country: What is it like being away from home?

Emily Ann Roberts: “I don’t feel that far away from home right now compared to when I was in LA. That was hard. Nashville is so close. Tennessee, I still feel like I’m at home.”

Lawson Bates: “I love Nashville. You meet so many new people and it’s a cool town, but being away from home is a big deal because I have 18 siblings and you’re leaving a lot of fun and a lot of good times. Being by myself is odd and kind of lonely at some times.”

Celeb Secrets Country: What else do you guys do on your spare time?

Emily Ann Roberts: “I’ve always done music because I’m horrible at sports. When I was in LA, I started watching Cupcake Wars on Netflix and now I’m obsessed with making cupcakes.”

Lawson Bates: “I love sports. I love anything competitive, so I’m not great at it always, but I love playing sports. I just got back from a basketball camp. I love horse-riding. We’ll ride right down the main street to McDonalds.”

Celeb Secrets Country: Lawson, how did you start with your TV series?

Lawson Bates: “We started simply because people thought we were a huge family. We did a mini-series with TLC. My parents were very weary of television because when you open yourself up to someone, I don’t care what you say, a percentage will hate and a percentage will love you. It’s hard to do because this isn’t an experiment. This is our family. This is our life. It’s not just one little piece of us. We’re showing everything we do. I think the thing that really kept them open is after we do a piece there would be so much response and people will say our faith inspired them and changed their life positively from what they saw on the show. UP is uplifting family TV, which fits us perfectly, and shows everyone who we are. It’s a positive experience. It’s crazy, but fun. One thing is when we first started doing it we didn’t want it to be ‘because we have a television show, lets all load up and go to Asia’ and do something that would not be normal for us to do without the show. We’re homeschooled. We get so many opportunities and because of that our family is so close.”

Celeb Secrets Country: How do you stay grounded?

Lawson Bates: “People recognize you and my parents say two things can happen — you can let all of the negative people affect you or all the positive people think you are something special. The number one thing I do is that the minute I think something is about me, I’m in trouble. If you let if affect you, it will destroy you. You can become somebody that you don’t want to be.”

Emily Ann Roberts: “My family and church family and friends and boyfriend help keep me grounded. I’m still connected with those people and I still talk to them, so I stay grounded and don’t get lost in all of this. This is my job, but it’s not my life.”

Celeb Secrets Country: Since we are Celeb Secrets Country, what are some secrets that you can share with our readers?

Lawson Bates: “Emily has a thing about recording with no shoes. I have a horse that I absolutely love.”

Written by Isabel Baldinger

Isabel is an intern for Celeb Secrets Country. Originally from New Jersey, she is currently living the dream in Nashville while getting her degree in Music Business from Belmont University. If she is not in class or interviewing artists, she is at a concert, at Title Boxing, hanging out with friends, traveling, lounging around at Tin Roof, or eating tacos.