Country Next: Lauren Watkins
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Lauren Watkins.
Lauren Watkins is deeply rooted in the world of country music. Hailing from her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, the rising country star is rapidly making her way to stardom.
Having started her musical journey at a young age, graduating from Ole Miss, and now pursuing music as a full-time career, Watkins has accumulated an abundance of experiences to draw inspiration from. The rising star has specifically delved into her time at college, putting her personal experiences on display through authentic and honest songwriting.
The emerging artist takes pride in crafting lyrics that convey profound emotions as her passionate and dynamic voice carries her through performances night after night.
New EP Coming Soon
Lauren Watkins is currently in the midst of headlining a three-night Nashville residency show dubbed the “Heartbreak Supper Club.” Beginning on October 17 and October 31 at Nashville’s Springwater Supper Club, the residency will wrap up with one final performance at a new location, Barstool Nashville, on November 14. This stint of shows has given Watkins the platform to showcase tracks from her highly anticipated EP Introducing: The Heartbreak, which is set to release on November 17.
In honor of these recent events, Watkins caught up with Country Now to talk more about her musical journey, her brand-new EP, her personal background, and more.
Read on to find out more about Lauren Watkins in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you begin a career in country music?
Well, where do I begin? I grew up in Nashville actually. I was born and raised there. A lot of my family is from Nashville, so I really just grew up around country. I have three sisters and my older sister started singing and writing songs really young. I kind of followed her lead and then we started singing together. We did that our whole childhood. When we got old enough, we started playing in little restaurants, bars, or anywhere that people would listen. We would bring our guitars, set up a little amp that we saved up money for, and just play. When I got into high school we started singing in church and then I just continued to constantly sing and play. When it was time to go to college, I kind of took a break from music. My sister kept on doing it and she stayed in Nashville, but I just needed a break from Nashville. I decided to go to Ole Miss, which is where a lot of my family went. I went there and had the time of my life. Ultimately, it gave me a lot of stuff to write about because I had my heart broken a few times and that kind of thing. I started writing songs when I was in college, fell in love with it, and totally missed playing music live, so I started playing shows again. That is when I realized that there was nothing more that I wanted to do than to go back to Nashville once I graduated and do it full-time. I met Nicolle Galyon and she introduced me to awesome songwriters in Nashville. I moved back to town and hit the ground running. Then Nicolle signed me to a publishing deal and a record deal. Now I’m here and I’m trying to call it a career.
Who are some artists that influence your music today?
So many. I think I have a lot of different influencers for different reasons. For example, Kacey Musgraves really taught me how to write songs. I totally studied her music. I was probably 12 or 13 when her first album Same Trailer Different Park came out and I was totally obsessed with it. She is like the queen of one-liners and I was obsessed with that. I’ve always just loved her songwriting. Going back even further, my dad listened to Alan Jackson and George Jones. Those were like two of his favorites. I just loved all kinds of country from every era. Miranda Lambert, I love her. My mom was a big Sheryl Crow fan. I was around so much diversity with artists. I even loved listening to piano-pop Sara Bareilles and Ingrid Michaelson growing up. I have a lot of influences all across the board.
Can you explain how your song “The Table” came about?
Oh my gosh, I wrote that song about exactly a year ago on a beach writing retreat. I was with some of my favorite songwriters – The Warren Brothers and Nicolle Galyon. This song was one that came from a conversation. Nicolle and I were talking and I used that phrase, “on the table.” We both looked at each other and had that moment of “Oh, sit down. We’ve got to write this one.” That’s exactly what we did. Me, Nicolle, and The Warren Brothers sat around and wrote it. We wrote it really quick and it all just kind of fell out, it became such a story song. Specifically, a love story from start to finish. I love it and I am so proud of it.
You recently released the music video for “The Table” and in the title you included “(From The House On 4th).” What is the special meaning behind this house?
