Country Next: Lauren Weintraub
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Lauren Weintraub.
Lauren Weintraub; Photo by Mick Bodie
Lauren Weintraub may be a triplet, but she certainly stands out from the pack when it comes to her musical talents. The rising pop-country singer/songwriter grew up near Boston, playing sports alongside her two same-age brothers and older brother. But it didn’t take long before she realized her strength was in the arts.
After dabbling in dance and theater, the spitfire wrote her first song. The songwriting stuck. And after high school, Weintraub made her way to Nashville. Tenn., where she briefly attended Belmont University. From there, Weintraub was offered a deal with Brandy Clark to be the flagship songwriter on Clark’s publishing company, All BC Music. Now signed to Virgin Records, it’s only time before Weintraub’s name is heard around the world.
Weintraub released her debut EP entitled This Is Your Brain On Love on November 4. The six-track, offering, co-written entirely by Weintraub, puts her vulnerable lyricism and universal vocals on display as she shares the emotions young hearts go through when falling in love and getting burned for the first time before coming through on the other side.
This Is Your Brain On Love, which includes a co-write with Taylor Swift‘s longtime collaborator/producer, Nathan Chapman, provides a solid introduction to Weintraub as she takes her music career to the next level.
“This Is Your Brain On Love is the culmination of the lessons I’ve learned in falling in and out of love in my teens and early twenties,” Weintraub shared in a press release. “I could not be more proud of these six tracks that made the cut for my debut EP. They cover everything from the ‘honeymoon phase’ of a relationship to the gut-wrenching heartbreak that comes with a breakup. The entire project describes how blind, crazy, angry, obsessed, and euphoric love can make you feel — but regardless of the hurt, we do it all over again and again? We absolutely do. Welcome to: your brain on love.”
Country Now caught up with Weintraub to learn more about her background, journey in music, and This Is Your Brain On Love EP.
Read on to find out more about Lauren Weintraub in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you begin a career in country music?
Well, I’m a triplet. Growing up, it was, me, my two brothers and my older brother. I grew up doing whatever they did, like baseball, soccer, and basketball. But, I quickly realized I had no hand-eye coordination. That was not going to work out. So, my parents put me in dance and theater. That’s where my love for music started. I did theater for a long time. Then, I wrote my first song when I was 14 in high school. I caught the bug. I knew I wanted to be on stage my whole life, but it was a switch from telling someone else’s story to telling mine. And here we are now.
Do your brothers share your talent for music?
Growing up, it was fun. I was never bored because I had two built-in playmates. We would annoy each other all of the time. That was amazing, and I feel lucky for that. I’m super close with my older brother too. They are all musical in a sense. My triplet brothers play the drums. Then my older brother was a ballet dancer. He does pointe and plays piano. He’s also a photographer. So, I feel like we all got that creative bug. My mom is a painter. So, I feel like that’s where it comes from.
What was it like for your parents to see your growth unfold as an artist?
I’m lucky enough to have the most supportive parents in the world. I know it’s a one-of-a-kind gift. For them to let me go to music school and then drop out of music school was a huge thing. Being there to encourage me when I was younger, when I wrote my first song, was a huge part of the creative process. It’s important to have someone there to tell you to keep going. So, for them, it must be pretty cool to see it all coming to fruition.
How has your songwriting grown since writing your first one?
When I wrote my first song, I was super young. I had never been in love or kissed a boy. I was writing stories because I used to write short stories. I was turning them into songs and writing about things I didn’t know. But, I feel like what matured my songwriting was moving to Nashville and writing hundreds of songs with hundreds of people who were better at it than I was. I also gained the vulnerability and courage to write about my own life and experiences. I feel like that’s when my music started to connect. There’s a direct correlation, I feel like. When you are honest, you get that back, and it’s been special to see that happen through my music.
Tell me about your experience at college and the phone call you received from Brandy Clark when you signed a publishing deal.
I had my first publishing meeting with Big Machine. They were like, ‘We want you to meet Brandy Clark.’ The only time Brandy could meet me was during one of my classes. So, I took this quiz in five seconds flat and walked up to my teacher. I was like, ‘I have to meet with Brandy Clark.’ He was like, ‘Yep. You should do that.’ So, I skipped class to meet with her. I’m glad I did it. Then there were a lot of conversations between my parents and me. But, I figured it was the best thing for me to put my eggs in one basket and try to go full force on that.
How has your experience working alongside Brandy Clark and your recent deal with Virgin Records been so far?
It’s been amazing. Brandy is one of the kindest, warmest, funniest people I know. Songs of hers like, ‘Love Can Go to Hell,’ are the reasons why I started writing these songs. So it was a full-circle moment. It’s been cool to have her there to be my little song lyric fairy godmother. I can always learn from her, call her, and ask for advice. Virgin Records is the best. They have been such a dream deal. They give the artist so much creative freedom. I feel very empowered to be my full self with them and not hold any piece of myself back, which is exciting.
Congratulations on releasing your new EP, This Is Your Brain On Love. How does it feel to have it out and ready for the fans?
It feels really good. I spent almost two years releasing music through the Internet, YouTube and all of these platforms. I got to a point where I was like, ‘This is great. I now have almost half a million monthly listeners.’ I have people who will listen to the songs I put out. I feel like it’s finally time for a cohesive project that I’m proud of. I think that was an important thing to do. I think it comes through on the EP.
Would you say your EP is a break-up album or were the songs on there about anyone in particular?
All of my songs are, as I like to say, non-fiction. But the cool thing about this project is that it encapsulates every piece of the process. So there’s a song about having a crush and then a nostalgic song about your first love. There’s one about trying to get over somebody you can’t get over. Then, finally, one where you feel empowered to get over them. I feel like it takes you through the steps of it all. So, there’s a song for everybody on there.
Tell me about the inspiration behind your track, ‘Ex Appeal.’
There was a Songwriter’s Hall of Fame dinner. I was there with my producer Daniel Ross. We were at a bar afterward, and he was like, ‘I have this idea called ‘Ex Appeal.’ I think you would kill it.’ So, we tried to write it that night and came up with a couple of lines. But it was pretty late. So, we had a couple of writes with Jessie Jo Dillon and Laura Veltz and brought out the landscape of a song to them. They filled it in and made it all make sense. It’s one of my favorite songs on the project too. I feel like it’s so relatable. I love how clever of a hook that was that Daniel thought of. It’s a fun one to perform live, for sure.
How about ‘Before We Knew Too Much.’ How did that one come about?
I love that one. I feel like that’s the one soft spot on the album. It’s such a nostalgic story about my first-ever high school love. Just at that time, when you think you are on top of the world. Like, you’re going to get married, but you haven’t experienced the hardships of adulthood. You think that anything is possible. And you’re kind of reflecting on that time of life when you were in love with somebody before the world got big and scary.
Is there anyone you gravitate toward when you’re listening to music?
I grew up loving Sara Bareilles, Ed Sheeran, and all those songwriters. Then, when I was 17, I saw Lori McKenna. She changed my perspective on songwriting. That’s when I realized I love details in songs. So right now, I’m into Maren Morris and Molly Henderson. I’ve always loved P!nk. I don’t discriminate when it comes to genre, but I’ve always gravitated toward the singer/songwriter. It’s my favorite thing.
What do you want fans to take away from your EP?
I want fans to get a peek into who I am full. This is the first time I am giving them more than one song at a time. The biggest emotional thing is vulnerability doesn’t equal weakness; It equals power.
Fans can keep up with Lauren Weintraub on Instagram.
Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Country Now, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.