Buckhannon Native Goes Pop in Nashville
Photo Courtesy of Lauren Winans
It’s 1999. The bell for recess rang 10 minutes ago at the elementary school in Buckhannon, but the swings and slides are empty. A playground full of kids gather as 9-year-old Lauren Winans flashes a smile to her young audience and presses “play” on her boom box. The sounds of the newest pop song, Britney Spears’ “Baby One More Time,” fill the playground as Lauren sings at the top of her lungs and performs the dance routine she choreographed.
Lauren hasn’t stopped performing since, but nowadays her performance routine includes a voice coach, stylist, and make-up artist. “My parents always knew I wasn’t going to be a doctor or a lawyer. I was born to perform,” she says. A West Virginia native, Lauren is making a name for herself in the Nashville music scene. She performs at various venues across the country and currently has two songs—“Burn a Little More” and “You’re going to Luv It”—available on iTunes. Lauren got her first major label cut in May 2013. Her song “Carousel” is the first track on pop artist Jason Walker’s latest EP Keep Me Watching, released on Word Entertainment. “If I can’t be a global celebrity then I want to be known as a songwriter. I’ll be happy as long as I’m working with music,” she says.
Although she started singing when she was a young girl, Lauren’s love for music really started to blossom when she was 14 years old and connected with Lone Wolf Studio in Elkins. There she met Seth Maynard, who taught her how to play guitar and helped her begin to record music. “It was at Lone Wolf Studio that I got my first roots into songwriting,” she says. Lauren writes her songs based on her life experiences. “I’m 23. I’ve had my share of relationships gone bad, and I’m also pretty bossy. So that comes through in my music.” Lauren’s music has that strong tone of female self-confidence typical of singer-songwriters like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Taylor Swift. Her lyrics declare, “You’re gonna luv it when I’m calling your name. You’re gonna luv it when I steal your heart away.”
Lauren can now say her music is true to who she is, but it wasn’t always that way. “I did country for a while because everyone thought that being from West Virginia I should sing country. But that wasn’t me. I realized I had to do what I wanted, and that’s when I found success.” Anyone who has met Lauren would have to agree that, like her idol Britney Spears, there’s something about her that’s distinctively pop.
Lauren’s parents were always supportive of her singing career, even allowing her to finish her senior year of high school online so she could travel. However, not everyone was supportive. “People told me, ‘You can’t do it. You won’t make it,’” she says. “I’m from a small town. Everyone just settles down and gets married. But I wasn’t going to just settle.”
Lauren’s success extends beyond the stage. She has even gained the support of several beauty companies for which she has modeled. She is endorsed by Lavish Lashes and sponsored by Park & Madison Boutique, Norvell Sunless & Hot Spot Tanning, Donna Bella Hair & Aura Salon, and has her own custom lip color through SeneGence/LipSense called “Luv It,” named after her newest single. Lauren also uses her music platform to support animal rescue organizations like Grafton-based PURR and Nasheville Pittie. Her next big venture will be an online reality show called Lauren Luvs Life, which will follow Lauren as she navigates the music business and hangs out with friends. “It’s this big open story of what actually goes on behind the scenes.”