Welcome to the Online Premiere Magazine"Country Music Explosion".The Feature artist in this interview is Lauren Christine
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Background Q&A

Country Music Explosion: Did you live in a small town or a big city?

Lauren Christine:I grew up in a rural small town in Warren County,New Jersey,about ten minutes from the Pennsylvania border. Two months after graduating college, I packed up everything I had and moved to Nashville.
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Country Music Explosion: Did you attend church?

Lauren Christine:Yes,all my life. I first started singing publicly in the church choir.
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Country Music Explosion: Do you have any brothers or sisters? If so, are you the oldest, middle, or youngest child?

Lauren Christine:Yes,I have two sisters and a brother.I’m the oldest sibling in the family.
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Country Music Explosion: Where did you and your friends like to hang out the most on weekends?

Lauren Christine:At each other’s houses,mostly..there’s not a whole lot to do in our town,so usually we’d just drive around town together in someone’s car.Sometimes we’d hang out at the diner,the bowling alley,or the mall,which was about 20 minutes away.
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Country Music Explosion: Did you finish school?

Lauren Christine:Yes.I graduated high school in 2012, and I pursued a bachelor’s degree in music for another four years. I graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance in 2016
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Country Music Explosion: What were your fondest memories in school?

Lauren Christine:I was involved in every music group I could possibly be a part of in high school;aside from singing, I also played the flute,saxophone,and piano.I always loved the after-school rehearsals.That’s where I made most of my friends,through choir,musical theater productions,jazz ensemble,concert band,and marching band.Some nights were late nights,especially during tech week for the spring musical or after an away football game on the band bus,but those were always the best times to make memories with friends.
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Country Music Explosion: When it comes to friends from school, do you still stay in contact with them? What kind of things did you all like to do together?

Lauren Christine:As I said,most of my friends were involved in some type of music,so we enjoyed singing together or playing music for fun.We would usually hang out in each other’s basements after school or on weekends.It really didn’t matter what we were doing,even if we were just driving around town;we just enjoyed each other's company. Unfortunately,there’s only a handful of them I still keep in regular contact with.We all stayed in contact for a while,and I ended up going to the same college as some of them,but we all ended up moving all over the country after we graduated.Even the friends I don’t keep in regular contact with I get a message from every once in a while.It’s hard when everyone’s lives are going in such different directions,but I cherish all the memories I have with them, and I’ve woven some of those memories into the lyrics of my songs.
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Country Music Explosion: Did you ever get in trouble with your friends?

Lauren Christine:... we never got caught :)
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Country Music Explosion: What's the hardest thing you have learned in life?

Lauren Christine:The hardest thing I’ve learned is that you can put so much of yourself into a relationship, whether that be a romantic relationship or a friendship,but if the other person does not reciprocate,the relationship will not progress.I’ve admittedly neglected some of my relationships,especially through the busy periods of my life,but I have always at least tried to make an effort to be there for the people I care about.A person’s word means everything to me,and I always try to follow through with what I say I’m going to do.The worst thing,to me,is people making empty promises.
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Country Music Explosion: What is your favorite food?

Lauren Christine:That’s a tough question because I have a lot of different influences in my life,in terms of food.My maternal grandmother is Croatian,so she always cooks a lot of European dishes,like shrimp risotto and ravioli.My paternal grandmother is from Louisiana,so she cooks Cajun and Southern food, like chicken n’ dumplings and seafood gumbo.My mom cooked a little bit of both of those styles.I can’t say I have a favorite between those dishes,but the four I mentioned are definitely some of my favorites.
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Country Music Explosion:What is your favorite drink?

Lauren Christine:Jack Daniels,on the rocks or neat, no Coke :)
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Country Music Explosion: What is your favorite season of the year?

Lauren Christine:Summertime!I’m the type of person who’s always cold,so I love the heat of summer and the nice long summer days. There’s nothing better than being able to sit outside on a summer night and not freezing.
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Country Music Explosion:What is one moment in your life that you will never forget?

Lauren Christine:I will never forget the morning I left home to move to Nashville.It was such a tough moment for me because I have always been very close to my family and very attached to my home.I was,of course,excited to finally be moving to Nashville and pursuing my dream, but I knew my life was never going to be the same again.
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Country Music Explosion:If you were able to have a super power, what would it be?

Lauren Christine:If I could have a super power, I think it would be the ability to understand and fluently speak any language in the world. I love traveling and experiencing other cultures. When I go somewhere, I like to experience the place as a local would, not just as a tourist, and understanding any language would definitely help with that.
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Country Music Explosion: If you’re allowed to drink alcohol, what is your favorite?

Lauren Christine:I like whiskey; if I were to go out and order a drink, chances are I’ll order a Jack on the rocks. I also grew up in a wine-drinking family, on my mom’s side, so I really like red wine, especially cabernet and pinot noir. I enjoy some craft beers, too; my favorite is Abita, out of Abita Springs, Louisiana. I actually collect their bottles.
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Country Music Explosion: Is there anything you can’t live without?

