It seems like Lauren Jenkins popped out from nowhere but she has actually been signed with Big Machine Records since 2013. Spending this time working hard on her craft and not wanting to rush things, Lauren has shown that this length of time to create was a wise decision as her debut album No Saint is really quite something. The record is unique, raw, edgy and quite simply, pretty cool. Lauren herself is a chilled out, likeable woman with a husky, strong vocal that really catches your attention. Being signed to Big Machine Records, it was very likely that she would come over to the UK at one point and were glad she made her debut at C2C Festival 2019.
To accompany her debut record No Saint, Lauren has released a short film titled Running Out Of Road which is also the title of one of the songs from the album.
We caught up with Lauren to discuss her album, her short film, some of songs meanings and more.
How does it feel to have your debut album No Saint out now?
I have been working on this and dreaming it up for a couple of years but it is still kind of surreal to have work out that I have been doing quitely by myself and with my friends. This album and short film is now going to be out in the world and peoole are actually going to hear it and see it.
It has quite a few diverse sounds in it – was that important to you to mix it up a little?
Yeah! When I first moved to Nashville from New York, I sort of felt like I was supposed to fit into a box and that didn’t work out so well, I wasn’t very happy doing that, so really with this record especially the last songs that we cut for it, I just kind of threw the rules out of the window and I was much happier in that space. I think the result was a different sound but it wasn’t necessarily the intention. The intention was to do exactly what was in my head and to make it sound the way I wanted it to.
Running Out of Road always gets you choked up, why?
I think it gets me chocked up because there has been a lot of times in my life where I keep hitting dead ends. Sometimes I have had that thought of giving up and I didn’t really know what I was trying to do. Being a story teller and an artist is really the only thing that I have wanted to do with my life so I think when I play that song and I am playing it for people that want to hear it, it is kind of a reminder of not giving up. I have been lucky enough to hear stories from other people who have heard it and it has resonated with. The song has another life now that I have put it out into the world and it makes me realise that we are not so different.
You have a short film that accompanies it too? Tell us about that.
I love being a story teller and it is all I have wanted to do since I was probably about three. To me being a story teller isn’t just being a songwriter, it is also about the visual aspects. After I wrote three of these songs I immediately got the idea of having a greater story within the album which is the short film Running Out Of Road and the three part music video series that will also come out. I was really lucky to work with some of my friends that I’ve met back in middle school, some in acting school and for us to make the vision that I had for telling this story in a visual way come to life. We got in my car and drove from the east coast of the states to New Mexico and made the short film in basically the plains, the deserts of New Mexico and it was about a seven months process, maybe even close to a year. We got to premiere the short film at Sundance which was crazy.
You say you have wanted to do this since you were three. Do you have a particular stand out memory from your childhood that prompted it all?
I think it was a combination of all of it. I was a kid in Texas and we made our own theatre group when I was about five or six. We would put on plays that we would write and make up for the adults and we would charge them like a dollar or something. I guess that child like dreaming never left and so when I was like ten I started writing songs that were really bad haha and then when I was fifteen, I got a guitar and started playing and performing songs that I had written which were also pretty terrible haha. I never wanted to do anything else so it was what made me the happiest and made me feel alive.
Do you remember the first song you ever wrote?
I don’t but my mum might, I had like a dream journal and I wrote songs in it and I have got it somewhere haha but it’s too embarrassing.
What about the most bizarre thing you have written about?
Hmmmm. Probably an ex haha. I think I worte a song about a mail box one time, that was weird. I also wrote about a dishwasher that was quite interesting. All of dishes were actual humans haha.
Is there a lyric in one of your songs written by a co-writer that you think damn, I wish I wrote that?
Yes. For Makers Mark and You. Jessie Jo Dillon came in with that title Makers Mark, Marlboros and You. She didn’t say anything else except for that line and we have written together a couple of times and we knew each other quite well and when she said that line, the entire song played out in my head before we had even written another word about it. When she said that line, I was like “Oh my god, that line is so good, I know exactly what that song is about and we are writing it now”
Is that your go to drink or do you have another?
It depends on how much money is in my bank account to be honest haha. I love whiskey, it’s usually my go to beverage of choice and I am looking forward to going to the pub whilst I am visiting you guys.
Well Jimmie Allen drinks Makers Mark so go find him and he may have a bottle on him haha
Haha I will see of he wants to share.
Tell us about signing with Big Machine and how that came to be because they are such a great label to work with and they are very good at bringing their artists over to the UK
Signing with them was really also a story of bizarre roads to go down because at the time I was living in New York and studying acting and playing on the weekends and whenever I was free. Nobody knew who I was, I had maybe 100 followers on Facebook and Twitter and nobody had heard my music. My co-writer and producer sent my music to labels and the next thing I knew I was on a plane and meeting labels. Big Machine seemed like the right fit because Scott Borchetta and his team understood who I was as an artist and understood that I was going to be a little bit different. They have really given me the time and the space to work in my craft and tell my story the way that I want to tell it and I commend them for that because it’s not like I had a huge following or anything. They really found me whilst I was under a rock just whilst I was creating.
As you said they have given you a lot of creative freedom. One of the songs I was listening too was Blood. That has some very deep lyrics and one of the opening lines being “a line of cocaine”. Was there ever a discussion of the risk about such a deep lyric?
No, I don’t think so, that song was written from a very real place about somebody very close to me who was going through a difficult time and I didn’t know how to help. The message of that song is that we are all the same and we all have something that we struggle with.
Tell us about your reaction and your teams etc when you played the finished album for the first time?
I was a big part of the mixing so it wasn’t a big reveal kind of thing because I co-produced a big portion of the record. I don’t think it really hit me that everything was done until I finished the visiual component of the album and also finished the designing of the CD and the Vinyl. I still haven’t actually held a physical copy but when I do, then I think I’ll have that moment of “oh my gosh” ,that might be when I am in the UK.
Why did you decide to center the album Around the song No Saint?
That song was the most private and the most difficult song to write. It took me about seven months to be brave enough to finish it. As soon as I did I realsied that this is what the album should be titled. It really comes from a place of me being ok with my flaws and the fact that I am not perfect and hopefully other people that listen, if they are struggling with that concept or idea that they feel a little more empowered to be ok with their flaws and imperfections as well.
No Saint is out now
Stream it here
Purchase it here