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Music City Musings - Lauren Christine

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Lauren Christine was inspired by Southern family roots and an upbringing in rural Warren County, New Jersey. The singer-songwriter has always been drawn to country music and its honest, grassroots message of hometowns and heartbreaks. From a young age, Lauren was influenced by 1950s and 1960s country and rock, particularly the music of Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. So, is it any wonder she would find her way to Music City?

Music City Musings - Lauren Christine

MCN: In a town teeming with talent what makes you standout in Music City?

LC: Every artist in Nashville has their own story, and I find that mine is very unique because I studied classical voice before I came to Nashville; I actually have a Bachelor of Music degree in classical vocal performance. A lot of times when I tell people this, they ask, "How does that have anything to do with country music?" While there's obvious differences between classical and country music, the classical vocal training is actually a good base for any type of singing. I spent a lot of time learning how to use my voice in a healthy way. So many of my fellow singers in Nashville struggle with constant vocal issues, and I try to explain to them that the voice is actually a very delicate instrument.

Once you've abused your vocal cords, it is extremely difficult (and sometimes impossible) to reverse the damage. I try to take care of my voice because my goal is longevity in my career. Going through music school also helped me learn how to learn songs quickly and accurately, which has turned out to be a big help in taking requests during my shows in downtown Nashville. There was a time I really wanted to drop out of music school and move to Nashville sooner, but I guess everything happens for a reason because finishing school has turned out to be a big advantage for me as a working musician in Nashville.

MCN: What is the most significant musical experience you have been a part of - or witnessed - in Nashville, Tennessee?

LC: My most significant musical experience in Nashville was recording my first album in 2017. I didn't have much experience in the studio when I decided to record, and I learned so much about the whole process. I was fortunate enough to work with some of the best studio musicians in Nashville, and I was completely blown away with how, after only hearing my songs once through, they completely brought my music to life; they imagined my vision for the album exactly how I'd hoped.

Now, planning for my second album, I have a much better idea of how the process works. I had some great people helping me produce my first album, so now on the second one I feel much more prepared to take the lead on it. It's not just the recording that goes into the album; that's just the beginning. Then there's the mixing and mastering of the tracks, taking pictures for the album cover and booklet, getting the physical CDs made, releasing the album on digital streaming platforms... it's a lot more work than most people realize.

MCN: I recently heard Nashville described as a dreamer's town. Can you encapsulate the size and the scope of the dream you brought with you to Music City?

LC: In my hometown, I was a big fish in a small pond. Once I went on to pursue music in college, I felt like a small fish in a big pond because I was surrounded by people who were just as talented, if not more talented, than I was. It was really intimidating, and it pushed me to work harder and be a better musician. Once I moved to Nashville, that big pond became an ocean. I'm completely surrounded by people with all kinds of talents. Some of them are really strong instrumentalists, some are powerhouse singers, some are brilliant songwriters, but everyone is incredibly talented. I almost felt unprepared to be a part of the music scene in Nashville when I first moved here, and honestly looking back I was very unprepared. Even though I had just been through four years of intense musical training, I had so much to learn about the industry.

My dream, coming to Nashville, was basically just to become as successful as possible in whatever area I found myself to be the strongest, whether that be singing, writing, etc. I thought I'd figure out what my strengths were as soon as I got to town, but I quickly realized that Nashville is the type of town that takes years and years to find true success in. Some people call it a five-year town, some call it an eight-year town, but the general consensus is that it takes years to reach the point you want to be at. I came to town with big dreams, and I don't think those dreams are any smaller now after three years of living and working here; I do think that my understanding of what it takes to reach those dreams has changed.

MCN: What are you currently promoting?

LC: I released my debut album on August 11, 2017, called "Rebel Soul." I have been trying hard to promote the songs on that album via Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, iTunes, ReverbNation, and also through live performances at writers rounds. The album has twelve original songs, all written by myself (the last song on the album is a co-write). I'm hoping to start releasing some new music soon as well.

MCN: Nashville is an amazing place. Many call the Tennessee capitol the "It" City while some say we're experiencing growing pains. Either way, it's a fun topic of conversation and the subject always elicits strong opinions. So we ask - what do you love and what do you loathe about the town known as Music City?

LC: I can say right off the bat (and I think everyone else in Nashville will agree) that I absolutely can't stand how bad the traffic has gotten. I can leave the house an hour early for a show downtown (which should take me no more than half an hour to get to), and I'll still barely make it on time. And this is usually at 10 in the morning or 2 in the afternoon! It should be way out of rush hour range, and still you'll hit an accident or road construction. I don't feel like Nashville was ever meant to accommodate this many people, and the city is having to widen the roads and complete other massive construction projects because of it.

I also feel like the classic "Southern charm" of the city is starting to vanish, as people from all over the country are moving here and impressing their own cultures on the city, instead of embracing the culture already here. While it's great that we have so much diversity in food, music, etc., I feel like it's causing Nashville to lose its "smalltown feel," something I really loved about the city when I moved here. Probably the thing I love most about Nashville is how accessible great live entertainment is. There are always fantastic bands stopping in Nashville on tour, and tickets are often as cheap as $10 or $15. You don't have to go to concerts at the Bridgestone Arena or Nissan Stadium to get good live music.

MCN: When you find yourself in Nashville and the surrounding region and you are out looking for a bite to eat - what is your go to place to dine?

LC: I currently live in the Donelson area, and there's a great Irish restaurant called McNamara's that serves really good food and has live music. I was never a huge fan of Irish cuisine, but the food there is really good, and the staff has always been very pleasant as well. If you're more south of Nashville, near Murfreesboro, there's a live music venue there called Hank's Honky Tonk. I play there occasionally, and they also have really good food, not just bar food, which is what you would typically expect from a place like that. I really like the grilled shrimp plate! Again, the staff there has always been wonderful.


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