Lauren Alaina Dishes on Summer Highlights and Her ‘Respect’ for Lady Gaga
Lauren Alaina has indulged in a pretty fun summer following her runner-up honor on Season 10 of 'American Idol.' She's been touring the country these past five months with her 'Idol' gang -- Scotty, Pia, Haley and James, among others -- shared the stage with country veteran Martina McBride at the annual CMA fest, and even wrapped up recording for her upcoming debut, 'Wildflower' (which we're assuming sounds as sweet as her cover looks).
Her bustling summer, of course, includes hanging out with new bestie Pia Toscano at a Red Sox game and picking up charming East Coast guys. "I approached him and told him I thought he was cute," she casually beams about spending the day with peers at Fenway Park.
Now it seems as though this hustle-and-bustle may spill over into the fall season as we steadily approach the release of her first album -- which hits stores Oct. 11. Alaina takes time in-between getting her makeup and hair done to running through sound check and meet-and-greets to chat with PopCrush; she dishes on some of her "upbeat" tracks on the album, a collaboration (or not?) with 'Idol' alum Kelly Clarkson, Lady Gaga as a mentor, and who she would love to collaborate with in the pop world. Hint: It's someone around her age!
How are you and the crew celebrating once the American Idol Live! Tour ends next week?
We already had a little party type thing that everyone came to and we all just kind of hung out .. It wasn't a sad party because it wasn't the end. I don't know if we're having another one or not. I believe we are …[Someone tells her they are] ... Yes we are having another one! We'll probably all be crying at that one. So we just have a little party and all get together and hang out.
What will you miss about touring together all summer?
Well, it's funny because when we first started on tour I was super sad that I was away from my family and just knowing that I was going to be gone for five months. And then now that we have nine days before we go home -- or something like that -- I'm sad [again] because I'm going to miss these people. They're like my family now. We were all talking about it on the bus the other day and we're all crying after a show. I thought [the tour] was going to take forever and it's just flown by, literally, I don't even know how it's gone.
Well, you guys are clearly having fun, so I'm sure that's why it's flown by...
Yeah, I was just at the Boston Red Sox game [Friday] and Pia went with me -- we're best friends. We hung out, and I met a cute guy [Laughs]. I had a really good time.
So … Did you give him your number?
Um … I asked him for his, yeah. I don't think he knew who I was! But his friend did -- I think his friend did. They were looking at me trying to figure out if it was me or not and they weren't sure. And then I approached him and told him I thought he was cute, and he asked me if I was from 'American Idol' and I said 'Yes.' And then we hung out during the game. He's a really cool guy. He's from New York.
I noticed when you sing your debut single, 'Like My Mother Does' live, and when you sang 'God Is Great' with Martina McBride at the CMA Music festival, you deliver the slide technique between some notes, which seems to work really well with your voice. Is that something you discovered on your own, or something introduced to you by your vocal producer?
I don't even know what it is you're talking about. [Laughs]. I guess I just do it naturally. People ask me about it all the time, and I've never noticed that -- I still don't understand what I do. I don't do it on purpose, I just do it I guess.
Tell us about that moment when you sang 'God Is Great' with Martina McBride at the CMA Music Festival. At one point you even mouthed, "Oh My Gosh." What was going through your head when you were on stage in front of 70,000 people?
Well, Martina McBride is one of the most respected female vocalists in country music, and to even be able to sing with her in front of 10 people is incredible ... It's says [something] for her to let me do that, and she let me. It was just awesome to know that she would let me do something like that … It made me feel cool. [Laughs]. And then there were so many people there, they were screaming for us and it was just one of the coolest things that's ever happened to me. It was awesome.
Lady Gaga was a mentor on 'American Idol' during the week when you guys had to sing material from the songbook of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. What did you think of her being your mentor and how was her advice helpful, if at all?
Well, when I found out that Lady Gaga was gonna to be there I didn't know how -- cause she's so unique, she has her own thing going -- I didn't know how she would be able to help us in any way. I don't mean that disrespectfully, but I just mean that she's so unique and has her own thing going, I didn't know how she would be able to help. Because me and Scotty are country and then Haley's like a bluesy type and James is a rock singer so I was curious to see how it went.
She gave excellent advice and helped me a lot. I was so surprised. She really knows her stuff. I was just listening to her help other people. It was just really cool to see that she has a great knowledge for music, she just has her own thing going. It's not like she's limited to what she does, she knows a lot about music. It was really cool to see that. I have a lot of respect [for her].
Did you watch the Video Music Awards last week?
I did not get to, but I heard that Justin Bieber won, so I tweeted at him and told him 'congratulations.'
Did he tweet back?
Well, I'm sure he will be tweeting back at you very soon ... If you could collaborate with any pop artist, who would it be and why?
Him! Because he's young and he has a really big following, because his fan base is humongous. They're young people, and that's the crowd I want to appeal to -- is young people. And that's who he appeals to so I feel like it would be a great collaboration. No disrespect to his girlfriend!
The very first 'American Idol,' Kelly Clarkson, recently told her fans in a video stream that she has another 'Idol' alum singing on one of her tracks on her upcoming album. So I have to ask: Is it you?
I don't know … You'll have to wait and see when it comes out.
'Like My Mother Does' is a tearjerker. So how does the ballad compare to the rest of your album, tempo-wise and stylistically?
I tried to get a bunch of different types of songs, you know. So I have other ones that are slow like that and then I have some upbeat ones. I try to switch it up.
Listen to 'Like My Mother Does'
So what about ‘Georgia Peaches’? Is that more of an uptempo song then?
It's very upbeat. It's a song that people will dance to. I really like it.
Would you consider it as your next single?
I really don't even know what my next single is yet -- we haven't discussed it yet. But I can let you know!
After Scotty is done promoting his debut album, 'Clear as Day,' he says he's planning on going back to school to finish his senior year. What are your plans? Do you see yourself continuing to record, or going back and finishing your junior and senior year of high school?
Since my album is finished I'm not going to be recording for a very long time. I do my schooling online through my school, so I'm technically still a student there. I'm going to sit in on classes but I obviously can't attend it everyday because I'll be doing other stuff. But I think I'm going to cheer at some of the high school football games still and do some of the stuff I did last year.