Lauren Christine:My family, without a doubt.
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Country Music Explosion: Do you have any animals? If so, what kind?

Lauren Christine:I do! I have a cat named Luna. I also have two dogs between me and my boyfriend, a blue heeler named Dally and a Pitbull/Australian Shepherd/Rottweiler mix puppy named Sadie.
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Country Music Explosion: What else can we expect from you in the future?

Lauren Christine:I really hope to record another album, as soon as I can put the money and time together to do it. I released my first album, “Rebel Soul,” in August 2017. I’ve done a lot of writing since then, and I’m definitely ready to get back in the studio with my original music.
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Country Music Explosion: What did you like to do growing up?

Lauren Christine:I loved to ride horses. I actually always wanted to be a jockey growing up. I showed Quarter horses for years. I still ride every opportunity I get. I had a pretty wild imagination as a child, and I would make up games with my stuffed animals and Barbie dolls. I enjoyed, and still do enjoy, being outdoors, no matter the season. I would sit out on the swing in the backyard for hours, usually singing and pretending I was on stage.
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Country Music Explosion: What kind of hobbies did you have growing up and have right now?

Lauren Christine:As I said, horses were always not only a hobby but a passion for me. My Grammy taught me to scrapbook when I was young, so I enjoyed that growing up; I still do when I have time.
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Country Music Explosion: What is your biggest goal in life? Name three of your biggest weaknesses.

Lauren Christine:My goal in my career is to be able to reach out to everyone and anyone in the world through my music, help them through their difficult times and let them know they are not alone. My personal goal in life is to be successful enough to take care of my family and friends, financially and in any other ways they might need me. My biggest weaknesses are my lack of confidence in my music, my reluctance to admit when I’m wrong, and my inability to say no at times when I should.
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Country Music Explosion: What hidden talents do you have?

Lauren Christine:I have always been able to draw well, especially horses, which I used to do a lot of when I was younger.I try not to hide any talents I find in myself; I figure I’ve been given them to share with the world, and it would be a shame not to use them when I can.
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Country Music Explosion: When and where were you born? Did you grow up to adulthood there?

Lauren Christine:I was born in Glen Ridge, NJ in July 1994. I lived in that area until I was three years old, and then my family moved to Washington, NJ in Warren County.
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Country Music Explosion: Did you grow up at this location?

Lauren Christine:I did not; as I said, I really grew up in Washington, NJ. I do, however, remember the house I lived in until I was three quite vividly. From the time we moved to Washington, I grew up in the same house, so I lived there from age 3 to 22.
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Country Music Explosion: Where have you lived? What section?

Lauren Christine:I lived in Bloomfield, NJ (northeast NJ) until age three, Washington, NJ (northwest NJ) until age 22, and now in Nashville, TN for the past three years.
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Country Music Explosion: What year were you born?

Lauren Christine:1994
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Country Music Explosion: Did you go to college? If so, what was your major? How supportive were your parents about you going away to college? Did you get along with your roommate?Why did you go into that major?

Lauren Christine:I did go to college; I majored in classical vocal performance. I decided to pursue music in college about halfway through high school because I realized I wanted to be a singer; originally I had wanted to be an equine (horse) veterinarian, but I found music to be more my strength than science. My parents were always supportive, despite their concern that I might struggle to make a living. I had a different roommate every year I was in college, and I got along with all of them, but I never stayed in touch with any of them unfortunately.
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Country Music Explosion: How far back can you trace your ancestors?

Lauren Christine:I can trace my ancestors back as far as my grandparents can remember, which is at least five generations. My grandfather on my mom’s side did a lot of research on his ancestry, as did a cousin on my father’s side, so I can trace it even farther than that on some branches of the family tree.
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Country Music Explosion: Do you know if your parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents were the ones to immigrate to the U.S.?

Lauren Christine:On my father’s side, it was quite a while back that my family immigrated to the U.S. Specifically, my great-grandfather many generations back was a cousin to the queen of Spain and was given some land in Florida. The other immigration stories are less specific but can be traced back to Ireland, Germany, France, and many other European nations. On my mother’s side, my grandmother was born and raised in Croatia and my grandfather’s parents were from Italy; that makes my mother first-generation American on her mother’s side and second-generation American on her father’s side.
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Country Music Explosion: Where did they come from?

Lauren Christine:As I said, all over Europe: Croatia, Italy, Spain, Ireland, France, Germany... as well as the U.S.; my great-great-great grandmother on my father’s side was full-blooded Native American.
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Country Music Explosion: Did they come with families or did they begin families in the U.S.?

Lauren Christine:Both. My maternal grandmother came with her family; she was a teenager when she came to the U.S. My maternal grandfather’s parents came alone to start a new life in the U.S. On my father’s side, it’s less clear, since it was so many generations back.
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Country Music Explosion: What was a typical weekend like growing up?

