Lauren Alaina's first album a 'make or break' debut
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Lauren Alaina is growing up quickly.
The 16-year-old “American Idol” runner-up has spent the past four months since the show’s season finale performing in arenas across the country, doing interviews, music video and photo shoots, and recording her debut album, “Wildflower,” released last week.
The former high school cheerleader is hoping the effort will help solidify her in the country music world, because she realizes the stakes are high.
“I feel like this first album is kind of make-it-or-break-it for me, because I just got off national television. So people know who I am, but they don’t know who I am as an artist,” said Lauren in a recent interview. “I just feel like this album is my way of kind of putting myself out there and showing them exactly who I am.”
Billboard’s associate director of charts, Keith Caulfield, believes Lauren is off to a good start. Her first single, “Like My Mother Does,” is in the top 40.
“Even though she has `Idol’ as this great platform to launch her, she’s still a developing artist. You usually don’t see `Idol’ winners with their first single on the country charts fly to No. 1,” he said.
“I think both her and (winner) Scotty (McCreery) are both in a really good position right now, because they’re both young and they’re both singing country music,” he added, noting that the success of Taylor Swift has opened doors for young performers in the genre.
The 12 songs Lauren chose for “Wildflower” reveal experiences she’s gone through or stories she relates to on a personal level. She co-wrote one track, called “Funny Thing About Love,” with Nashville songwriting talents Luke Laird and Brett James.
“I guess when people hear the songs, they’re going to know if I’ve had my heart broken or if I’ve had my first love or all that kind of stuff,” she said. “I just think it’s cool that I can share that with all of (my fans) the way that Carrie Underwood or Miranda Lambert or someone would.”
Lauren cut a song Underwood co-wrote, called “Eighteen Inches.” As a former “American Idol” winner, Underwood has provided meaningful support to Lauren. The two exchanged phone numbers, and Lauren asks her for advice when she gets upset. Recently, the Georgia native was feeling particularly homesick and reached out to Underwood.
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