Lauren Alaina was the runner-up on season 10 of "American Idol" six years ago. She released her debut album Wildflower shortly after and her music career didn't quite catch at first. It's also been six years since she released that album and in January 2017, she put out Road Less Traveled which saw Alaina come into her own as an artist with quite a lot to say. She suffered from personal problems both with herself and at home. She's rising to the top as her single of the same name became her highest charting song in the country genre. Though she has been around for six years, the Academy of Country Music Awards still considers her a new artist where she is nominated for New Female Artist of the Year at the 2017 ceremony. Here are 5 things you didn't know about Lauren Alaina leading up to the ACM Awards.
On her debut album Wildflower, Alaina didn't have much creative input much like previous "Idol" contestants creating their first record. It was the recent follow-up Road Less Traveled that Alaina had a hand in writing every track on the album with her name listed first, meaning she wrote the bulk of the songs. She's gone through an eating disorder, her parents divorced, and she grew up. She found who she wanted to be as an artist and opened up in a brutally honest way on the record. She had her name on over 300 songs that didn't make the final cut.
Lauren Alaina holds special needs students dear to her heart. In 2012, she became an ambassador for the Special Olympics which were held that year. She's coached teams and loves children. Had music not worked out for her, she would have pursued a career in children's medicine or special needs education.
Both Alaina and her mother have worked in the food industry and know first hand what it's like to work in that difficult business where tips play a role in someone's income. In a world that needs those tips to either have extra cash or to fulfill minimum wage requirements, the struggle is real. Alaina's mother worked as a waitress and one of Alaina's previous jobs was at Cici's Pizza. Now, she makes sure she tips generously knowing that servers depend on those tips.
Lauren Alaina almost didn't make it to the finale of "American Idol" in 2011. She had suffered from polyps on her vocal cords since she was young but an unknown fact about Alaina then was that she was also suffering from bulimia. That has also affected her cords and she blew out one leading up to the finale. She was put on vocal rest and had medical attention throughout. It was said at the time that nerves were the cause but now knowing her past medical condition combined with the stress, it's evident that the eating disorder played a role as she was told later at the peak of the disease that she would never be able to sing again if she didn't seek treatment.
In a world that still stigmatizes mental illness and eating disorders, Lauren Alaina battled bulimia since she was 11 years old. Appearing on "American Idol" only fueled her condition especially reading harsh criticism as a teenager with existing issues. Her cords bled and were consistently strained. She then began losing her hair and that still wasn't enough for her to seek help. It was when she found out that she could permanently damage her voice and wouldn't be able to sing for a career. She then sought treatment at 18 years old and began working on her confidence. She is now opening up about her struggles and wrote the deeply personal album that is Road Less Traveled about her experiences. Instead of being ashamed of that painful past, she's using her platform to reach out to those who may be suffering from the same problem. Her best advice to all is to treat oneself with kindness.