The unstoppable Lauren Alaina headlined this year’s Nashville Meets London free festival in Canary Wharf at the end of July, and the rain certainly didn’t dampen her spirits. She really is one of the nicest young women in country music, full of southern charm, self-depreciating, full of compliments and just an eager willingness to give her fans the time of their lives for their support. She is no stranger to hard work and perseverance and it is paying off as her career is reaching for the stars. Hot off the heels of tours this summer supporting Alan Jackson, Blake Shelton and Jason Aldean, Country Lowdown got to catch up with her backstage and talk about American Idol, new music, what’s on her current playlist and a dream collaboration with the multi-talented Shawn Mendes…
It’s fantastic to see you Lauren.
It’s been 3 years since C2C – I can’t believe it!
Yes, I know. I’m finally back!
You said you were going to come back so, thank you for visiting us again! Were you surprised when you came over initially to how the UK reacted to your music and country music in general?
Oh yeah. I’ve been surprised every show I feel like! We sold out quite a few of the shows and every room was full and they know all the songs, and you know, I haven’t been over here except for the one time so I didn’t realise! Ever since then the fans have been listening to the music, and buying the music and they know all of the songs. It’s been amazing. I was very pleasantly surprised.
So, I know a lot has happened in your life during those past three years but looking back at the Country to Country Festival, did you feel you had a stand out moment?
Oh, I think mostly just the overall realization that I have fans here! I left the UK feeling like, we HAVE to come back. It was like, life changing for me to realise that my music has reached all the way over here, and so we’ve been trying to plan this for so long but things really took off in the States and we were having a tour over there, so this was finally the time that made sense to come back.
You look like you’ve been having a whale of a time on this tour…
Oh I’ve been having lots of fun!…
…Fun experiencing the UK as well. Have you had any highlights from this UK tour that you can say, wow, that was fun?
Well there have been a few standout moments. I got to see castles which we don’t have in the States! I saw the Highland Cattle in Edinburgh. I think that’s how you say it, Ed-in-borough? (pronunciating loudly!) I’m Southern so good luck. Haha! I can’t even say the States in the United States right. Good luck trying to bring me to a new country and make me say I’m right! Umm, and then a couple of nights ago these little girls came on stage and sang with me and one of them was telling me she’s a songwriter, and she looks up to me and she sang me a song that she’s written in the signing after. So that was really special. I mean, there are lots of really big moments.
I remember watching American Idol when you were on and I might have forced my 2 young children to watch as well! We were all rooting for you. Is it as fun to do as it looks on TV?
It’s busy! I mean it’s mostly fun but it was A LOT of hard work, and being under 18 too! I was in high school as well, so I was going to school for most of the day and then rehearsing and then getting ready for the shows. So, it was like kind of a blur really – it was so busy but it was amazing, and it changed my life forever. So, I’m eternally grateful.
It was 2011 when you were on American Idol and it’s now 2019. What words of wisdom would 24-year-old Lauren tell younger Lauren back then?
Oh yeah. Don’t read about yourself and don’t Google yourself. That would be my number one rule. Do NOT Google yourself, oh and take more pictures. I would tell my younger self to take more pictures. Make a scrapbook.
So you haven’t got many documents of that time?
I mean I do, but I’d have to dig for them. I would say print them off and put them in, like a photo album, so that you can look back on it.
Good advice! Congratulations on the number of awards that you’ve won – your ACM Award (New Female Vocalist), Women in Music City Awards (Breakout Artist of the Year) and being named as ‘one to watch’ as a Woman of Country by CMT. It’s fantastic to see how your success has been building over the years. The Road Less Traveled is a superb sophomore album…
…And I didn’t realize you’d made a film of the same name. I need to see this!
Yes, you need to watch it! It was fun. We did that in the middle of touring, and we filmed the whole movie in a couple of weeks, so it was very fast. Also I fell in love with acting, so we’ll be doing more of that.
I was going to say that was my next question. Would you like to deviate to acting as a career or as an extra to your singing career?
The music will always be first, but I think we can do things along the way that can accompany the music.
So, tell me about your new music. ‘Ladies in the 90’s’ is just an incredible track, the lyrical content of the song is superb.
Why, thank you! So, the new album will be an extension of Road Less Traveled as a whole. I wrote Road Less Traveled when I was, like, 19/20 years old. I’ll be 25 in a few months so, I think the perspective may be a little bit older, but I’m still young you know! Just about the things I’ve been doing during the last few years. I’ve had a lot of really big changes and I’ve met a lot of really amazing, inspiring people along the way, so I’ll be telling their stories too, but it’ll be a very personal album. I write a lot of really personal things from about me and my friends.
You also write for lots of other people too, don’t you?
Yes I do, I do! I’ve written a few songs that have been kept by other artists which I’m really proud of. I wrote ‘Lost in the Middle of Nowhere’ for Kane Brown and Becky G and part of the song is in Spanish, so that was cool! I’m trying to learn the Spanish part so I can do it live.
Oh, it better be good! (Jokes!) Are you going to slip it in the gig tonight?
Haha! I’m working on it and no I haven’t learned it yet! Fingers crossed.
I absolutely love the new single with Chris Young (Town Ain’t Big Enough). Two incredible voices together – the single sounds amazing.
He’s one of my favourite voices in Nashville so that was fun to get to sing with him.
One of my favourites too. He has such a classic country voice.
He’s just so good!
So have you got any other dream collaborations that you’d like to duet with?
I’d love to do a duet with Jason Aldean because I love him and his wife. Like I’m obsessed with that and we’re really good friends. I’m a big Shawn Mendes fan, I’d love to do something with him. I think he’s young and so the production he always does is amazing and I really like what they what they do sonically. I think it would make sense because, even though he’s a pop artist there are a lot of roots to his music – you know, a lot of acoustic guitars and things that would blend really well with what country does.
Well, that’ll be a collaboration I’ll be looking forward to.
Well ok, we’ll see!
What’s on your playlist at the moment?
I’m obsessed with Morgan Wallen! He’s one of my best friends, but I think everything he does is really good. It’s VERY country. It’s like very, very, very country! I’m a big fan of Hardy. He’s another new artist. The new Florida Georgia Line album I just have had on repeat since the day it came out. I really love Thomas Rhett’s new album and everything that Maren Morris does.
Lauren, you are a beautiful, empowered and strong woman who is really inspiring to little girls and big girls everywhere! So given those qualities, what superhero would Lauren Alaina be?
Probably Wonder Woman because she’s like, super strong and she’s every bit as strong as the man and that doesn’t hold her back. She’s Wonder WOMAN – I like the woman in the title so I pick her!
Yes, It’s all about the girl power…
Yeah, girl power…and I like her outfit too – she looks like a boss!
For all the latest news about Lauren, her music and tours visit her website here. We’re looking forward to welcoming her back to the UK – hopefully for the annual Country to Country Festival at the O2 in March – a little birdie may have whispered something to me….