“The House On 4th” came from my song “Ole Miss” that came out earlier this year. There’s a line in that song “We used to take Highway 7 / To get to that house on 4th.” For me, those are some really iconic streets in Oxford, Mississippi, which is where I went to college. I could’ve used so many different street names because I have so many streets that stick out to me from my time at school there. Streets that me and my friends lived on, guys that I dated lived on, or roads that we used to drive on all the time. In every music video, we’ve tried to use a location that was special to me or at least mimic a location that was special to me. That’s where “The House On 4th” came from. We used a house in Nashville because it’s kind of hard to get to Oxford, Mississippi in the middle of the week. “The House On 4th” is a reflection on my time in Oxford and how all of these songs are pulling from experience of all different stages of my life. My time in Ole Miss is a huge place where I pull inspiration from.
How will you celebrate the release of your new EP?
Well, I’m going to be on the road, which is the most exciting place to be when you are releasing new music. I’ll get to play all of the songs live right as they are coming out. I’ll celebrate with my team because they’ll be out with me. We will probably have a drink or two and then blast the songs in the car on the way to the next city. It’ll be great.
You currently have a three-night residency in Nashville. What does it mean to be playing these shows in your hometown?
First of all, it’s been like the coolest thing. It’s so much fun and such a learning experience too. It’s my first headlining shows ever. All year and all my life that I’ve been playing music, I’ve gotten to play such cool rooms for other people’s fans. When I open a show for a headliner, I get to play to other people’s fans and see new faces who normally wouldn’t come see me. That is so fun and special, but with this show, it’s my own fans that are showing up to come see me. That’s something that I’ve never got to experience before. On the second night of the residency, we packed out the bar so much that we actually have to find a new location for the third night. I totally did not see that coming and it was so unexpected, but I’m really proud of that and what I’ve built this year. It’s also another way for me to try new things in a show, build a show, and play songs that I wouldn’t normally get to play when I’m on the road. The shows are also in my hometown and it just doesn’t get better than that.
Outside of creating music, what are some of your favorite things to do?
Music kind of consumes my life, but I love my friends. I’ve got such good people in my life. I love to hang out with my friends, hunt, and fish. My favorite thing to do on the weekends when I’m home from the road is go to my parents’ house and invite friends over. Since they live in town, it’s kind of the hub for where we like to hang out, cook dinner, and grill. It’s really fun.
What qualities do you have that make you a standout musician?
I guess the biggest thing I try to do is be honest in my music. I try to not overthink what I’m writing and say what I’m actually feeling and what comes to mind. I think that is what everyone in country is trying to do, but I hope I can really carry it out. I just love country music and I am truly doing it out of a passion for country music.
What is some of the best advice that you have received as an artist?
I think the thing that has stuck with me the most, especially this year, where there are so many firsts and so many new things, is that you don’t have to try so hard. That has just totally stuck with me because as an artist, it is so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, what the next trend is, and what I need to be doing next. Someone told me a long time ago that you don’t have to try so hard, just be yourself. It is so simple, but it’s true. I’ve tried to think of that every single day because all I can do is show up and do what I know how to do, which is play a song and write a song. Not trying so hard has been really helpful to me.
What do you want fans to take away from your music?
Hopefully, a lot of big emotions. I definitely write all of my songs in times of big feelings and they all come from a deep-rooted place. I hope people can feel that and I hope that it makes them feel something about their own life. I’ll write a song and then I’ll end up getting to play it months later, and as soon as I see people in the crowd reacting to it, it makes me remember the emotions that I had when I wrote it. I hope people take that away from it. I also hope that they hear the country in that because I’m just out here trying to write country music.
Fans can keep up with Lauren Watkins on Instagram.
I am a senior at Kansas State University, where I am majoring in Communication Studies. Throughout my time at college, I’ve had the opportunity to publish a few of my pieces in the University’s newspaper, The Collegian, and I’ve created my own website. I’ve previously interned for Country Insider, an iHeartMedia-owned country music industry newsletter and I am currently interning for CountryNow, a Red Light Management owned publication. I’m very passionate about music and writing, so I hope to find myself in a career that incorporates both of these passions.