Lauren Alaina: Making the right moves

by Sue Guynn. 0 Comments

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Lauren Alaina is on the move.

The Georgia native was just 15 when she captured America’s hearts on “American Idol” Season 10. More than 122 million votes were made for the final two contestants of Alaina and winner Scotty McCreery. Since then, Alaina, now 18, has been on the move.

She’s currently in the song selection stage of her sophomore album. “I’ve probably written more than 50 songs for it,” she said Sept. 4 in a phone interview from Nashville. “And I have people that submitted songs, so we’re still sorting through them.”

Alaina will be in Frederick Saturday, Sept. 14, to perform on the Second Street Stage, presented by WFRE, at In The Street. She takes the stage at 3 p.m. The Stickers, from Pittsburgh, Pa., will perform at 12:30 p.m.

Her debut album, “Wildflower,” debuted at No. 1 on the iTunes Country chart and No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart in 2011, and was the best-selling digital album by a debut country female. She was also the youngest female to have her album debut that high since LeAnn Rimes, 15 years prior.

For that album, Alaina co-wrote one song, “Funny Thing About Love,” with Luke Laird and Brett James. The first single, “Like My Mother Does,” debuted on “Idol.” Between the “Idol” tour and other appearances, Alaina said “my head was spinning in circles.”

For album No. 2, she’s co-writing with some of Nashville’s best, including Nicole Galyon, Ashley Gorley and Laird.

“This time, I got to take my time and create my sound and find the direction I want my music to go,” she said. “The second album can be the make it or break it album” for artists.

“I listen to all kinds of music,” she said in explaining what Lauren Alaina’s sound is. “My daddy’s listens to rock, my mom is a hip-hop and country kind of girl.” Alaina describes her sound as a mix of country rock, hip-hop and pop.

“It depends on what I’m writing about,” she said. Alaina co-wrote the first single from the new album, “Barefoot and Buckwild,” with Chris DeStefano (Scotty McCreery’s “Better Than This”) and Jon Nite (Dierks Bentley’s “Tip It On Back”).

“Well, we got into a room — every songwriting experience is different — and we started a song with a different idea but it kind of conflicted with another song I had written,” Alaina said of writing “Barefoot and Buckwild.”

“I came up with a title out of nowhere, out of left field, and we wrote the song,” she said. Everybody was happy with it.

Fans can expect more grown-up lyrics on album two.

“I’m 18 going on 19. With age you have different experiences,” she said. “I’ve grown up a lot since the first album. They lyrical selection may be different, a bit broader, I feel like.”

“Wildflower” has songs about growing up and family. “I couldn’t sing about heartbreak really because I hadn’t been heart broke,” she said.

Now, she says, she has that experience under her belt.

“In the first stage of this album I went through a heartbreak and I put 30 songs on hold. When I listened to them they were all about heartbreak,” she said with a laugh. “I kind of got over that and found this wonderful guy and liked all the love songs!”

This “wonderful guy” who is her boyfriend is a guy she grew up with. He’s attending college near Nashville.

“Music depends on where you are in your life and where I’m at is a crucial time to make the right choices and right moves to keep that momentum,” she said.

“I had a really great first album. It did better than I expected. I just hope we can live up to what the first album did,” Alaina said.

Not only is her career on the move, Alaina is on the move and on the lookout for a place in Nashville. She hopes to be settled there by October.

“I’ve been told so many times Nashville is where I need to be,” she said.

Though her parents, J.J. and Kristy Suddeth, and brother Tyler are not looking forward to her move. “They’re not too excited about it,” Alaina said. “They know it’s what I need to do. I want to make a career of this.

“If I could pack my family and take them with me I would,” Alaina said. “I’m so attached to my family, but it’s only a two-and-a-half hour drive” from Nashville to Rossville, Ga. Her family has been super supportive of her career, she said. Her dad played guitar for every show she performed, until “Idol.”

When she was 12, the family made weekend trips to Nashville where Lauren would ask the day house bands if she could sing with them. Some invited her back to sing with them at night. When “Idol” lowered the audition age to 15, she gave it a shot and the rest, as they say, is music history.

ABOUT THE STICKERS

Pittsburgh based country band The Stickers are quickly becoming one of the most buzzed about new acts in country music. They have charted singles in country radio, were a featured act on the CMA Fest in Nashville two years running. The 2013 CMA Fest hosted the band as a headline act on the events busiest day in a year that set record attendance numbers. The Stickers have performed with country music’s elite acts and are now stepping out on their own with a number of headline performances throughout the eastern and Midwest U.S.

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“Inside Edition’s” Megan Alexander will host the 19th annual Inspirational Country Music Awards on Oct. 24 in Nashville. The awards will feature performances by reigning ICM Entertainer Chuck Day;  Guy Penrod, former lead singer of the Gaither Vocal Band; and special guest Sarah Darling. Additional presenters and performers will be announced later.

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Toby Keith’s “Drinks After Work” album will be released Oct. 29. It features 10 tracks in the standard version and 13 tracks on the deluxe version, including “Chuckie’s Gone,” a tribute to his departed friend and band leader Chuck Goff, who died unexpectedly earlier this year. The album is dedicated to Goff’s memory.

“Drinks After Work” is the lead single and is the only song on the album not written or co-written by Keith.

Track list: “Shut Up and Hold On,” “Drinks After Work,” “Before We Knew They Were Good,” “Little Miss Tear Stain,” “The Other Side of Him,” “Last Living Cowboy,” “Show Me What You’re Workin’ With,” “Whle Lot More Than That,” “I’ll Probably Be Out Fishin'” and “Hard Way to Make An Easy Living.” The deluxe edition bonus tracks are “Call a Marine,” “Chuckie’s Gone” and “Margaritaville” (with Sammy Hagar).

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George Strait announced the plans for the last leg of his “Cowboy Rides Away Tour” for 2014 in a live press conference Sept. 9. Strait announced the 26 markets he will visit and that he will have special guests on each tour weekend, including Jason Aldean, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Ronnie Dunn, Vince Gill, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Lee Ann Womack, Chris Young and more.

For the record, no dates in our area. The closest is Philadelphia on Feb. 28.

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Big Kenny, one-half of Big and Rich, has unveiled a new music project, Electro Shine, that brings together an eclectic fusion of beats, instrumentation and feel-good lyrics. To remix releases to date: “Born Again” from Big & Rich’s “Hillbilly Jedi,” and “Party Like Cowboyz.” He tells roughstock.com that he hopes to have an Electro Shine album together by the end of the year. For more info, visit electroshine.tv or check iTunes. Hmm, not for me.

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You’ve probably heard about 96-year-old Fred Stobaugh and the song he wrote for his wife of 73 years, Lorraine, who died earlier this year.

Fred has become the oldest person to ever appear on the Billboard Hot 100, according to roughstock.com. His song, “Letter From Fred: Oh Sweet Lorraine” sold nearly 100,000 copies to be the 13th biggest-selling track in the country. Check out the song, along with a video of it’s making at www.roughstock.com/video/short-film-green-shoe-studio-letter-from-fred-oh-sweet-lorraine. Oh, and don’t forget the tissues!

The song was written for a contest sponsored by Green Shoe Studio. Jacob Colgan, studio producer, sings and plays the instruments.

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