Nine albums later, Lauren’s story remains grounded in the cultural tapestry of her upbringing. A proud Italian-American, she grew up with the songs of her favorite Italian-American artists, whose classic melodies inspired her own songwriting. Equally inspirational were the Saturday nights of her childhood, when Lauren would often stay up late to watch singers like Crystal Gayle on The Statler Brothers Show. Come Sunday, she’d be at her beloved church, Trinity Gospel Temple, singing in the choir and leading praise and worship in the youth group. Mentored at the age of 7 by choir member Cheryl Jamison, Lauren developed a strong voice and began recording her own gospel albums while still in elementary school. By 12 years old, she had released four solo records and moved to Branson, Missouri, where she balanced her schoolwork with nightly performances alongside gospel singer (and original Oak Ridge Boy) Gary McSpadden. She played six shows a week at the Americana Theater, becoming a professional singer before she was even a teenager.
Meanwhile, Lauren was also growing into a seasoned songwriter. Strumming an old Gibson Dove acoustic guitar that had once belonged to her great-grandfather, she wrote her first songs as a young teenager, drawing not only upon her background as a gospel singer, but also her love of poetry and a lifelong appreciation for classic country music. She started making regular trips to Nashville at the age of 13. There, she studied with renowned vocal coach Brett Manning, played her original music at local songwriters showcases, and began planning her move to the big city. Lauren recorded her first batch of original songs at 15 years old and even scored a hit with “Child of God,” which debuted at number 70 on the national Southern Gospel radio chart. In the meantime, Lauren was still traveling from church to church with her music ministry, as well as anywhere else her Nana drove her.
Lauren eventually did move to Nashville, but not before graduating college with a degree as a registered nurse. “I work with people at different stages in their lives,” she says of her ongoing work as an RN, “and I’ve heard so many stories. The whole experience has inspired me. I’ve learned a lot about people and what they’ve gone through.” During her off-the-clock hours, Lauren continued writing songs, sometimes alone and sometimes with the input of co-writers like Pam Tillis, Matraca Berg, Mo Pitney, Bobby Tomberlin, Wil Nance, Bill Whyte, Ronnie Bowman, Renee Martin, and more. She also struck up a partnership with Grammy Award-winning producer, Shawn Camp, who produced Lauren’s strongest album to date: 2020’s God Made a Woman.