Lauren Alaina Talks 'American Idol', Southern Manners, and Her Grandmother's Famous Recipe

The country singer joins us on Biscuits & Jam to talk about her run on American Idol, food, and more.

Lauren Alaina
Photo: Katie Kauss

In this week's episode, Sid Evans talks to Lauren Alaina about her rise to fame on American Idol, how the church influenced her as a vocalist, and fulfilling her dad's dream of playing the Grand Ole Opry. Plus, how she's become the go-to artist for some of country music's biggest duets!

Episode 19: October 20, 2020

​In 2011, Lauren Alaina took home second place on American Idol, and she hasn't stopped writing, performing, or being in front of a camera since. She's competed on Dancing With The Stars, earned hits with performances alongside Kane Brown and Rascal Flatts, and has toured with some of country music's biggest names. On our show, Lauren tells us how losing her step-father to cancer inspired a deeper connection to faith, as well as her songwriting.

On Growing Up in Rossville, Georgia

"I grew up at the end of a dead end, ​right backed up to these woods. I have a brother who is 18 months older than me, so we lived in the woods... Just a small town lifestyle. Grew up playing sports and idolizing my big brother and a very simple life, which I'm so thankful for now because I live anything but a simple life. For me to know that simple life, I can channel that whenever I need to go back home and hang out with my brother and I'm little Lauren from Rossville all over again."

On the Cooks in the Family

"Everyone in my family could cook....My grandmother had a restaurant called Linda's. I would say my grandmother is the best cook, but it kind of trickled down to everybody else. We all cook."

On Her Grandmother's Best Recipe

"My grandmother has the best biscuits and gravy recipe ever, and I actually just made it for the first time by myself during this quarantine."

On Southern Manners

"We pray before the meal. You keep your bottom in the seat. You don't stand up during dinner. You mind your manners, you finish your everything on your plate. You don't over-serve yourself because we're keeping the leftovers and we're eating them for breakfast tomorrow."

On Growing Up Singing

"I would say I gained my confidence to be on stage in church....And the church has always been really important to me. And I would say even more so now as an adult. There have been a lot of things that happened in my personal life that have stopped me in my tracks…the harder the situation was, the closer I got to God, which was really nice."

On Her Dad

"My dad grew up playing banjo and guitar and he's just a very musical person. So, I just grew up with a pretty serious love for music. And my dad would play guitar for me growing up. And it was kind of how I connected with him. He came to stay with me the first couple of weeks of quarantine, and we made videos of us singing together. We grew up playing cover songs, and now my dad plays my songs. Which is really sweet and special."

On Her Hit Song "Like My Mother Does"

"My mom is the nurturer and ​she's very compassionate and really loving. My mom is a morally sound person. ​She's kind. And that song was really special. The first time I heard it, I cried... I've got really good parents to look up to."

On American Idol

"Well, actually I said from the time I was about six years old that I was going to be on American Idol…So I think a part of me knew, but to actually be there, and do something that you've said you were going to do since you were a little girl is kind of surreal. Looking back on it, it's kind of a blur. It was a roller coaster. I always say it's almost like American Idol was boot camp for the music business, because it was so fast paced and I really learned how to do interviews and ​how to connect with the audience through a camera​... It was really hard...I'm only 25, and I've been doing this for 10 years and the last few years of my life would never have happened the way that they happened… American Idol is a funny thing because you're instantly famous, but you're not instantly successful. And to have success, you have to really work for it."

About Biscuits & Jam

In the South, talking about food is personal. It's a way of sharing your history, your family, your culture, and yourself. Each week Sid Evans, Editor in Chief of Southern Living, will sit down with celebrity musicians to hear stories of how they grew up, what inspired them, and how they've been shaped by Southern culture. Sid will take us back to some of their most cherished memories and traditions, the family meals they still think about, and their favorite places to eat on the road.

Listen to the full interview on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere podcasts are available.

Get a transcript of the full interview with Lauren Alaina.

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