Written by Ceylan Kumbarji
It’s been eight years since Lauren Alaina was the runner up to Scotty McCreery on American Idol, at just seventeen years old. While the show was a great step for her and her career, it hasn’t been plain sailing the whole way. From a whirlwind debut album after the show, it took six years before her second record, ‘Road Less Traveled’, was released.
When Taylor Magazine sat down with Lauren, she reminisced about her trips to Nashville when she was still a young girl. “I recorded a little CD and I took a bunch of them to Music Row and I went there in my cowgirl hat, knocked on the doors and gave them my CDs. That didn’t work out,” she laughed. “Getting into the music industry was a lot of guessing and hoping for the best.”
We caught up with Lauren while she was in London, and discussed everything from writing songs about painful life experiences, what she wished she’d known on American Idol, and the album that changed her life.
“I just recently wrote a song about my stepdad who passed away in October and I cried the whole writing session. But then you get this really amazing song. The reward is worth the digging. Music heals, and that’s why I fell in love with it, that’s why everyone fell in love with it. If I can be a part of that, that’s amazing.” – Lauren Alaina
Taylor Magazine: How did you get into country music? Tell us a little bit about your journey.
Lauren Alaina: I grew up in Rossville, Georgia, where country music is definitely the most popular kind of music. I grew up listening to R&B and Pop, and all kinds of music, but country always felt the most true to me because of where I grew up . It talks about a lot of things that happen in Georgia. I started singing at three years old, and fell in love with music very early on. It was always my favourite thing to do, to sing and write songs. I don’t remember ever making a conscious decision to be a singer. It was just kind of always that way.
Getting into the music industry was a lot of guessing and hoping for the best. I started travelling to Nashville when I was 11/12. I recorded a little CD and I took a bunch of them to Music Row, and I went there in my cowgirl hat, knocked on the doors and gave them my CDs. That didn’t work out, but I ended up singing downtown. I sang with bands on Broadway and then I was on American Idol. That changed everything for me. I had to work really hard for five or six years to get actual success on radio. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it’s worth it.
Taylor Magazine: What’s your favourite part of what you do and what’s the most challenging part?
Lauren Alaina: Being on stage, or the meet and greets are my favourite parts. The most challenging is definitely being away from home so much and missing holidays and things. My nephews get twice as big every time I see them!
Taylor Magazine: What’s it like to be in the UK and to be performing here?
Lauren Alaina: The fans here are unlike any I’ve ever been in front of. They’re very excited, they know the music and it’s far away from home, so that’s always surprising to me. It feels like America, but older. I’m here for three weeks, and that’s a long time to be away – typically I’ll be gone for a week at most! We just played the Dixie Fields Festival, and I was really ready for this tour because the fans were amazing and knew all the words to ‘Ladies In The 90s’. They were screaming it so loud I let them take over a chorus!