Lauren Daigle Opens Up About Her Self-Titled Album: “All of My Other Records Have Amounted to This One”

Lauren Daigle released part one of her self-titled project, digging deep for the 10-track album, and exploring sides of herself that hadn’t made their way into her past work.

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“[This project] is self-titled because of all the new places that I got to venture on this record,” Daigle tells American Songwriter. “I showcase a lot more of who I am and other facets that just haven’t been told quite yet.”

On top of allowing herself to be vulnerable in the album’s lyrical content, the writing process for Lauren Daigle also saw the singer take risks in her sonic direction with the help of Nashville staples Natalie Hemby, Lori McKenna, Jason Ingram, and Shane McAnally.

The end result is something that keeps the sentiments on which Daigle made her name intact while allowing her to push into a new season of her career.

“A lot of people always ask the question ‘Is this the record that you’ve always wanted it to be?’ I can genuinely say ‘Yes,”’ Daigle adds. “All of my other records have amounted to this one.”

Daigle stopped by the American Songwriter studio to discuss the eye-opening process of writing Lauren Daigle. Check out her insights into her latest project, below.

American Songwriter: You’ve called this your most precious album? What about the making of this record was precious to you?

Lauren Daigle: This record is so precious to me because the making of it was absolutely beautiful. I’d never worked with Mike Elizondo (producer) before and he is incredible. The thing about him that is so unique isn’t just his pedigree, but his humility. I was able to let my hair down and try new things.

Another beautiful thing was the songwriters. Many of them were brand new and they just rolled into my life for whatever reason. Natalie Hemby is a gem. She really gave me my voice on this project. There are a plethora of writers that I got to curate this record with.

AS: How were the songwriters you worked with able to push you in new directions? Was it a comfortability thing or the relationship you developed with them?

LD: They pushed me in incredible ways. Natalie has such a bandwidth of melodies inside of her that allowed me to be more expressive on this record. Then, Mike sat me down and said, “I’m gonna have you do something that might be a little out of your comfort zone.” It was so much fun to embody another version of myself.

The challenges were really beautiful on this record. There’s something about that pressure that is actually really healthy and helps you find greater parts of yourself.

AS: Why did you choose to name this album after yourself?

LD: I was at dinner with two of my best friends and they asked me what the record was going to be called. I said, “The reality is, I’ve been working on this for two years and I haven’t figured out a name.” They told me it should be self-titled. They said, “You have completely evolved in this process not just from past records, but you have found a new light in yourself.”

It’s self-titled because of all the new places that I got to venture on this record. It definitely showcases a lot more of who I am.

AS: How did location play a part in this album? You took a writers’ trip back to Louisiana. Can you talk about that?

LD: We took a trip to New Orleans—me, Mike, Jason, and Natalie. The very first night we were there it was like a scene from a movie. We were leaving dinner and walking through The Quarter when all of a sudden a car drove by and started to slow down. I’m thinking, “Oh gosh, this is about to turn bad or really really bad.”

They then turn, roll the window down slowly and pull out a trumpet to start playing in time with some buskers on the street. I was dancing in the streets and showing them our culture. Mike said that was the moment that changed the entire trajectory of this record.

AS: What was the first song you wrote after that trip?

LD: I think it was “Kaleidoscope Jesus.” The brass that comes out of New Orleans is a sound I heard my whole life and I got to showcase that on this record—and this song. It was such a dream.

AS: Diving into some of the other songs—how did “New” come about?

LD: Natalie brought in the song name and this story about a friend [of hers] that she met in a later season in life. [She said] “I wouldn’t have even known the old version of this person because of how much their life has changed.”

She wanted to write a song about people’s lives, being able to change, and believing in humanity even at the worst times. That song was a blast to write. It was the essence of what it’s like to write with Natalie Hemby. She’s pure passion.

AS: What was it about the song “Kaleidoscope Jesus” that made you want to name your upcoming tour after it?

LD: Natalie also brought in the title “Kaleidoscope Jesus” and I remember thinking it was one of the dopest titles I had ever heard. For me, it’s the amalgamation of all these colors and the way that life brings unique people into your world at particular times.

I find myself so drawn to stories of the passerby. My love for people comes from Jesus and I was talking to my manager about the tour asking, “What should we do?” I knew I wanted there to be a whimsical element to the tour that would draw people in and pique people’s curiosity. She had the idea of naming it the Kaleidoscope Tour.

I feel like that is what shows are. Every person that comes is different, like shards of glass. Each night becomes something different because of who is in the seats—like the turn of the scope.

AS: How do you feel your songwriting has changed from Look Up Child to now?

LD: The primary thing I notice is the storytelling element. Going through COVID and having lots of idle time, I would pass people on the street and just create a story for them. I found myself really drawn to storytelling. There are ways that you can bring people in through the art of storytelling that you can’t from other styles of songwriting.

AS: What would you say is the most vulnerable song on the album?

LD: That’s something else that is different about this record: it’s a lot more vulnerable than anything I’ve ever put out. So, there are multiple options but I’m going to go with “Valuable.”

I was leaving a counseling session and, by the end of it, we had concluded that the question I based all of my life interactions off of was “Am I valuable?” I didn’t have any realization of this prior, I just thought “Oh, these are off quirks or little insecurities.”

I left the session and went into a writing session with Lori McKenna. I hadn’t met Lori and didn’t know if she was going to embrace my ideas. She did and brought it to the next level. We dove in with each other and brought a human experience to the song.

AS: What do you think you’ve learned about yourself in the completion of this record?

LD: One thing that I’ve learned in the process of making this record is that the people who you creatively surround yourself with are deeply vital to your growth. Mike was someone who never squandered me bringing ideas to the table. If he ever said no, it wasn’t because of a lack of interest, or anything subjective like that. There was always a reason why it sonically wouldn’t work. I feel like he brought that part of my voice out so deeply on this record.

This experience has taught me how to step out in front of people that would usually intimidate me. The challenges were really beautiful on this record. There’s something about that pressure that is actually really healthy and helps you find greater parts of yourself.

Lauren Daigle Full Interview with American Songwriter

Photo by Jeremy Cowart / PFA Media

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