Lauren Lizabeth has music in her soul. The Nashville-based artist has been singing, dancing and acting from a young age including her first professional acting job, with Theatre By The Sea, in Southern Rhode Island. In early 2011, Lauren was introduced to producer-songwriter, Shay Watson and the two began working together on a total of three EPs, including 2016's To Be Young. The singer-songwriter kindly called in to talk about her roots, the EP and the exciting things ahead.
Earlier this year, you released your third EP, but when did you begin singing and pursuing music full-time?
I have been singing my entire life, pretty much since I could talk. I started in musical theatre and majored in theatre in college, but I always had another side to me where I wanted not to be in character, but to be myself and my own artist.
Since you were involved in theatre, when and why did you gravitate to country music?
I started listening to country music when I was twelve or thirteen when my brother started playing it on the radio in the car. Then I started to sing it, and it just felt like me. I simultaneously pursued both theatre and music in college but knew that ultimately country music was what I wanted to do. I recorded all three of my EPs in Nashville, but this third one has been the one that changed the game for me. I co-wrote all of the songs and really found my voice and songwriting style.
This was the first time you did any writing. Did you find that you enjoyed the process?
People told me that if I wanted to be taken seriously and be successful that I needed to start to write my own material - to tell my story and let people know who I am. At first, I didn't think I could write and didn’t know where to start, but I spoke with my manager, who is a very seasoned songwriter, and he broke it down for me. I took what he told me seriously, sat down, tried applying it and the songs flowed out of me. For someone who said I couldn’t do it, I did it and then some. I’m so proud of that fact and of this EP.
To Be Young was released earlier this year on Nine North Records. The title track has gotten substantial airplay across the country and landed on Billboard’s country chart for five-plus weeks now. Are there plans for a follow-up single?
"To Be Young" has been the single since February and it has done well. We’re about to release a Christmas single and then another single from the EP, “Light A Match,” in early 2017. The first song I wrote after my first heartbreak was "Light A Match." I knew I needed to write about it, so I sat down with the guitar - and just cried for a couple minutes. Then I stopped crying and the song poured out of me. “Light A Match” is my baby because it’s one of the first songs I ever wrote; I feel so connected to that song and every time I sing it I feel closure twenty times over. But when I sing the song now, I think of it differently than when I wrote it. I don’t think about him per se, but more about my feelings toward the relationship, what has happened since then and how far I have come. I look back and see I graduated college, found love again, and am seeing my dreams coming true. I love how over the years songs change and take on a new meaning - it’s a cool thing about songwriting.
In fact, this is something I love telling people because they don't always notice it when they listen, but the EP chronicles the progression of the break-up, which I didn’t even mean to happen. As I was healing, the songs were healing me and to have it happen in that way is really, really special to me. There’s a song “Beginning of the End” which everyone thinks is a sad song, but the best part about that song is I’m saying that even though I’m not completely healed, I’m not sad about it anymore. It’s the beginning of the end of the pain and I’m moving on.
Knowing that, I’ll have to go back and re-listen to the album.
Why did you choose to title the album To Be Young?
I chose that title because I was young and living in the moment with so much ahead of me. I knew I had experienced my first heartbreak, but I also knew it wouldn’t be my last.
Do you have any plans to support the album or single?
Right now, I’m on my first radio tour for “To Be Young.” It’s been such a blast getting to meet and talk with people in radio who support the music; everyone has been so welcoming. We’re also in the process of picking dates for a full band tour in 2017 and I'm hoping to schedule more songwriter's nights.
I cannot believe I have only been in Nashville for three months and all of this is happening - I'm so humbled and thankful. I don’t take anything for granted. I'm on a great path and hope it continues that way.
Sounds like things are moving in the right direction.
Finally, I always like to know if there is one recent release you cannot stop listening to and would recommend others check out?
I’m really digging Sons of the East, they’re soulful folky, but with more of an Avicii/ZBB feel. I also really like Clare Dunn’s “Tuxedo,” and Billy Currington’s “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To” – that’s my number one jam right now.
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Purchase To Be Young here