Charles Kelley Sees the World Through Son Ward's Eyes

Charles Kelley has spent more than a decade touring the world as part of Lady Antebellum, but it wasn't until he had his son, Ward, now two-and-a-half, when he began to realize how fortunate he was to be able to open up his child's eyes to life outside of their current hometown in Nashville, Tennessee.

“He’s got such a unique situation to be able to see the world that most kids don’t have,” Kelley tells PEOPLE. “I want him to grow up knowing how privileged he is and to not take it for granted. We’ve brought him along and really wanted him to be a part of our lives — not just this kid that you see every once in a blue moon. I want him to be proud of what I’m doing and hope I’m a good example for him.”

Kelley travels as much as possible with his wife, Cassie and son, as much for himself as for Ward. After the couple struggled to conceive, Kelley wants to embrace every moment with his child.

Charles-Kelley
(Photo: Instagram/charleskelley)

“It really did feel like kind of a miracle. And I don’t want to miss a thing," Kelley says. “My wife and I have such a strong relationship that it’s just so much better when they’re out with me. Having them with me is so cozy. I also don’t want Ward to grow up [and] be like, ‘I never got to see my dad — he was always traveling.'”

The singer-songwriter grew up in Augusta, Ga., and never had the desire to see much beyond his hometown, until he formed Lady A with Dave Haywood and Hillary Scott. Suddenly, the world became much bigger to him, and he wanted to see as much as he could.

“I had never really seen the world until Lady Antebellum,” admits Kelley. “You can have pride in your country, but when you get to go and travel and see all these different places, it’s so eye-opening. There’s so many different ways of living.”

Now that Kelley has seen so much, he wants Ward to experience more of it with him.

“I thought, ‘Buddy, you’ve seen more in two and a half years than I ever saw in my 24 years of existence until this band,'” Kelley says. “I still love the South, I love Georgia, but there’s just so much beauty in the world.”

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Lady Antebellum are currently on their co-headlining Summer Plays On Tour with Darius Rucker, and Russell Dickerson serving as the opening act. Find dates at LadyAntebellum.com.

Photo Credit: Getty images/Ethan Miller