Lauren Christine:Usually pretty busy; me and my three siblings were always involved in many extracurricular activities, so Saturdays were usually spent back and forth to those activities. Sundays were calmer usually; we went to church on Sunday mornings and would typically spend the rest of the day together as a family.
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Country Music Explosion: Were you or your family members involved in the community?What kind of things were you involved in?

Lauren Christine:Yes, my mother was (and still is) on the Board of Education at the elementary school and was president of the band parents association at the high school. My father coached field hockey and was a Scout Master for the Boy Scouts. The whole family was involved in the church community in some way or another; both my parents and my little brother served on the church council, and my siblings and I were active in the youth group. I also sang in the church choir.
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Country Music Explosion: What role did your parents play in your education?

Lauren Christine:Education was everything to my parents. They pushed all of us to do our very best in school, and I can honestly say I wouldn’t have done as well as I did without them. They were always willing to help with homework or anything else. There was a point where I was ready to drop out of college, but they urged me to finish my degree first.
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Country Music Explosion: What language(s) do you speak?

Lauren Christine:Aside from English obviously, I speak some Italian, some Spanish, and very little French. I studied all three languages at one point or another. I have retained more Spanish and Italian than French. My grandmother is actually an interpreter, so she speaks several languages fluently, including Italian. It helps to hear her speak the language every once in a while.
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Country Music Explosion: If you speak Spanish, did you grow up speaking Spanish? When did you learn it? Has it ever been an issue?

Lauren Christine:I did not grow up speaking Spanish, but I was exposed to a lot of different languages through my grandmother. I took mandatory Spanish classes in school from kindergarten through sixth grade, and then I elected to take Spanish again from eighth to tenth grade. It has helped knowing some Spanish because I worked as a waitress for a long time, and many of the kitchen staff at the first restaurant I worked in were Hispanic.
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Country Music Explosion: How was your educational experience from K-12?

Lauren Christine:I loved both elementary school and high school. Middle school, however, was a tough time for me. I went from being in a small elementary school with only the kids in my town to a regional middle school with three other districts. I suffered from anxiety all through middle school, but I learned how to cope with and control my anxiety through those two years of school. Once I got to high school, I was able to branch out and make a lot of new friends. I was also presented with many more opportunities to grow as a musician in high school, which was a very beneficial thing for me. My high school years were what brought me to the decision to pursue music as a career.
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Country Music Explosion: What schools did you attend? Where are they located?

Lauren Christine:I went to Brass Castle and Port Colden Elementary Schools and Warren Hills Regional Middle School and High School, all located in Washington, NJ. I also attended Rutgers University for my bachelor’s degree. I studied abroad at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London for three months during my junior year of college
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Country Music Explosion: Compare your junior high to high school involvement.

Lauren Christine:I was certainly much more involved in high school than I ever was in middle school. There were more options available to me in high school, as there was more funding for clubs and activities.
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Country Music Explosion: What kind of activities or organizations were you a part of?

Lauren Christine:I was in concert band, jazz ensemble, marching band, concert choir, jazz choir, rock/pop choir, theater club, and National Honors Society in high school. In middle school, I did concert band and jazz band, and I was on the track team. In elementary school, I played in concert band and jazz band, as well as played soccer. I was also in the horse club at Nine Pines Quarter Horse Farm from third through eleventh grade.
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Country Music Explosion: Do you and/or band have social media accounts where fans can reach out to you? If so, what is the URL for them?

Lauren Christine:Yes. My website is
www.laurenchristinemusic.org

Facebook: 
https://www.facebook.com/laurenchristinesmith42

Twitter: 
https://twitter.com/lcsmith1994

YouTube: 
https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCMZOYPQhn6Kv-7z7LCtnFsg

Instagram: 
https://www.instagram.com/laurenchristinemusic42/
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Music Q&A

Country Music Explosion: What role did your parents play in your music career?

Lauren Christine:They were always supportive of my goals, even though they had no connections in the music business. My mother especially urged me to get involved in music; I don’t think she ever expected me to choose it as a career!
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Country Music Explosion: What did your parents and friends say when you told them you wanted to be a singer?

Lauren Christine:I think they were at a loss for words, honestly. It certainly wasn’t what they were expecting, especially because I had wanted to be an equine veterinarian for so many years. Music was quite a different career path.
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Country Music Explosion: Some artists sing part time as a hobby; are you making this a career or a hobby?

Lauren Christine:This is a career for me. I have been supporting myself as a singer alone for a year now.
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Country Music Explosion: What's your favorite thing about singing?

Lauren Christine:I love when I can truly connect to the lyrics in a song and bring the emotions through in my voice. It’s hard to explain, but sometimes when I’m singing and I hit all the notes in the song just right, it feels like I’m flying.
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Country Music Explosion: What's the first concert you attended?

Lauren Christine:I really don’t remember because my grandmother has taken me to so many concerts ever since I was little. I’m sure it was a classical concert somewhere in New York City :)
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Country Music Explosion: What genre of music can you not stand to listen to?

