Nashville based Lauren is already building up quite a fan base throughout Europe, and we are fortunate that she has made to two trips across the pond this year to promote her debut album “No Saint” released on the Big Machine Label Group. Her C2C sets in March were so well received that she lost no time in booking more dates over here and has recently completed a tour which included playing a set at The Long Road Festival as well a sold out headline show in London. Named as an “Artist to Watch” by the likes of Rolling Stone and Billboard, as well as being included in Bobby Bones “Class of 2019” the future looks very bright for this determined, hardworking and talented Texan born artist.
I caught up with Lauren after she’d returned home and had time to catch breath to ask her a few questions… enjoy!
1. LH Hey Lauren, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions! To set the scene and paint a picture ( as any great country music song does!) could you start by telling me where you are as you are typing your replies please?
LJ Hey Lesley! It’s a beautiful rainy morning in Nashville and it’s finally started to cool down. I’m writing to you from my music room. The windows are open and you can feel the chill in the air. I’m drinking French pressed coffee and listening to The War On Drugs.
2. LH Your backstory is definitely one of courage and determination which I love! You started truly pursuing your creative career aged just fifteen I gather… homeschooling yourself, playing gigs in bars when you weren’t even legally old enough… has this mindset stood you in good stead over the years and made you better equipped to face the challenges the notoriously tough music business has thrown at you?
LJ Yes, I have broken a few rules (which is only sometimes recommended). I think whenever you’re setting out to do something you have to be determined. There will be a million road blocks on the journey, so you have to figure out a way to keep going. For me, creativity and storytelling has always been the only thing I’ve wanted to pursue. So really, I’ve had no choice but to keep going.
3.LH Music was just one career you were interested in pursuing wasn’t it? You are also a keen film maker and studied acting in NYC… has choosing the country music path enabled you to combine your passions?
LJ There have been times when I’ve been asked “well, are you a singer or an actor?” To me, all of my passions fall under one category: Storytelling. The approach is different across other mediums, but the heart of storytelling is at the core. I got really lucky when making my short film ‘Running Out Of Road’ to get to combine multiple passions in one piece. It was magical to get to combine singing, writing, music, performing, acting, and filmmaking all on one project. It’s something I’m interested in doing in the future.
4. LH Which artists were you listening to while growing up who inspired you to start playing and writing? I love the mix of covers you included in your recent headline show in London… Springsteen, Fleetwood Mac and Robert Palmer, wow! Some of my favourites too!!
LJ I’m so glad you were at the London show! That was one of the best shows of my life! My favorite artists (unsurprisingly) are storytellers. Growing up I was listening to a mix of genres. Bruce Springsteen, Patty Griffin, Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, and Johnny Cash were on repeat.
5. LH You moved to Nashville in 2013, did you know anyone there and did you find the singer/songwriter community to be supportive of the new girl in town?
LJ When I first moved to town I didn’t know anyone except for one producer I was working with at the time. For the first year or so I was pretty isolated. It took a while for me to get plugged into the songwriting community. Now that I have, I’ve met some wonderful and talented people. But I still have a long list of people that I’d like to work with (even after being here for years).
6. LH It’s known to be a city where co-writing is very much the “norm”… had you done much of that before?
LJ I started making to trips to Nashville when I was about 19 to write and record an EP with a producer in town and that was my first ever experience co-writing. Prior to that I just wrote by myself in my car or on my bedroom floor.
7.LH How do you think you have developed as an artist since relocating to music city?
LJ Because there are so many talented people here, it’s pushed me to become a better songwriter, singer, and performer. I’ve grown and changed a lot since moving to Nashville, which is all reliant upon experience and time.
8. LH Your recent album release “No Saint” is full of such emotion both in your writing and your incredible vocals. But possibly the MOST emotional is it’s closer, “Blood” . I’m assuming that’s one of your most personal writes… can you indulge me and tell me how this one came to be please? And how have fans reacted to it?
LJ I appreciate you listening to it! Yeah, “Blood” is the one song that I don’t play live often. I wrote Blood for my sister, who was going through a tough time. I wanted her to know that not only do we share the same blood, but that she wasn’t alone in struggling through life. Writing her a song was the only way I knew how to help. I’ve had fans tell me very personal stories of their parents or siblings or friends and how they relate to the song, which is really powerful.
LH Well I feel honoured that you chose to sing it to us in London then!
9. LH Do you have a favourite from the album to perform live?
LJ It changes gig to gig. But, I will say London took my breath away when EVERYONE started singing “No Saint” back to me. That’s never happened before.
10.LH You have definitely made a fantastic impact in the UK and on mainland Europe, audiences not only singing along but queuing to meet you after your shows. How does that make you feel?
LJ Honestly, thinking about how welcoming everyone has been in Europe and the UK makes me emotional. This last tour was my most meaningful tour thus far. Especially because I was going through some things personally, but everyone showed up and had love and understanding. If I could come back every month to tour I would.
(Lauren had just lost her very close friend and fellow Texan country artist Kylie Ray Harris in a fatal car crash. Somehow she managed to carry on with the tour, and opened her London show with an exquisite but naturally very emotions performance of Kylie’s song to the young daughter she left behind, “Twenty Years from Now”).
11.LH And you hand picked the incredible Laura Oakes as your opener in London just now… women supporting women is (thankfully!) becoming quite a “thing” lately isn’t it (Miranda Lambert’s current tour is a case in point). It’s tough out there for you right now, isn’t it?
LH Laura was fantastic! Yes, I was given a list of people to chose from and honestly I just listened to the music and picked the best. It was a bonus that it was a woman. I’m a firm believer that you have to be GOOD to get the gig, but I try to surround myself with talented women that are good at what they do. I think no matter your gender this is a tough business, but I do think that the odds are unfairly stacked against women across the board.
12. LH Finally, what does the rest of 2019 and 2020 hold for you… and how likely are you to visit us here in the UK with your band at some point in the future?
LJ Right now I’m writing for my second record and recording. I’ve got new videos coming out to share with you. And as far as coming back over? Well there’s a rumor that I might be back in January/February…
So much for all your fans everywhere to look forwards too then! Exciting times ahead for sure!
Thanks again for your time.
Keep up to date with Lauren at laurenjenkins.com where you can find links to all her socials.
“No Saint” is available to download and stream wherever you normally access your music.
Interview conducted by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)