Lauren Daigle playing sold-out Pittsburgh show
One thing Lauren Daigle has learned about performing live is that it’s OK to relax a bit and go with the flow on stage.
“I was just talking to a friend about how in the very beginning you get caught up in trying to get it right,” Daigle said, looking back on when she first began performing. “There’s this feeling of I have to do it right. I don’t want to fall flat on my face. And you learn that actually mistakes and those kinds of moments are some of the purest and most beautiful moments on a stage … I think I’ve learned how to face those moments and run with those moments.”
She will have more of those moments when she plays a sold-out show March 10 at the Benedum Center, Pittsburgh.
Backed by a big band
The ability to embrace spontaneity and the occasional happy accident should work in Daigle’s favor as she tours to promote her newly released second album, “Look Up Child.” She’s bringing out a big band to help re-create the more organic sound of the new music, and the interplay she wants to see on stage is likely to generate one-of-a-kind moments that won’t necessarily be the product of planning or perfect execution, but of honest communication and expression — and perhaps that unintended mistake that somehow feels like it enhances that moment.
“My goal for this (show) in talking to my producers was I want to sweat at the end of the show and I want a band that talks to each other with instruments, plays with each other with instruments and doesn’t rely on (backing) tracks to be the thing that drives the sound,” Daigle said. “So we completely reorganized everything and now there’s going to be 10 people on stage, which is completely new, so new. But to get some of the fullness of the sound requires more people. I’m excited, I’m so excited.”
Excited might not have the been the word that described Daigle’s mood when she first turned her attention to making her second album. That was understandable considering what happened after the 27-year-old Louisiana native released her debut EP, “How Can It Be” in 2014. The title song quickly caught on at radio, and by fall 2014 was moving into the upper reaches of the Christian singles charts.
Her label, Centricity Music, then had Daigle return to the studio to record more songs to expand the EP into the full-length album also called “How Can It Be,” which was released in 2015. It debuted at No. 1 on “Billboard” magazine’s Christian Albums chart and went on to produce two more No. 1 Christian singles in “First” and “Trust In You.” Before all was said and done, the album went platinum, won six Dove Awards, got two Grammy nominations and cemented Daigle’s status as one of the fastest rising newcomers in Christian music history.
The acclaim and her meteoric rise to stardom was a lot for Daigle to absorb. She admits she felt pressure in approaching the “Look Up Child” project and decided what she needed to do first was take a break to figure out who she was and what experiences and stories should inform her second album.
“I went home, back to Louisiana and just kind of stepped away from music,” Daigle said. “I took about six months off to kind of re-find myself, go back into kind of normal day-to-day life and see my old friends, see some family, kind of get rooted again. I needed a season of rest, because I was touring so much, I didn’t want to write a record from burnout. I didn’t want to write from a place of burnout. So I ended up going home, got refueled and then that’s when I knew OK, it’s time to do this again.”
In recording the songs, she moved away from the synthetic elements employed on her first album, opting to use real instruments, incorporating real strings or horns into several songs to help create a more organic setting for her songs, which range from the punchy rocker “Still Rolling Stones” to several ballads (“Rescue,” “This Girl” and “Love Like This”) that build to lush string-laden crescendos
The new sound has connected — and then some. “You Say,” the rich ballad that is the lead single from “Look Up Child” has so far spent 31 weeks atop all of “Billboard’s” Hot Christian Songs charts, and now the song “Look Up Child” has cracked the top 10 and is climbing. Meanwhile, the album “Look Up Child” debuted at No. 1 on the magazine’s Christian Albums chart and No. 3 on “Billboard’s” all-genre Top 200 album chart (and is in the top 40 of the “Billboard 200” all-genre chart).
Now Daigle, having added Grammy wins in February for best contemporary Christian music album for “Look Up Child” and best contemporary Christian music performance/song for “You Say,” to her quickly growing list of honors, is on the second leg of her headlining tour in support of “Look Up Child.” The show represents a whole new adventure for Daigle.
“The set list is going to be completely different, and with that, the band is also completely different. We’ve pretty much changed everything,” Daigle said. “The start is going to have some old, a couple of old songs and then a lot of new songs and some covers of songs that impacted the making of this record. So it’s hodge podge of a little bit of everything.”