Lauren Christine:I can’t stand rap, especially today’s rap. I can’t stand the vulgarity that has begun to permeate all the lyrics. I find many of the songs very disrespectful towards women. Even the ones that are performed by women rappers I find to be in very poor taste. It’s just not the way I’d want to portray myself as an artist.
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Country Music Explosion: If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?

Lauren Christine:I think it would be bluegrass. Even though it’s similar to country music, it differs in a lot of ways. I love harmonies, and bluegrass is packed with tight harmonies. I’ve always wanted to play the fiddle, and the fiddle sound is a central part of many bluegrass songs.
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Country Music Explosion: What kind of music do you listen to today?

Lauren Christine:I listen to mostly country, specifically classic country like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton, as well as 80s and 90s country. To be honest, I’m not crazy about the country songs on the radio today; I think they’ve lost a lot of the characteristics that country music was always known for. Im addition to having an abundance of drum loops, the instrumentation in many of the modern country songs doesn’t include fiddle or steel guitar, two instruments I find essential to the country sound. Instrumentation aside, a lot of the storytelling has also been lost.Aside from country, I also listen to classical music and jazz. There is a stereotype that opera is for the rich and snobby, but when you listen to the words or look up the story behind the operas, they’re actually quite amusing and even, in some cases, relatable. Having studied classical voice for so long, I know how physically and mentally straining it can be, and I consider opera singers to be the Olympic athletes of the vocal music world.
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Country Music Explosion: What embarrassing songs might we find on your MP3 player?

Lauren Christine:... you might find “Wannabe” (Spice Girls) on there :)
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Country Music Explosion: When it comes to your music, do you have one that you're most proud of? If so, what is the name of it?

Lauren Christine:I recently wrote one called “Johnny and June.” I was really doubting it for a while, and my boyfriend kept telling me over and over that it was a great song. He urged me to play it at my live shows, and people have been absolutely loving it. I’m really proud of the fact that it touches so many people.
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Country Music Explosion: Can you tell us if there is a story behind the song?

Lauren Christine:There is; I kept seeing posts on social media about Johnny Cash and June Carter’s relationship, pictures of their love letters and posts about how people wanted a relationship like theirs. And I’m sitting here thinking about it, and I’m saying to myself, “Do they really want a relationship like that?” Because there’s no doubt that Johnny and June were soulmates, but their relationship faced so many challenges like his battle with addiction and the effects of divorce on their children from previous marriages. And although they were able to overcome all of that and be together in the end, their troubles were enough to end most modern relationships today. I honestly don’t think that all these people talking about Johnny and June’s love story could have made it through what the Cashes made it through. The more I thought about it, the more I could see parallels between their relationship and my own relationship. So I wrote about it. And so far, it’s been a big hit.
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Country Music Explosion: Which of your songs do you feel most people can relate to? Can you tell us the story behind the song?

Lauren Christine:As I said, “Johnny and June” seems to be the most relatable that I’ve written so far. I also wrote a song called “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” that resonated strongly with quite a few people. It was actually on my “Rebel Soul” album that I released in 2017. The song is about that hopeless feeling you get when you’re trying to move on from someone, but no matter what you do, you just can’t stop thinking about that one person. And, as with many emotional situations, the more you drink, the more you think about that person, even when everything else starts getting blurry.
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Country Music Explosion: What message are you trying to send with your music?

Lauren Christine:I strive to write about situations and emotions many people can relate to. I hope that, after hearing my songs, people will realize that they’re not alone, in either heartbreak or happiness. There’s nothing better than people relating to and connecting with my music.
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Country Music Explosion: What age group is your music aimed towards?

Lauren Christine:Any age group, but probably about 18 and older. I’m not sure it’s relatable to most children, although I don’t have any explicit lyrics or anything like that, so it’s all family-friendly :)
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Country Music Explosion: What genre of music do you consider your work to be? Who are your major influences?

Lauren Christine:I consider my music to be country. My influences include many of the great women of country music: Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Jeannie C. Riley, Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Pam Tillis, Jo Dee Messina, Shania Twain, Deana Carter, Lee Ann Womack... there’s so many others that I’m neglecting to mention, but women in country music really inspire me. It’s tough to be a female in country music; it’s no secret that mainstream country has always favored the male voice for some reason. Even playing in downtown Nashville, I can’t count the times I’ve heard musicians say, “I just really don’t know a lot of girl songs.” So the perseverance of all the women who made it in country music greatly inspires me. They were obviously doing something right, and I’m trying to learn their secrets.
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Country Music Explosion: What are your songs about?(What specific themes do they cover?)

Lauren Christine:My songs cover a lot of themes. Some are filled with heartbreak, a classic element of country music. Many of my songs are nostalgic, thinking back on happy times gone by. Some of them are inspired by my family and friends, and some are love songs.
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Country Music Explosion: What image do you think your music conveys?

