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When the band Perry rode into Nashville unsigned and bearing its breakthrough song, "If I Die Young," most of the music executives they met with understood its smash potential -- even if no one was brash enough to correctly predict it would go triple-platinum. So why did the high-spirited sibling trio from Mobile, Ala., choose Scott Borchetta, head of the Big Machine label group? "It's his hair," says Neil Perry, 21. "He has hair like he could be in The Band Perry." There were other, less follicular factors, of course. "One night we were driving down Music Row after being in the studio," says Kimberly Perry, 28 (brother Reid is 23), "and the Big Machine lights were the only ones still on, with people working inside. That work ethic is huge because we like to think of ourselves as a blue-collar, hardworking country band." But a family band? And were they really going to keep that name? "People tend to look at [precedent] and say, 'What's wrong with this?'" says Borchetta, 49. "We try to look at what's right with this and what people could fall in love with. When we signed Taylor Swift, people said: 'You're signing a 15-year-old female country artist? Good luck!' "
Photographed by Amanda Friedman on Jan. 28 in the House of Blues Foundation Room at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas
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