Highlighting the first of our local New York country artists, our Swag Spotlight this week is Lauren Davidson. Growing up in Freehold, NJ (where Bruce Springsteen is from), Davidson was always surrounded by music. Her father was a singer-songwriter and frequently played piano and guitar around the house. He would sing her to sleep as a child, she recalls. Country music, however, was not an early influence that Davidson remembers. “Growing up we listened to a lot of Billy Joel, Carol King, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac (I’m a huge fan of them and Stevie Nicks) and a lot of singer-songwriter music which I think has really influenced my songwriting style as well,” she explains. That all changed after being cast in a show at Hershey Park her last year in college. Having spent her time performing on stage in theater productions all through high school and college, this country music review she was cast in would be a change for her.
“The production company was from Nashville and the first day of rehearsal instead of being all theatrical and learning your show they sat us in a circle and played a country music playlist and gave us the history of country music and ever since then I loved country music,” Davidson explains. Thinking back, she can remember the exact moment when she fell in love with the genre. “The last song that they played was Dolly Parton’s original version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ and I will never forget the entire cast sitting there in tears. We were all just so moved by the emotion of the song,” she tells us. “The original intention and arrangement made me connect to songwriters and that Nashville scene.”
After college, she moved to New York City, connected with musicians, and decided it was time to start writing her own music and performing. “It’s not necessarily the traditional southern roots and dirt roads, but my music tells my story,” she says of her lyrics. She writes from an honest place, realizing how the country music genre is changing and how all different genres are now blending, pushing boundaries, and are still being considered under the country music umbrella. “The fans are so accepting and loyal, it is such a great community to be a part of,” she tells us.
A huge decision for Davidson when choosing to pursue country music was whether to stay in New York or to move to Nashville. She has always dreamed of living in Manhattan. Being in New York allows her to live that dream and be a big fish in a small pond. “I have a lot of opportunities here that I wouldn’t necessarily have if I was in Nashville and I get to open for a lot of artists that come through town and meet a lot of people,” she says on her decision.
In the past, she has opened for artists such as LoCash, Justin Moore and Craig Campbell. Next month, Davidson has an opening slot for Tyler Farr’s New Jersey stop at Starland Ballroom. “It is like having a master class in performing or storytelling or whatever the experience is. It is really great to see some of these artists so close up and then be able to connect with their fans. It is one of my favorite things,” she says. Specifically, Davidson has opened for several artists that have played for our New York Country Swag including Russell Dickerson, Brandon Ray, and Mo Pitney.
She tries to get down to Nashville as often as she can to take meetings, play shows around town and arrange cowrites but for now New York is her home. The country scene is growing by the day in New York, Davidson explains she has seen an immense difference since Nash FM 94.7 came to the metro area.
Looking to the future and the new year, she hopes to play shows in new places and definitely get into the studio to record more of her music releasing a new single in March. Be sure to follow Lauren on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.