Lauren Christine:I think it conveys a sense of unpretentiousness; my music is very real, and I think that’s why people can relate to it. It’s not about partying with Hollywood A-listers or getting drunk at the club; only a particular crowd can relate to that. Everyone can relate to heartbreak, and everyone has fond memories they look back on with a bittersweet smile. As personal as my songs are to me, I strive to make them universal so that people other than myself can connect with them.
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Country Music Explosion: How old were you when you knew you wanted to be a singer? At the time, did you know what genre you wanted to sing?

Lauren Christine:I was sixteen when I realized I wanted to be a professional singer. I didn’t know at the time what genre I wanted to sing, but I was open to exploring different genres and finding out where my voice fit best. Country music kind of found me when I started to write my own songs. I didn’t necessarily intend to write country songs, but that’s how they came out.
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Country Music Explosion: Music-sharing sites and blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today?

Lauren Christine:I think with the birth of social media, music has become less valuable than it used to be. You used to have no choice but to buy the physical copy of a song or album if you wanted to hear it. Vinyl, tape, CD, it was all very physical, and the artists were making a living selling their music. Now, you can go download one song off of an album without ever touching the album or listening to the other songs on the record. Even worse, it’s so easy to pirate music online that many people aren’t even buying digital downloads. Streaming platforms pay artists little to nothing for their music, which devalues it even more. Everyone can be a star now because anyone can record videos and audio so easily and share it online. The industry is absolutely saturated with people trying to make it. In a way, it’s a good thing because people can make it as musicians through a strong social media presence without having to have connections in the business first. But in other ways, there’s so much noise out there that it’s increasingly difficult to even get one’s music heard.
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Country Music Explosion: Which instruments do you play?

Lauren Christine:I play guitar, piano, flute, and saxophone.
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Country Music Explosion: What was the first tune you learned?

Lauren Christine:I don’t remember specifically, but it was most likely an easy flute melody, as flute was the first instrument I studied. I do remember that the first song I tried to play on guitar was “Small Town Southern Man” by Alan Jackson.
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Country Music Explosion: Is your family musical?

Lauren Christine:My grandma sings and plays the piano. My mom can sing as well. All my siblings were in concert band through school, but none of them have pursued it after high school, even as a hobby. My grandpa played the guitar.
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Country Music Explosion: Describe your family members’ musical interests and abilities.

Lauren Christine:None of my family members ever really pursued music. My siblings all played in high school mostly because it gave them something to do. My sister was in marching band with me, but my other sister and brother never ventured farther than the concert band, which is actually a class in our middle school and high school. My parents listen to country music, as does my brother. My dad has always listened to classic rock. My sisters are not big country fans; their musical tastes differ from mine.
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Country Music Explosion: Which famous musicians do you admire? Why?

Lauren Christine:As I said when talking about my musical influences, I have great admiration for the women who made it in country music. I am particularly inspired by Dolly Parton and Loretta Lynn. Dolly moved away from her East Tennessee home to chase her dreams in Nashville, very much like my own story of moving far from home to pursue my dreams. Loretta and her husband, “Doolittle” Lynn, built her career with no real connections, just a unique voice and a collection of songs that resonated with the country music audience. I feel like my story parallels theirs in different ways, which is why I admire and relate to them most.
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Country Music Explosion: Which famous musicians have you learned from?

Lauren Christine:Any of the major country stars who built their careers from nothing; I have learned from the many stories and autobiographies I’ve read that giving up is not an option if you really want to make it.
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Country Music Explosion: What are your fondest musical memories? In your house? In your neighborhood or town?

Lauren Christine:One of my favorite memories is from a production we put on in high school that we called the “Prism Concert.” I was performing a solo cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You,” and I was so nervous about messing it up during the actual show. To add to that concern, I was involved in about ten other ensembles, and the ensembles performed all over the room; the way this particular concert worked, one minute there would be an ensemble playing on stage, and then when that ensemble finished the stage lights would go off and a spotlight would turn on in the back of the auditorium for the next ensemble to play. Needless to say, there was a lot of running around the auditorium for me that night. When it came time to perform my solo, my palms were sweaty and my voice was a bit shaky. I took a deep breath and jumped into my song. When I finished, the audience erupted in cheers and applause. I had no doubt in that moment that I wanted to be a professional singer.
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Country Music Explosion: Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Which ones?

Lauren Christine:I was influenced more by the radio than by records and tapes. The van my mom drove when I was a child had a tape player, but my mom listened to country radio mostly. When I started driving my dad’s old car, it had a CD player, but the CD player eventually died on me, and I had no choice but the radio.
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Country Music Explosion: Who are your favorite musicians?

Lauren Christine:My favorite musicians include the artists I’ve previously mentioned (Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Jeannie C. Riley, Emmylou Harris, Reba McEntire, Trisha Yearwood, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, Pam Tillis, Jo Dee Messina, Shania Twain, Deana Carter, Lee Ann Womack, Tanya Tucker), as well as George Strait, Alan Jackson, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton, the Steeldrivers...
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Country Music Explosion: Do you attend sessions? What makes a good session?

