Lauren Alaina was just 3 years old when her mother was driving her somewhere in their hometown of Rossville, Ga. The Dixie Chicks were on the radio, and when Mom turned it off and heard her daughter singing the song on her own — in pitch and with every word correct — she did what any perceptive parent would do: She bought her a Dixie Chicks karaoke package and encouraged her to keep singing.
Not much time has passed since then, but Alaina, 17, has blossomed into a singer of precocious technique and sensitivity. She has worked hard for this achievement, singing lead roles in school plays throughout elementary school and winning the talent competition of the Southern Stars Pageant at 8. At age 10, she took top prize in Orlando’s American Model and Talent Competition, beating out more than 1,500 participants, and at 12 Alaina made her first of many visits to Nashville’s Lower Broadway clubs — before 6 PM, of course.
But it was “American Idol” that lifted her into national celebrity in 2011. Finishing second to the equally young, gifted and future Mercury Nashville labelmate Scotty McCreery, she was soon at work on her debut album, Wildflower, with Byron Gallimore producing all but her first single, the power ballad “Like My Mother Does.”
Amidst these 12 tracks crafted by some of Nashville’s top songwriters (Alaina co-wrote one, “Funny Thing about Love,” with Luke Laird and Brett James), “Like My Mother Does” stands out. Alaina heard it for the first time during her “Idol” experience and instantly connected with it. Composed by Nathan Chapman, Liz Rose and Nikki Williams, it whispers through verses, soars into the choruses and ultimately rockets skyward, fueled by Alaina’s accomplished and even astonishing performance.
In Her Own Words
DREAM DUET PARTNER
“I do not let people sit on my bed after I make it. It drives me nuts.”
CD IN YOUR STEREO
“David Cook’s This Loud Morning.”
PHRASE YOU SAY OVER AND OVER
“I’m just saying.”
TITLE OF YOUR AUTOBIOGRAPHY
“I’m Just Saying.”
SHORT- AND LONG-TERM CHALLENGES
“My short-term challenge is to get a driver’s license because I turned 17 years old in November. My long-term challenge would be to think before I speak.”
SOMETHING WE’D NEVER GUESS ABOUT YOU
“I’m a math whiz.”
“My musical hero would probably be Carrie Underwood because she started the same way I did and she came from a town with a population of 3,500 people and that is how many people live in my town. I have always looked up to her and I was able to meet her and she is just as nice in person. She is such a beautiful person and she’s beautiful on the inside and out. I want people to look at me the way I look at her.”
By Bob Doerschuk
© 2011 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc