Lauren Alaina uncovered a piece of herself with her latest Unlocked EP, out now. The 28-year-old just released her first project on Big Loud Records, after announcing last year that she was leaving her longtime label, Mercury Records. The six-song EP is as authentic as anything Alaina has ever released, and she hints it’s just the beginning of what fans can expect from her moving forward.
“It’s country through and through,” Alaina reveals on Apple Music Country’s Today’s Country Radio with Kelleigh Bannen. “There’s nothing pop about it, which I was very intentional about. I spent a ton of time with my family over the last few years and back home in Rossville, Georgia where I came from.”
After years of chasing what she thought was expected of her, Alaina found a new focus for Unlocked, one that resonated with her much more than seeking just commercial success. It’s a place Alaina found thanks to her new label, her producer, Joey Moi, and her fiancé, Cameron Arnold.
“I want to make a record that the girls in my hometown will be proud of, that will represent them… I’m in just a different season,” Alaina explains. “I’m in a season where home is the most important thing to me, and I feel like I’ve found my forever homes everywhere with the label, with the music, with Joey as my producer, with Cameron, and my family in general.”
Alaina was the runner-up to Scotty McCreery on Season 10 of American Idol in 2011. Her identity as an artist was established long before her freshman Wildflower album came out later that year, an identity that the Grand Ole Opry member wasn’t able to alter to who she wanted to evolve into as an artist, until now.
“I came from a TV show where you want to be the best singer on the show,” Alaina explains. “[On previous records,] I sang the highest I could and the loudest I could, and this record’s not really that way at all. It’s just very different, but I’m so proud of it.”
It was a conversation with Moi that became the catalyst for Unlocked, and likely many projects to come.
“Joey said something so important to me when I met him… I’m so blessed that we’re working together,'” Alaina says. “But he said, ‘I was so surprised by you when you came into the studio, because what I’d heard of your music and your actual very loud country personality were kind of different and I want your music to reflect your personality more.'”
Find music and tour dates at LaurenAlainaOfficial.com.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Big Loud Records / Robby Klein