Lauren Christine:I attend writers rounds whenever possible. The best rounds are with writers you can learn from, especially those who have been in the business for a while.
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Country Music Explosion: How often and for how long do you practice?

Lauren Christine:I actually don’t practice much anymore because I play shows at least three or four hours a day. When I do practice, it’s for at least an hour because I’m usually working on new material, which takes a while to get right. I used to have to practice at least an hour a day on flute and saxophone. To be honest, I always hated practicing, but it would certainly make a big difference and help me to feel more prepared during my performances. Now, I end up playing a lot of the same songs, especially in downtown Nashville, where people request many of the same songs over and over. However, I’m always trying to change up my setlist so I don’t get burnt out.
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Country Music Explosion: What do you practice - exercises, new tunes, hard tunes, etc.?

Lauren Christine:Mostly new songs and especially songs I struggle playing on guitar
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Country Music Explosion: How do you balance your music with other obligations - friends, family, job?

Lauren Christine:Well since music is my job, I am able to focus a lot more on it. But I always make time to spend with my boyfriend and my pets. I like to cook a lot, so I usually end up spending at least an hour in the kitchen every day. But I definitely spend a good amount of time on my music every day, since it is my means of supporting myself; aside from actually performing, I spend a lot of time trying to find new venues and promote my music online.
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Country Music Explosion: Are you currently looking to be signed to a label? If you’re signed, can you give us a little insight on how you see the way things are done? Is it like a big family?

Lauren Christine:Yes, I do hope to eventually be signed by a label, but my hope would be to keep a small team of people around me. I’m so used to promoting myself; I even make my own promotional posters to share online. My boyfriend finds me a lot of opportunities, so between the two of us we spend a lot of time online. It wouldn’t work for me to all of a sudden not be involved in my own music. I would want to be an active part of every single decision made regarding my career. I could not be a part of a label that pushed me to do music I couldn’t relate to. I’d want to be hands-on in planning my own tours, promoting my own materials, choosing my own band, etc. So I guess if I were able to find a label that was looking out for my best interests and allowing me to keep a small team around me, it really would be like a big family.
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Country Music Explosion: Do you have any new releases coming out soon? If so,what is the name of the song or album, and is it available now for pre-order?

Lauren Christine:I do not have anything in the works yet, however I do plan to start work on m another album as soon as possible to follow my “Rebel Soul” album.
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Country Music Explosion: Where can your music be purchased?

Lauren Christine:The physical copy of my album can be purchased either at one of my live shows or from CD Baby online. My album is also available on iTunes, Google Play, and Amazon mp3.
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Country Music Explosion: Have you released any albums/CDs? If so, can you tell us about them and the process you went through to complete it (length of time, favorite song)?

Lauren Christine:As I’ve mentioned, my first album came out on August 11, 2017 and is titled “Rebel Soul.” It took me about six months all together to complete the album, not including the time it took to write the songs. I worked with Beaird Music Group on my album, and they truly did a wonderful job. I arranged the songs and mapped everything out with Larry Beaird, and then I recorded everything in several studio sessions. I came back to the studio to sit in on the mixing and mastering of my songs. I got to preview each of the songs and make any changes I thought were needed. I had Emily Anne Photography in Franklin, TN do the photography for the album, and I arranged the album artwork myself. I think my favorite song on the album is “Radio Silence.” It was a lot of fun to bring that one to life; to me, it’s the boldest and biggest song on the album. I loved hearing the fiddle part I’d imagined in my mind become a reality in the studio.
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Country Music Explosion: What are your thoughts on the impact of technology in the country music industry?

Lauren Christine:I’ve mentioned it before, but I don’t like anything that sounds fake, like a live band couldn’t duplicate the sound. I specifically opposed having drum loops on my album; to me, that’s more of an element of pop music than country. I think country has its roots in a simpler and more authentic sound. I would rather hear mistakes and imperfections in a country song than over-manufactured, pre-recorded tracks.
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Country Music Explosion: What is your daily routine with technology as a country music artist?

Lauren Christine:The most technology I deal with are the sound systems in the bars and venues I play at. I have an acoustic guitar with a DI and a microphone. Mostly, I let the sound engineers deal with the sound boards.
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Country Music Explosion: What are your thoughts on the recent law passed called the Music Modernization Act?

Lauren Christine:I think it’s a big step towards paying songwriters and music creators the royalties they so deserve. Coming up with a database for all the music out there is necessary with how much music is being produced today. As the industry grows and technology advances, it’s more and more difficult to keep track of what’s out there. The MMA is a good effort to control what’s out there and distribute royalties fairly.
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Songwriting Q&A

Country Music Explosion: Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs? Do you think these topics will change over time?

