CC: Hi Lauren, my name is Sam and I’m the Editorial Director for completelycountry.co.uk. I’d just like to take the opportunity to thank you for talking with us today. We really appreciate it.
LA: Oh my gosh, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. I appreciate it.
CC: First of all I have to mention that I saw the Britney Spears video you posted yesterday which was amazing! How did that happen?
LA: Thank you! We’re goofy. We have to find ways of entertaining ourselves on the bus and so I taught them that choreography. We actually did that about two weeks ago and I finally thought I’m gonna post it.
CC: How long did it take to teach them the moves (Lauren’s band members), because I know most girls as young kids wanted to be Britney Spears but that was just spot on.
LA: Honestly, it only took about twenty minutes.
LA: I was very impressed by their skills.
CC: 2017 for you so far has seen an album release, your single in the top 5, an already completed tour and another over summer with Luke Bryan as well as an ACM nomination for Best New Female artist. I think it’s safe to say this is your year?
LA: Thank you, I’m pretty excited! I feel like I’ve been waiting for six years for it to catch on and oh my gosh I can’t even explain how excited I am. I am just freaking out.
CC: You’ve certainly worked hard for it and it’s about time everyone caught on and I’m glad they have.
LA: Thank you so much, me too.
CC: You released your debut album pretty quickly after American Idol, but as you said it’s been five years between that and the release of “Road Less Traveled” back in January. Was it nerve-wracking to release a full-length album that you had a hand in writing each track of after such a gap?
LA: Yes I was very nervous. I mean super thankful though that I got the opportunity to have a second album and to be able to tell my actual story but it was definitely scary. I was very nervous but I think it’s been received really well so that’s very exciting.
CC: Five years is a long time for anything, especially in the music industry. Were there ever moments when you thought ‘that’s it, the second album is not going to be released, I’ve worked hard and it may not see the light of day’? And what has it been like to hear such high praise for it?
LA: I thought that a million times. You know that’s a long time and the music industry typically moves between albums about every two years so five years is unheard of. To keep my record deal is so amazing and I’m so thankful for that but I think everything happens for a reason and the timing ended up being perfect because I went through so much that I needed that time to write this album. It’s so rewarding now to tell my own stories, kind of share where I’ve been and get to now hear how people are reacting, responding and receiving it.
CC: Absolutely, I know on social media people have been praising the album a lot so from following your career from “American Idol” to here it’s been really great to see.
LA: Thank you so much!
CC: You’ve been through a lot both personally and professionally, and “Road Less Traveled” is like listening to a diary at times. Was it difficult to write about your life in detail and was there any time where you were nervous to be so open about it with your music and to let people in, in such a vulnerable way?
LA: Yeah it’s definitely scary because they’re my stories and they’re super personal and I didn’t know how people would react to that but for me, it was super freeing because I needed to tell those stories. I needed to share who I really am. I felt that in my career so far, before this album, I didn’t get to share who I am because I was scared of who I am. I wasn’t honest about who I am and I was just kinda trying to be this perfect blonde girl who fit this perfect little mould and I just wasn’t being honest with the world about who I am.
I feel like in the last few years I’ve really come to terms with who I am, accepted who I am and learned to love who I am and my music helped me do that. Being honest with the music I found myself with this album, I’m so excited because I think we all have problems and we all have things going on in our lives that we don’t necessarily want to share with people, but I think when we do share those things with people they have a completely new connection with us and I’ve really felt that with this music – that I’m connecting with people in a brand new way.
CC: Are there any songs you struggle to perform to an audience because of the subject? And throughout the struggles how have you remained so sunny and positive?
LA: After Idol, I didn’t handle things very well. I had an eating disorder for a very long time because people commented on my weight and I was making my hair blonder because people commented on my hair, so I was making decisions based on what other people wanted for me and what I thought they needed from me. Then finally I woke up one day and I decided to get better, I overcame this eating disorder and I started talking to people and figuring out everyone has problems. We’re all flawed individuals who have insecurities and things about us we’d like to change, but that doesn’t make us less of a beautiful thing. We’re all really great, unique and beautiful in our own way. It took me a while to get to that point but now I feel really confident in who I am, I love who I am and I accept my flaws, and of course I still have insecurities that will never go away but I’m healthier about them and with that mindset other people don’t have control of my feelings anymore. People can hurt my feelings, people can upset me but they’re not going to upset me to the point I make a bad decision because of it because I’m in a better place and I think it all begins with us. We have to take care of ourselves and be in a good place then people don’t affect us as much as they would if we weren’t in a good place.
CC: Songs like “Road Less Traveled”, “Think Outside the Boy” and “Pretty” have important messages that people can really take something from. What’s it like to be considered a role model?
LA: It’s scary ‘cos I don’t want to let people down, I want to be someone they can look up to but you know what’s a great thing about it? It makes me want to be a better person, it makes me want to be someone that girls can look up to, that guys can look up to and that parents want their kids to look up to. I’ll never be perfect, I’m gonna make mistakes and I’m probably going to get criticised for those mistakes but I make it a conscious effort to be the best person I can be and because people consider me a role model it makes me be even better than if I weren’t one.
