Lauren Alaina Performs at Sessions, Talks Life Post-‘Idol’
'American Idol' Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina has had quite a year! By 17, the self-proclaimed "Georgia peach" has become a household name with her run on one the biggest reality competition shows on TV, and toured across the country with her fellow 'Idols' all summer. Lauren made her Grand Ole Opry debut back in June and released her debut solo album 'Wildflower,' which peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Top County Albums chart and No. 5 on the Billboard 200. All this before the lovely lady took her driver's license exam!
To round out her whirlwind year, Lauren hit The Boot's New York studio to give an exclusive live Sessions performance of her new 'Wildflower' tracks. In between belting out tunes, the singing sensation posed for our cameras in an exclusive photo shoot and sat down for a Q&A session. Lauren gave us the details on the unexpected "friends" her newfound fame has attracted, how the spotlight is forcing her to grow up faster than she expected and why she thinks "boys are dumb!" Check out the exclusive video interview, photos and Sessions performance below!
What has been the most memorable experience through your rapid rise to fame?
Probably performing at the Grand Ole Opry, just because my dad grew up playing the banjo and he always wanted to play at the Opry and never got the chance. So when I started singing, he raised me telling me that I was going to be able to sing there one day. And my dad doesn't really get to come to a lot of my shows, because he has to stay home and work and pay the bills and stuff, and my mom is out with me. So this was one show he got to come to, and when I got off stage he was bawling. To see your dad cry is different than to see your mom cry, you know? It was one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me.
Watch Lauren Alaina's Sessions Interview
How are you adjusting to fame? What do you miss most about your pre-'American Idol' life?
The hardest part of everything that I do is not seeing my friends and family, because you take advantage of how much you really have access to the people that you love the most, and then when you're gone and you're all the way across the United States and you can't see them, you realize how much you really care about those people. When I get to go home and see them, it's like the best day ever. It's like a little kid in a candy shop. I'm running from one house to the next just to see my family. I usually don't even rest when I'm at home, because I go to see them ... it's just really hard to be away from them all the time.
You made a joke earlier about people in the industry treating you like an adult now that you have a huge career going for yourself, despite the fact that you're still a teenager. Do you feel like you're being pushed to grow up too fast?
People have always told me that I'm beyond my years or something -- whatever that means. I still don't quite understand it, but I guess that you have to be that way to be in this business. And when I get to go home and I'm around my friends again, I act like a teenager again. But when I'm gone, I can't really think like a teenager and I can't really make decisions like one, which is fine. I mean, it sounds like I'm pitiful, but it's OK because I get to go home and I get to hang out with kids. I don't think that I'm being forced to grow up too fast or anything. I would rather people treat me like an adult and me have to work extra hard at making the best decisions, than them treating me like a little kid and not letting me do anything.
How have your old friends and classmates changed towards you since you've become famous?
My closest friends haven't changed at all, but people who didn't really like me, like me now! [laughs] That's the weirdest thing. People that I would never talk to, who clearly did not like me, act like we were best friends before. And I just don't like fake people! It just drives me crazy, but I don't say anything.
Do you have a lot of potential boyfriends knocking on you door now?
It's so weird, the guys that liked me before don't really talk around me anymore. They're so embarrassed and shy. And then the ones that weren't interested at all are like, "What's up?" I don't know, it's just ... guys are dumb!
What is the most important thing that you've learned about yourself after all you've been through over the past year?
I learned that I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was. I've been through so much with 'American Idol' and moving at such a fast pace. Before this, I was a huge procrastinator and I did everything at the last minute. And now, I've realized that I can do things [laughs] the right way and when I'm supposed to, because actually, I have no choice now!
What has it been like being away from all your 'Idol' buddies since the show and tour ended and you started your solo career?
It's weird because when I left home to go on 'American Idol,' I was bummed out after a while because I was away from my friends and family. And now, the people that were on 'American Idol' are like a different group of my friends and family, so I miss them everyday. It's weird when I wake up and they're not across the bunk on the bus. It just it takes some getting used to, and in this business you move around so much that you just sort of have to get used to saying "see you later" a lot and know you're going to see them again. I know that I'm going to see all those people again, it's just, I'm not guaranteed when. But I definitely miss them!
Dose being on the road all the time make it hard for you to date?
What do you think?! [laughs] I don't really have time for a guy in my life right now ... I have this one guy that I'm kind of interested in, but he's been like my best friend since I was 11, so it's weird that I like him now! But he understands that I can't really have a relationship right now. I'm moving states more than I'm staying in one place, so I'm at the point in my life where I don't need any distractions. I've got my first album out and I've got a lot going for me right now, and a guy would just get in the way. I know that sounds horrible, but he would!
Which one of the songs on your new album do you most relate to at the moment?
I relate to each of the songs on my album in a different way, because when I was picking them I'd try to pick songs that I would mean the words when I sang them. 'The Middle' right now is reaching out to me the most, just because it talks about how fast things go by and you look up and "the future is the past." And that's the coolest line from the song, because it's so true. You go to sleep one night and you wake up and it's like a year later! Literally, the last year of my life went by so fast I can't even ... I have to look at pictures to remember half the stuff that happened!
What were you doing this time last year?
I was cheering at my high school, working at CiCi's Pizza and going to school everyday. And now I don't go to school anymore. I do it online and I work everyday. [laughs] It's so funny, this morning when my friend texted me I said, "What are you doing?" And he said, "Oh, I'm just getting ready for school, what are you doing?" And I said, "I'm getting ready for work." And he's the same age as me and he's going to school and I'm going to work! It's so weird.
You co-wrote 'Funny Thing About Love' on your album. What was the songwriting experience like for you?
I've been writing since I was about 9 years old. It's something that I really enjoy doing in my free time when I feel like I have nothing else to do. I'm a busy body, so I have to find something to do and writing is my thing. Being able to write with Brett James and Luke Laird on my first album was incredible. I was afraid that I wasn't going to get the time, because I was so busy, but I had an off day and they flew out to L.A. when we were doing tour rehearsals. That was really awesome. We wrote two songs and one of them made the album and the other didn't. But it's funny because then we wrote 'Funny Thing About Love' over Skype! We wrote the first one in L.A. and we started on the melody for 'Funny Thing' but we ran out of time. So two days later, we wrote it over Skype!
Watch Lauren Alaina Perform 'Like My Mother Does' at Sessions