Lauren Duski “wowed” me from the very first time I heard her song Costume Party. Before this, I admit I was clueless to who she was but a happy day was had when her music came into my life. Lauren already has an amazing fan base an dit isn’t hard to see why. Lauren first caught a lot of attention when she appeared on the 12th season of NBC’s The Voice where she placed Runner Up. She has since become part of CMT’s Next Women of Country and has released her debut EP Midwestern Girl. The sensational EP includes the single Costume Party which has taken off really well, so much so in fact that it inspired her fans to make videos sharing their vulnerability. Lauren combined all these videos to make her official video for the song.
I highly recommend getting the EP, it is really quite something. The instrumental intro is stunning and all the songs are sublime. I already mentioned Costume Party which I must add is one of the most stunning songs that I have heard in a while.
We caught up with Lauren to discuss her music, her awesome instrumental intro to her EP, her fans and much more.
Hi Lauren how are you?
I am wonderful! Thank you so much for asking! The sun is shining today so I can’t complain.
How has your week been?
It’s been a weird but good week so far!
Congratulations on the success of Midwestern Girl – it has charted at #26 on Billboards Country Album Charts – that must feel amazing? Especially as an independent artist?
First of all, thank you so much. It really means more than you know! I’m still pretty overwhelmed and just incredibly thankful that people are listening.
Tell us about Costume Party which was also a single. It is such a beautiful song and has been such an inspiration to so many people. Tell us the story behind the song please?
To be completely transparent, I have struggled since high school with heavy insecurity and anxiety. It didn’t hit me until I moved to Nashville 6 years ago to pursue music just how many layers had been built, and how they weighed me down. After 3 years in Nashville, I realized I had let fear hold me back from the one thing that brings me the most life — music. Two years ago I offered to be a Pen Pal with my fans, and through hundreds of vulnerable letters, I finally came to a place of “holy cow, vulnerability isn’t a weakness and it truly only brings you closer to people.” It’s a pretty emotional topic for me. I am so thankful. Because of them I finally had the courage share my insecurities publicly and found clarity.
Also tell us how it has inspired the fans to make their own videos, how did that make you feel to see all that?
It made me feel like I was not alone. It made me feel a lot stronger and gave me the courage to open up more not only in my songs but in my life.
You have used these videos for the official music video which sends such a beautiful inspirational message. Do you often hear how much the song has helped your fans? Does this inspire you to write more relatable songs?
I’ve learned now more than ever vulnerability is not a weakness and doesn’t make us any less worthy of connection with people. It does the exact opposite — what a gift it has been in my life.
Continuing on the subject of your fans, they are wonderful and really supportive- this is so nice to see.
I wake up every morning and thank God for them. It gets me pretty emotional talking about it but I am just very humbled by them.
The song (Costume Party) charted in 13 countries, did any surprise you? Any countries make you think wow, my music reached there?
I was shocked by everything but that was definitely at the top of the list!
Congratulations on being inducted as CMT’s Next Women of Country for the class of 2019. How has that experience been?
I am just honored to be a part of such an incredible group of women and am thankful that CMT has given us a voice.
We are big Stephanie Quayle fans here and we saw her championing the EP which is so lovely to see.
Stephanie is quite literally an angel on earth. I definitely felt the support from Nashville and even more than ever the women in town.
Women in country music are so good at supporting each other despite being pitted against each other in the industry and radio – why do you think it is that Country seems to be one of the only genres where women genuinely aren’t in competition with each other?
I look at it like this: we are all fighting our own daily battles, and on top of that we are trying to push a boulder up a mountain. I sure as hell couldn’t push it by myself. I think there is a mutual understanding that we are in this together and if we take time to “compete” with each other we are just moving backwards not forward.
Tell us a bit about getting to where you are now, you have had ups and downs in the industry as many do but what has kept you going?
A few things have kept me from moving home or going back to college haha the biggest being my family. They wouldn’t let me give up if I ever tried. Also I know in my heart this is what I was made to do, regardless of where that takes me. I am just thankful I get to wake up every day and create.
You have opened for some great acts, have any stood out to you in particular and if so why?
I was out with Bobby Bones last fall, and had never met him before but was blown away by how hospitable him and his crew were.
Please tell us about the instrumental Journey of a Midwestern Girl – it is such a beautiful start to an album/EP. What made you decide to start the EP off this way and tell us the the writing process behind it.
I wanted to give the listener a “palate cleanser” if you will before diving into the songs. When I think about the Midwest, I think about my childhood and the freedom in that time of life. The freedom of insecurities and life — waking up every day and building tree forts and riding my bike around the neighborhood. I wanted the listener to feel that nostalgia before listening to a lyric.
How hard or easy is it to select just five songs for an EP. Did you find it pretty straightforward or did you change your mind often?
Favorite question yet! Oh boy, it is honestly my least favorite part of the process. I am constantly writing, and finding songs move me in different ways and it’s always so hard to pick a few. If I had it my way we’d release them all at once but luckily I have people in my life to slow me down haha
Please tell us about The Weather (Grandpa’s Song) because it is so emotional.
I was never planning on writing a song for my grandparents — since then I’ve written many. I just felt super inspired to have witnessed a love story like that in my life and for months after losing my grandma, it was really hard to watch my grandfather try and navigate life without her. I’d ask him questions about how he was doing and he’d immediately change the subject to the weather. I am so thankful to have had Liz Rose and Brandon Hood in the room that day to write their story.
Was it always the intention to have the song last on the EP?
Yes. But the voicemail was a last minute decision.
Do you get emotional performing it live?
Every time. If I make it through the whole song without crying it’s the win of the year!
One thing I regret about my childhood is not asking my grandparents about their lives, They passed before I took interest. Do you hope the song inspires those to spend more time with their grandparents and hear their stories?
That is exactly what I hope for. Because I struggle with the same regret every day.
Do you have a favourite lyric on the EP?
He’s thinking how they loved like crazy and how they fought like cats. About all the things he misses, wishing the good lord would give her back”
Who did you work with on the album and how well did you work together creatively?
I was honored to have worked with some of my favorite people in the world: Liz Rose, Brad Hill, Brandon Hood, Matt McGinn, Ryan Beaver, Justin Morgan, Johnny Simmen, Robyn Collins.
Forgive me if I am being oblivious but I just watched a video of you with changed lyrics to Mama’s Broken Heart and I would love to know more please.
Ty Bentli show does a segment every morning the “10 Minute Tune” where they pick a topic for you and you have to write a song in 10 mins. It just so happened Miranda had dumped the salad that week so that was my topic : )
Please tell us about being on The Voice. What did you learn from that experience?
I learned it’s important to focus on the journey, not the end result.
What artists are you loving right now?
Sasha Sloan, Ingrid Andress, Tingsek
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Anything outside. I love to hike and just take a blanket to the park and spend the day reading and listening to music.
Do you watch netflix? If so, what should we be watching?
Netflix is the reason my social life isn’t where it should be haha I’ve been on a Planet Earth documentary kick lately. The one on netflix is brilliant.
Any plans to visit the UK?
A TOP OF THE BUCKET LIST ITEM RIGHT THERE.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us today, we appreciate it so much and are loving the EP. We really hope you come and see us soon, we love country music in the UK and we love listening, really listening.
I love ya’ll so much. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen and I hope to see ya’ll in person soon!! xxo