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.”