Lauren Alaina

Lauren Alaina

Photo courtesy of UMG Nashville

Lauren Alaina is owning her time in the spotlight these days. On the heels of her long-awaited sophomore album, the singer has scored her first-ever Top 10 hit this week, as the album's title cut, "Road Less Traveled," breaks into the upper radio rotation. The song, a co-write with Jesse Frasure and pop singer Meghan Trainor, features heavy pop-bent production with an empowering message. "March to the rhythm of a different drum. Why do we analyze, break down and criticize the crazy ones?" she frets over a vibrant beat and syrupy-sweet melody. "If you trust your rebel heart, ride it into battle. Don't be afraid, take the road less traveled. Wear out your boots and kick up the gravel. Don't be afraid, take the road less traveled on," she later declares on the hook.

“‘Road Less Traveled’ is about what I was saying to myself, and what I was hearing other people say and how I was interpreting that and how I was letting that affect me. When I wrote this song, I wrote it a long time ago. It was one of the earlier ones that I wrote for the album,” she explains of the song. “I was a broken 18 or 19-year-old girl when I wrote this song, and I needed to hear those lyrics. I was writing them, so I think deep down I knew that that’s how I needed to feel, but I did not feel that way when I wrote it. I wanted other people to feel the way I didn’t think was possible for me to feel, and that’s why I wrote it because I didn’t want other people to go through the feelings that I was going through at the time. It’s just like the pressures of being good enough, regardless of what that means for me. I didn’t feel thin enough. I didn’t feel blonde enough. I didn’t think I was pretty enough. I didn’t think I was this. I didn’t think I was that, because there were people online that made comments about my weight and comments about my hair color. When that started, I was 16 and it was hard. But it’s the same for a lot of people in school and in their work place, it’s like we all go through those insecurities and how we overcome them is our story.”

“[I've] grown so much as a person, a songwriter and an artist in that time. These songs are a true representation of who I am, where I’ve been and where I’m going," she said of the accompanying record, which follows 2011's debut Wildflower. "This album has pushed me to accept who I am and be 100-percent honest about it. I can’t wait to share my stories, my music and myself with the world.”

This year, Alaina hops aboard Martina McBride's Love Unleashed Tour, which includes such dates as New York City's Playstation Theatre on March 9 (click here for tickets). The tour also includes Post Monroe and Maggie Rose.

Also, in the works, Alaina stars in a new movie suitably called Road Less Traveled. No premiere date has yet been set. “I am so excited to be doing a movie,” the performer told Billboard. “This is a whole new world for me. I’m learning so much every day. We have such an awesome cast and crew, and I can’t wait for everyone to see this new side of me.”

“As a boy growing up in Oklahoma, country music and its roots in Tennessee were important influences for me. We are thrilled to be here in Knoxville making our first film, and to be collaborating with Lauren and Universal Music Group Nashville,” shared Executive Producer Kristofer McNeeley. “Hopefully this is just the beginning of a long relationship in the state bringing Tennessee and country music to millions of fans worldwide through film.”

Recently, she landed her first ever ACM Award nomination for New Female Vocalist. She competes against Maren Morris, Cam and Brandy Clark. The 52nd ACM Awards go live April 2 and air on CBS at 8/7c.

Stay tuned to AXS.com for any and all updates.