Lauren Christine:I write all my own songs. I only had one co-write on my last album; the other 11 songs were all mine. I think the topics do change as the circumstances in my life change. I believe a good songwriter can only write about what he or she experiences, so my personal experiences heavily impact my writing. Some of my songs are direct accounts of moments that took place in my life. And like anything in life, there are happy and sad moments. My songs have both heartbreak and happiness as themes.
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Country Music Explosion: Is there a certain time you set or a certain place to write songs?

Lauren Christine:No; I only write when an idea comes to me. I’m not the type of writer who can block out a chunk of time to write, and then just sit down and write. Some event has to take place to inspire my songs. It doesn’t matter if I’m on stage or in bed or driving in the car, if an idea strikes me, I quickly open up my notepad or my voice memo app in my phone and record or write down my idea. Both my notepad and voice memos are full of ideas!
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Country Music Explosion: Do you find song writing to be difficult and need some sort of help, or do they come to you very easily?

Lauren Christine:Typically once inspiration hits, I can write a whole song in an hour or two. The words just start to flow, and the melody follows. It helps if I’m sitting in front of a piano or with a guitar, but sometimes I just have to make do with humming the melody on a phone recording and coming back to it once I get my hands on a piano or a guitar.
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Country Music Explosion: When it comes to writing your songs, do the songs just come to you and then you write them, or do you have to meet with a publisher and/or other songwriters?

Lauren Christine:The songs always just come to me. I’ve tried meeting with songwriters to do co-writes, and I find that I just hit a brick wall when I try to write. It’s when I’m not trying that the ideas come to me. I have to experience some type of strong emotion to come up with a song.
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Country Music Explosion: How would you describe and rate the music scene of the city/state you are currently living in, and how important is it in terms of what you're actually writing about?

Lauren Christine:Well there’s no doubt that Nashville, Tennessee is the biggest place for country music. Although there is obviously a lot of competition and the city is saturated with talent, there are also many more opportunities to perform and make connections. In terms of songwriting, my physical location doesn’t matter so much as the people I am with. Aside from my hometown and a handful of other places, location doesn’t inspire me to write the way people and experiences inspire me.
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Country Music Explosion: What are your main impulses to write music?

Lauren Christine:My main impulses arise from experiences, as I’ve said. Something has to make me feel strongly for an idea to form in my mind.
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Country Music Explosion: What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your songwriting and/or career?

Lauren Christine:I can’t say that there was one specific incisive moment for my songwriting. Being surrounded by country music here in Nashville continues to inspire me as an artist. The day I successfully auditioned to play at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in downtown Nashville was a turning point in my career because it opened the doors to play at other venues and allowed me to become a full-time musician. I have certainly grown as a performer while playing downtown.
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Country Music Explosion: When it comes to songwriting, what are your criteria for quality? What are currently your main challenges and ambitions as a writer?

Lauren Christine:My criteria for a quality song include telling a relatable story that people can become engaged in, sort of like reading a good book. I think the melody also has to be catchy, not so simple that the audience gets bored but not so complex that they can’t sing along. My main challenge at the moment is finding the right people to listen to my songs. At this point, I think I have written a few songs worth listening to, but the fact is there’s so many talented songwriters, not only in Nashville but worldwide, that it’s difficult to get your songs heard by the people who ultimately affect the decisions on what gets played and what doesn’t. Similarly, it’s difficult to build a fan base on social media when there’s so much music being shared on platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
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Country Music Explosion: What do you usually start with when working on new music?

Lauren Christine:I almost always start with the lyrics. I love words, and I love putting words together to make them sound appealing. Once I have solid lyrics down, I start coming up with a melody to fit the words. I usually just start humming something or playing a basic chord progression, and the melody will start to come to me.
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Country Music Explosion: Tell us about the selection process for deciding on what to write about. What sources will you draw from for research purposes,and how much time goes into research, information gathering, and fact-checking in general?

Lauren Christine:If I’m writing a song that has some sort of historical or factual significance, I put quite a bit of time into making sure the facts I’m using are correct. I’m always afraid of writing something and having an expert on the subject tell me it’s all wrong or doesn’t make sense. I usually try to consult both the internet and people who know more about the subject than I do.
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Country Music Explosion: How do you see the role of a song writer in the creative process? Should he or she amplify public taste, distinguish the good from the bad, inform, promote artists, or “illuminate, educate and entertain” fans? Do you feel that, as part of your work, music needs to be explained, or should it retain its “inexplicable nature”?

Lauren Christine:I don’t believe a good song needs any explanation, at least a good country song. The general simplicity and sincerity that characterize country music should allow the song’s story to speak for itself. I do believe, however, that the songwriter and singer of a given song, if two different people, may have different interpretations of the same song. One may connect with certain elements of the song and the other with completely different elements of the song. Perhaps the audience’s differing interpretations of the same songs is what makes a hit song great.
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Country Music Explosion: In which way does writing and reading about music change the way it is perceived by the public?

