Over the years, American Idol has introduced fans to a slew of talented country artists. From superstars like Carrie Underwood and Scotty McCreery to rising stars like Gabby Barrett and Laine Hardy, there has never been a shortage of country music talent to come from the popular singing competition series.
This season, one country artist that stood out among other contestants was Lauren Mascitti. With a talent that is deeply rooted in traditional country music, Mascitti caught the attention of the judges and fans alike with her incredible vocals and knack for storytelling.
Unfortunately, her time on the show was cut short when producers put her head to head against her friend and fellow country songstress, Grace Leer. With two singers left and only one spot in the Top 20, the singers’ fate was left up to America’s vote. Leer ultimately moved on in the competition, but Mascitti enjoyed the opportunity of a lifetime and saw her original music resonate with fans far and wide.
Country Now caught up with Mascitti after her stint on the show to chat about her American Idol journey, her single, “God Made a Woman,” her aspirations for the future and more.
Let’s start at the beginning. What made you decide to audition for American Idol?
Well, I moved to Nashville about six years ago. I’m originally from Lewisville, Ohio, raised and adopted by my grandparents and, and so we moved six years ago. I’ve been pursuing music since I was seven years old, singing in churches in my area. I’ve been at it a really long time. I’ve been working for a lot of years to try and get my music heard. Just when you start to think something’s happening and then you’re told no so many times and you have so many doors slammed in your face. So just after a lot of that, I thought, you know, my music’s not getting heard. My career’s not really where I want it to be at this point. So, they have these American idol has Scouts that reach out if they see a video or something that you’ve posted on social media and their Scouts will say, ‘hey, you should submit your video for an audition with American Idol.’ So that happened and I talked it over with my fiance, Shawn, and with my Nana and, and they really encouraged me to do it. They’re just like, ‘you know what, you don’t have anything to lose.’ So that’s really what happened. I never dreamed I would have made it that far on the show. It’s just been a huge blessing. Obviously, you know how it turned out between the two country girls… The votes came in and unfortunately, I didn’t get to continue on into the Top 20, but, you know, the doors that have opened, even just getting this far, I don’t regret anything at all. I’m so thankful I did it and, and I’m thankful to the Lord for opening that door for me.
I read a lot of comments from fans who were disappointed that producers pitted you and Grace Leer against each other like that. How did you feel about that situation?
Mascitti: I love everybody that I’ve been in the competition with and we’ve all gotten to be really good friends and we cheer each other on…You know, things happen. And I do think it’s unfortunate that they couldn’t find room in the Top 20 for two country artists. But, that’s really where my heart’s at though, in country music and I guess I was in God’s plan. Whatever was supposed to happen happened and I’m not bitter about it. I’m just thankful to have gotten as far as I did. I can’t really say anything other than that. It’s just overall been a positive experience.
Was there anything that surprised you about being on the show?
Just the overall experience. I kind of expected people not to be so kind towards each other. Just from my experience with competitions, you know, you just get the feeling that you’re being sized up by everybody and it’s just an uncomfortable feeling. But this experience was totally different and everybody was just like a big family and we were genuinely happy whenever each other did well. [We were] cheering each other on and we became friends. That’s really the biggest surprise to me was just how kind everybody has been towards each other.
I love that you all became friends! Are you still in touch with the other contestants?
We’re still in touch. I mean, we legitimately made friends, so it’s not a show. We’ve legitimately made friends for life. It’s a really intense thing to go through with each other. We all kind of share that bond.
Did you receive any feedback or advice from one of the judges or Bobby Bones that has stuck with you?
I was just so blown away by Lionel Richie’s remarks during my audition and during Hollywood week especially. He pointed me out as a storyteller and the fact that he really loved my songwriting, that was such a huge compliment to me because he is an incredible writer and I’m such a huge fan of his. That was just a big honor for me. Then, whenever it got to Hollywood Week and I got to do a song I wrote for round three. It was really intimidating. Watching it back on TV, I saw that Lionel kept saying over and over again, like ‘good songs, strong song,’ and getting a standing ovation from all three of them. I was just a mess. So that was such a huge compliment for Lionel to say all that stuff.
That’s pretty incredible. Now, let’s chat about your original music. Can you tell me more about “God Made a Woman” and the response you’ve received after performing it on the show?
I had put out my record independently back in January. I’m a registered nurse and I put out a record completely independently and I paid for it all on my nurse’s salary. After that song was aired on television, it went up to number 18 on the iTunes country singles chart and my album as a whole that’s titled God Made a Woman went up number eight on the chart. That was just such a mind-blowing thing for me. And then, whenever the episode aired, when they gave the results of the vote and everything, my album was number four on the iTunes country charts and my song was number 27. That’s such a huge deal for me. Not only because I believe in the song and the message so much, but also the fact that it’s independent and I worked really hard to be able to put it out.
Your music definitely gives off a more traditional country music vibe. Is that something that fans will continue to hear from you?
Absolutely. My heart is really in classic music. My influences are more like Emmy Lou Harris, Crystal Gayle, Linda Ronstadt and Patsy Cline. The rule that I have for myself is, not to put out music that I wouldn’t find myself. I love traditional country music. I really want to be one of the ones here in Nashville to help bring back that traditional sound. Everybody’s got their different musical tastes, but I really do feel like there’s an audience out there that wants to hear more of that traditional sound. So I’m gearing towards that.
Speaking of being a registered nurse, are you back to working now? Will you be treating coronavirus patients?
I’m definitely going back to work. I love my nurse sisters and brothers and for sure I want to be there backing them up. I’m a med surge nurse, which is basically a floor nurse and so we will be getting the COVID patients.
Thank you for your service! That is so brave of you to work on the front lines. I read that you are engaged. Congratulations! Are you also planning a wedding in the midst of all of this?
Mascitti: We’re not planning a wedding right now. It would be kind of hard to do that cause we don’t know when people are going to be able to gather, but with everything that’s been going on with American Idol and stuff and he’s also a really brilliant singer/songwriter. Up until now, he’s also been touring himself and playing shows and a couple of bands that he’s in. So once everything settles, well we’ll get to planning something.
Do you have your sights set on any big, bucket list items once life returns to normal?
If I debuted at the Opry, I would die happy. That is the ultimate goal for me. That is hollowed ground. I’ve dreamed of having a Grand Ole Opry debut my entire life and that would be the ultimate for me.
Let’s put it out there in the world and make it happen! Last question for you – what’s next for you?
Well, since my song got such a great response on American Idol, “God Made a Woman,” we’re putting it out to radio. I’ve never had a single out to radio before, but we’re putting it out. So if people want to start calling into their local country and Americana stations and requesting it, that would help me out a lot.
Fans can keep up with Lauren Mascitti on Instagram.