Lauren Daigle Talks About Her Life And Music

For an illustration of what’s happened with Lauren Daigle’s career over the past year or so, a conversation she had with family members shortly before starting her first arena headlining tour on Feb. 20 paints a picture.

“Last night I was sitting next to my mom on the sofa, and I said ‘Mama, I need to explain this to you. We went from one semi-truck and three tour buses to eight semi-trucks and seven tour buses in one jump,’” Daigle recalled in a phone interview as she was driving to Pensacola, Florida for the first date of the tour. “I was like ‘I’ve got to explain, like this is kind of blowing my mind a little bit.’ I’m in awe right now.”

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That’s what happens when an artist has an album like Daigle’s “Look Up Child,” that becomes a platinum-selling hit, produces a record-setting single (“You Say”), crosses over from the Christian market into mainstream pop and wins two Grammy Awards. In the space of a year, she’s gone from playing theaters to now headlining major arenas and bringing enough trucks and buses to carry a big stage production and a 12-piece band.

Daigle said she’s grown as a performer alongside the size of the venues she’s playing.

“I think when we started the theater shows, I was just so unsure of what it was all going to feel like, what it was going to be like,” she said. “By the time we finished (last year), we were playing in smaller arenas. So it was kind of this perfect bridge. It kind of segued from there to here really nicely. Also, I think just having those theater shows to kind of build my confidence and remind me of how to perform and be on stage again — because I had taken off of touring for about a good year and a half — I think I needed to get my feet wet a little bit. But once you’re back in it, you kind of feel like you’re right in the saddle.

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It’s been a rapid rise for Daigle, a 28-year-old native of Lafayette, Louisiana, who began to step toward music after overcoming a serious auto-immune condition as a teen-ager that kept her home bound for two years.

Hoping to break into the music business, she tried out for “American Idol,” first in 2010, where she just missed making the field of 24 finalists and then again in 2012, where she was cut in the first Las Vegas round.

Daigle didn’t have to wait that long for her break, though. After being asked to sing background vocals on an EP by a band called the Assemblie, both the group and Daigle were invited by Centricity Music to attend a workshop held by that Christian record label. She ended up filling in for the singer of the Assemblie (who suffered an attack of appendicitis) at the main event of the workshop and in 2013, was signed by Centricity.

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Things happened quickly from there. After the title song from her first release, the 2014 EP “How Can It Be,” caught on at radio, she returned to the studio to record more songs, expanding the EP into her full-length debut album, also called “How Can It Be.” Released in 2015, it debuted at No. 1 on “Billboard” magazine’s Christian Albums chart, spawning three No. 1 Christian singles, the title song, “First” and “Trust In You.”

The acclaim and her meteoric rise to stardom was a lot for Lauren Daigle to absorb, and she admits she felt pressure as she began working toward “Look Up Child.”

“It’s funny because you never really know going into something what the other side is going to look like,” she said. “Seeing what’s on the other side is really, it’s a big question mark, the big (mystery), and it’s exhilarating, and it also comes with a lot of expectations. It can come with fear of the unknown. Those were some of the things I was battling as I saw things changing in my life.”

So she decided she needed a break to figure out who she was and what experiences and stories should inform her second album.

“I went home, back to Louisiana and just kind of stepped away from music,” Lauren Daigle said. “I didn’t want to write from a place of burnout. So I ended up going home, got refueled and then that’s when I knew OK, it’s time to do this again.”

A main step was to re-connect with her main collaborators from the first album, songwriter/producers Paul Mabury and Jason Ingram, and as they wrote and began recording the “Look Up Child” album took shape.

In recording the songs, Daigle moved away from the synthetic elements employed on her first album, opting to use real instruments, incorporating real strings or horns into several songs to help create a more organic setting for her rich, soulful vocals and inspirational lyrics. Much of the “Look Up Child” album is weighted toward ballads, such as “Rescue,” “This Girl” and “Love Like This” that swell to lush string-laden crescendos, although there is also a punchy rocker in “Still Rolling Stones” and a sprightly “Your Wings,” which has a reggae-ish cadence.

The new sound has connected – and then some. “You Say,” the rich ballad that was the lead single from “Look Up Child,” topped “Billboard’s” Hot Christian Songs charts for a record-setting 66 weeks and went double platinum, while the follow-up single, “Rescue,” reached No 2 on the Hot Christian Songs chart.  Meanwhile, the album “Look Up Child” debuted at No. 1 on the magazine’s Christian Albums chart and No. 3 on “Billboard’s” all-genre Top 200 album chart. Both “You Say” and the “Look Up Child” album won 2019 Grammys, for Best Contemporary Christian Music Performing/Song and Best Contemporary Christian Music Album respectively.

In the process, Lauren Daigle has seen her music cross over to the mainstream, a development that Daigle welcomes and has pursued, but one that has also created considerable scrutiny within Christian music circles. Some Christian music fans have criticized Daigle when she hasn’t talked about her faith or God in interviews, and she’s especially come under fire for appearing on “Ellen” (the show hosted by the openly gay Ellen DeGeneres) and for declining to pass judgement on whether homosexuality is a sin.

As she moves forward, Daigle will have to figure out how to create songs that won’t turn off the mainstream by being too overtly Christian, while retaining enough of a Christian message to appeal to Christian music fans. She said she plans to navigate this tricky path simply by being herself.

“I think the main thing is I had to give up the fact that I was going to be able to please everybody,” Daigle said. “Within that, it’s actually beautiful because you find authentically what it is you care about. In that regard, you’re not trying to please everyone. You’re just trying to create something that’s real and true to who you are. So for me, it’s not about meeting a format as much as it is keeping the goal in mind of remaining authentic, remaining true to what it is that I believe and the experiences I’ve lived out, and how do I transcribe that into lyrics, how do I put that into the (feel) of the melody. Those are the ways I think that I’m going to continue forward versus letting the head game of a genre or the attention of a people group lead the way.”

Lauren will be playing the Legacy Arena at the BJCC  in Birmingham, Alabama March 20, 2020. For Tour and Ticket Information Click Here: https://laurendaigle.com/tour/

For More Great Artist Interviews Click Here: https://theplanetweekly.com/category/music/

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