CC: A track on the album that has been getting a lot of attention lately is “Three” after your performance during CRS, which I think is a great anthem for fellow artists. It really shows the audience the sacrifices that artists go through in the beginning and throughout their career to live out their dreams. Would you change anything?
LA: No I wouldn’t, I think everything that’s gotten me to this point happened for a reason. I know it sounds cheesy but that’s so true, everything that happens to us makes us who we are and shapes us into the people we are. Would I like to go back and hug my sixteen-year-old self and tell her that six years from that moment she was going to have a song in the top five, that she was going to be touring with Martina McBride and Luke Bryan and have these crazy, amazing opportunities? I would like to tell her that just to make her cry a little less, but because my sixteen-year-old self cried so much I have the song “Pretty” and I have the song “Road Less Traveled”. Hard times, they’re hard but they teach you about yourself. So I’m not sure I’d change anything, I just might have given myself a hug.
CC: “Road Less Traveled” is your highest charting song to date, currently sitting at #5 and still climbing. That must feel pretty special after all the time and effort you’ve put in, what are you going to do to celebrate?
LA: Everyone keeps asking me and honestly I don’t know! I’m still in shock, I think we’re so close to going number one that I’m just kind of holding my breath at this point hoping for the best and if we don’t go all the way, we don’t go all the way and that will be fine. I’m so proud of five, I’m proud to be in the top five I just think I’m going to get all of the people I love in one big room and we’re going to celebrate. We’re going to have a good time and I’m going to get my family to come up from home and all of my friends to be there and it’ll be one big celebration.
LA: It was great, I loved that tour so much! Martina was so kind to me, she really spent time with me and the other openers that were on the tour as well. I really feel like she is such an amazing person and I’ve loved her since I was little, I sang Martina McBride on karaoke non-stop, obsessed! So to be able to tour with her and to watch her show every night then to see how much impact a woman can have if she works hard, she puts out good music and she stays focused, that was so great for me to see. I just loved it and she added me on Snapchat, I was very excited about that.
CC: A fun part of your show is when you pick a guy from the audience to come up on stage to dance during “Next Boyfriend”. You actually picked a friend of mine at one of your shows last week, it was quite surreal seeing a video of Tommy on Facebook up on stage with you.
LA: Oh my gosh, no way! Tommy, yes I remember him.
CC: How do you choose the lucky guy and have they all been co-operating or have any tried to make an escape out the back?
LA: Yeah I’ve had a couple that have made me a little uncomfortable, a little too handsy and have tried to grab me. I don’t like that but for the most part, it’s one of the fun parts of the show and is so hilarious. I typically get the one that looks like they might be a little bit embarrassed, if their friends are pointing at them I’ll pick them or sometimes if they volunteer. Every night is different but it’s so much fun and people get up there even if they aren’t great dancers, they end up being great because they just let loose and you can see throughout the song that people start loosening up and doing better.
CC: When you’re not touring, what do you love to do to bring yourself back to normality and be a normal twenty-two year old if that’s ever possible?
LA: Well I like to get my friends together at home, we have game night a lot. I like to play kid games, you know where you put headbands on, it has a card and you’ve got to guess what animal or object you are. That’s one of our favourites! We just sit around and hang out, I don’t get to see my people a lot so anytime I can get them all in one room together it makes my heart so happy.
CC: You did your first UK shows during C2C last year and there was such a positive reaction, particularly at the Sounds Like Nashville show where you played just before The Shires and time overran, but fans were very vocal they wanted you to carry on. Were you surprised by the response from fans here and what was your favourite part about coming to the UK?
LA: I was so shocked! I didn’t know if I had fans there or not and it’s kind of the fear of the unknown, I just didn’t know what to expect. I was so encouraged and we have consistently been trying to find the right time to come back. It’s been hard to make it happen because I’ve dropped the album then we’ve been super busy promoting that but we’re in the talks of figuring out when we can come back over there and we’re very excited.
CC: With your album and in interviews, you are pretty much an open book and are very honest. Is there anything fans would be surprised to know about you that they don’t already?
LA: Oh my goodness maybe, let me think. I love to read, is that surprising? I’m a book worm.
CC: It is surprising but only because I don’t know how you find the time.
LA: I usually read on the bus or on an aeroplane, that’s when I get my reading in when I’m flying or travelling.
CC: What kind of books?
LA: I like thriller/action books. I’m reading the “Jack Reacher” novels right now.
CC: If you like thrillers, I’d recommend “The Crucifix Killer” by Chris Carter, it’s pretty gruesome but it’s the kind of book you start and can’t put down.
LA: Oh that sounds something I’d love to read, I’ll check it out.
CC: Thank you again for taking the time to speak with us today, we do hope we get to see you over here soon. Have a great day!
LA: Thanks girl, great to talk to you.
Since our interview “Road Less Traveled” has moved up to #3 in the charts, moving Lauren closer to her first #1 single.
To keep up to date with Lauren, make sure you follow her on social media and don’t forget to check out our album review.