Interview: Lauren Jenkins at The Long Road Festival

We first saw Lauren Jenkins in the UK during C2C Festival just days before her debut album No Saint was released. Having had tracks already out, Lauren was met with an already eager fan base whom had already memorised all the words to those songs. Her introduction here was so well met that she immediately booked to come back to see us in September.

We at BOON caught her set at The Long Road Festival in Leicestershire. An act that most people wanted to see again or for the first time, Lauren was on the main stage (Rhinestone Stage) on the festivals last day.

Lauren’s music is quite different to most country artists, a slight Colbie Caillat way about her but in a more strong/dark way, Lauren varies her music subjects with pain, trauma, friends who suffer from drug use and also has up beat happy tunes. Her voice, raspy and raw is stunning.

Lauren sadly lost a dear friend days before her UK return. Kylie Rae Harris who was also a country singer/songwriter lost her life in a fatal crash and a brave Lauren graced the stage despite this. Showing her love for her friend, another brave moment came from Lauren when she kicked off her set with Kylie’s song 20 Years From Now. A painful song to hear due to it’s lyrics “God, I hope I’m still around twenty years from now” it is a wonder how Lauren got through it but this beautiful and emotional moment showed not just how professional Lauren is to keep going but just how human she is, how relatable and how vulnerable. The audience supported her then from that moment on and led an audience clapping moment when she couldn’t sing. To start her set with that tribute was a moment we won’t forget and Lauren has certainly won the hearts of many.

It wasn’t a surprise that her London date the following week was sold out. Headlining the Thousand Island venue, Lauren blew fans away with her intimate set (which was almost minus a guitar thanks to the airline) and played songs off her No Saint album.

We caught up with Lauren at The Long Road after her set. Rumours of her interviews being cancelled due to her emotional state circled but ever the pro, Lauren granted them all and gave her time generously. Wearing a dazzling, sparkling gold sequined jacket, top and jeans, Lauren looked like a movie star. Ridiculously beautiful, Lauren is also a kind person and very easy going. Asking about her jacket she says ” I love buying used clothing, it is the only clothing that I buy”

Sitting on a picnic table backstage at The Long Road, Lauren arrived and greeted us with a hug. Welcoming her back to the UK, I asked how it had been so far? “Amazing, are you kidding? It’s gorgeous.” And on C2C she responds “It Was incredible. I think there were a bit of nerves of ‘will people show up? Will anybody be there except for my two friends that live in Germany?’ So playing that first night in Berlin and having people sing songs back to me before the album was even released. I was like ‘what is happening?’ I was crying, it was amazing. Same thing playing at the O2. It was incredible and I told my management that I wanted to come back as soon as possble and I was shocked when they said, how about September?”

Lauren mentioned hearing people singing her songs back to her before the album was even out. This seems to be a running theme for artists who play C2C whilst relatively unknown. When Maren Morris played C2C for the first time, it was THE first time that she had ever heard people sing My Church back to her, so asking Lauren if we were (well Berlin) were the first ever audience to sing her songs back to her she said “Yeah, there has been a couple of experiences with maybe one or two people, just a handful of people at shows back in the states but just walking into a city for the first time and playing and having a complete audience singing the songs, yeah, that was the first time ever”.

If you haven’t listened to Lauren’s album No Saint yet then I highly recommend a listen. As I mentioned above, she has a pretty gorgeous , raspy voice and her music is daring, edgy and cool. Life must have changed quite a bit since the albums release, especially since you will be hard pressed to find much negativity about it. “Life has been crazy since No Saint” Lauren smiles ” its been a whirlwind. It’s been a lot of touring which has been really fun. I have played the Opry every single month since March, which is cool and historic. Now I am touring and writing a lot for the second record

Speaking of touring and just witnessing a very powerful set – I asked what song in general has the best response on stage, I had noticed that Payday met a fun crowd as is a very uptempo tune. “It depends on the market, it depends on the type of show. Sometimes it’s Running Out of Road, sometimes it’s My Bar, Payday. It really is different show to show.”

Of the emotional tracks and slightly darker tracks such as Blood, I asked if she was ever nervous releasing any of the tracks especially as some are so close to home. “No Saint for sure was a tough one to decide play live, I had that kind of ‘Oh crap’ moment that I had to play it live but I named the album No Saint so now I gotta play it haha. Blood has also been one that I don’t play very often”  Sadly she did not play it at The Long Road but hopefully when we next catch her.

A few months back Lauren had her vehicle broken into with some of her belongings taken including her writings and more. Asking her if anything was ever found she says “No, so I was on my way to a show with the Wild Feathers and the car got broken into. Nothing got recovered, it is what it is, I hope they are enjoying reading my journals and diaries. A lot of people were super kind and gave me clothes and helped replace things that could not be replaced so that was really incredible and moving”.

With Women in Country Music really starting to make an impact regardless if they get airplay, I asked who Lauren admired currently. “Big fan of Jillian Jacqueline, Kassi Ashton, Maren, Miranda. Caylee Hammack, I have hung out with her a couple of times. She is cool, she is good people.”

We love all those artists and Caylee is on our need to check out list, so I guess we better get a move on.

I closed our interview with telling Lauren just how beautiful her tribute to her friend was. Thanking me, you could see in her eyes just how hard she was fighting back the tears.

Lauren may not realise just how much she connected to the audience that day, we are a sympathetic crowd who love the realness on stage, we appreciate it and we support it. If you can’t get through a song, we will be there to help you through it.

Asking her to come back, she said how awesome we are and she hopes to come back. We did chat about Logan Mize for a bit, whom I had no idea she was personal friends with and as I went on about how he was so beautiful in person and crushed a can with one hand, she says “Oh, I will tell him, we are good friends



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