Story Behind the Song: Lauren Alaina, ‘Road Less Traveled’
Lauren Alaina earned her very first No. 1 hit with "Road Less Traveled," the title track of her sophomore album. Written by Alaina, along with Jesse Frasure and Meghan Trainor, the song became Alaina's personal anthem while she was battling an eating disorder, and her call to action for others with similar struggles.
With lines such as "Why do you keep on staring / That mirror, mirror, it ain't fair at all / Dress sizes can't define, don't let the world decide what's beautiful," "Road Less Traveled" finds Alaina putting a positive spin on a serious struggle. Below, Alaina and Frasure recall to The Boot and other reporters the day they wrote "Road Less Traveled."
Lauren Alaina: I’ve been pretty vocal about my eating disorder. I don’t even know, the day we wrote the song, if we really went in detail. Meghan is one of my really good friends, and she knew I was going through that; I’m sure we kind of talked about it, but we didn’t sit there and cry about it.
I was in this weird mood: I had some people in my life at the time that weren’t super encouraging, and I wanted to write a song and tell them that I didn’t care about that. It was Jesse’s idea. It was cool for me to get to tell that story in an empowering way; it’s a serious topic, but we wrote it in a super-fun way.
Jesse makes these ridiculous tracks that no one else in the entire world is capable of making, and [he] just brought the song to life. Meghan is super passionate about that topic as well; it’s just a really good fit. We knew that day that it was a special song: We were dancing and being weirdos and celebrating it, and just being ourselves, basically.
But it is scary, because we wrote that song about something that’s serious, so people will come up to me, and they’ll say, "I have an eating disorder, and I’m looking to get help," or, "I have had an eating disorder," or moms will tell me that their daughters are struggling with it. It’s a scary thing: Because I talked about something that was hard for me to get through, now people will share that with me.
At first I was really scared and didn’t know what to say, but it makes me really proud that I spoke out now, because there are way more people than I thought going through that. I though I was super alone when I was dealing with that, and that’s not the case.
Jesse Frasure: When we first started writing together, it was a time [when] I didn’t have any cuts … It was a time where there weren’t many females on country radio. And the writing community was frustrated with that, in the sense that it kind of felt like it was a travesty. We had all this talent: Someone like Lauren, who had this crazy range -- you get her on a microphone, [and] she has a perfect pocket -- extreme range; she can out-sing most signers in any genre. So it makes it easy to stay the course, when it’s easy in the room.
Everyone was sort of going, "Look, we have to keep fighting for females on country radio, or this is not going to ever happen." And a lot of it was, people in her corner … were huge advocates for "Please keep trying. We’re trying to figure this out." And you could see her starting to figure out who she was and what the sound was. I think that’s important for a young artist, to not just sing great songs but [to think about] "What is the point I’m trying to get across? What is the message?"
I think it’s interesting, looking back now and seeing Meghan and Lauren turn into these amazing and independent women that were just sort of figuring things out at the time.
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