Lauren Christine:I think that when a songwriter or singer explicitly explains the meaning behind a song, it gives the public one definitive interpretation of the song, whereas when a song remains open to public interpretation, every listener takes something different from it.
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Country Music Explosion: Whom do you feel your obligation is to: other artists or the fans? How much, do you feel, is songwriting restricted by external factors?

Lauren Christine:I think the obligation is to anyone willing to listen to the song. A songwriter is obligated to tell an honest and engaging story that generates an emotional response from the listener. The songwriting process only becomes restricted when the writer is specifically aiming to please or cater to a particular audience.
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Country Music Explosion: Songwriting has changed considerably over the past century. What, do you feel, could – or should - be new forms and formats for songwriting?

Lauren Christine:Everything has to evolve with the times in order to stay relevant, but I think that the charm and appeal of country music actually comes from staying connected to the roots of the genre. Music in general, I personally feel, has become more manufactured and mass produced in an effort to make more money; it’s become about quantity over quality. Famous singers and performers are putting out mediocre music, knowing that their loyal fan bases will buy into anything they put out. I feel that’s extremely unfair to music consumers. I think that songwriting should actually be drawing from the roots of their genres, and in my opinion, that will bring substance and value back to music.
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Country Music Explosion: When and why did you start writing songs?

Lauren Christine:I started writing songs in college as an outlet for the range of emotions I was feeling about my new experiences. It was a great way to express myself and help me process everything I was going through, from the bittersweet nostalgia I was feeling towards my high school days to the disappointment I felt about being let down by new acquaintances.

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Touring,Concert,Performing Q&A

Country Music Explosion: Have you been on tour? If so,what's the longest tour you have been involved in?

Lauren Christine:I have not, but I am trying to put one together this year. My biggest challenge is finding a band that is willing to leave Nashville and travel around.
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Country Music Explosion: What's the most gigs you do a year?

Lauren Christine:Last year I played over 100 shows. This year I expect it to be even more!
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Country Music Explosion: Where would you most like to perform?

Lauren Christine:My greatest goal is to play on the Grand Ole Opry.
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Country Music Explosion: Who would you most like to open for?

Lauren Christine:I would love to open for Dolly Parton! She is one of the few living legends who is still performing regularly, and I respect her knowledge as both a performer and a businesswoman.
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Country Music Explosion: Are you currently doing gigs? If so, where?

Lauren Christine:Yes, I play the honky tonks on lower Broadway in Nashville about five days a week, as well as some other venues in and around Nashville. I regularly post my gigs on my Facebook page.
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Country Music Explosion: Where have you performed? What are your favorite and least favorite venues?

Lauren Christine:I have performed at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Rippy’s Bar & Grill, Honky Tonk Central, Redneck Riviera, Kid Rock’s Honky Tonk, The Row, Tennessee Brew Works, the Batch & Bushel Farmers Market, and the Tennessee State Fair, all in Nashville. I have also played at Hank’s Honky Tonk in Murfreesboro, TN and Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor in Franklin, TN. Two of my favorite venues to play are Tootsie’s and Hank’s. If I had a least favorite, it would be Honky Tonk Central’s rooftop on a slow day.
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Country Music Explosion: Tell us about the selection process you go through when doing a gig or studio work; how do you decide which song to perform or record first?

Lauren Christine:I record or perform the songs I feel most confident about first so that I can get a feel for the process and figure out what I need to tweak. Once I get into a rhythm, the show or the recording session start to flow better.
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Country Music Explosion: Have you been in competitions? Any prizes?

Lauren Christine:I competed in the Nash Next competition in 2018 but was not selected. Next week, I’ll compete in the Nashville Rising Song competition.
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Country Music Explosion: Do you perform in public? Describe those occasions (concerts, radio, TV, online).

Lauren Christine:I perform about five days a week in public. I stream some of my shows on Facebook live, and I often post videos of my live shows afterwards.
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Country Music Explosion: What do you think about when you’re performing?

Lauren Christine:I mostly think about the words to the song, as well as the rhythm, so that I remain focused and don’t make any mistakes.
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Country Music Explosion: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?

Lauren Christine:The best advice I ever got about making mistakes during a live performance is to pretend I meant to do that and continue on. Nine times out of ten, the audience won’t even notice you messed up, as long as you keep going!
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Country Music Explosion: Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

Lauren Christine:Yes, always, but I’ve been told that some degree of nerves keeps a performer focused, and I’ve found that to be true. When I get too comfortable, my focus starts to wander off, and that’s when I make the most mistakes.
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Country Music Explosion: What advice would you give to beginners who are nervous?

Lauren Christine:The best thing to do before you go on stage is to breathe deeply: take in as much breath as you can in four seconds, hold it for two seconds, and then slowly exhale for eight seconds. That will slow down your heart from racing. Always keep some water with you in case your mouth gets dry. And the most helpful thought for me, if performing in front of an audience of strangers, is that I probably won’t see these people again, so even if I mess up, it’s okay!
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This Conclude the Interview..Thanks for reading!