Lauren Alaina has been entertaining fans in country music for quite some time since debuting on the tenth season of American Idol in 2011 and placing in second behind Scotty McCreery. She’s very open about her personal life, often posting life updates and selfies with punny captions on Instagram. However, there still may be some things you don’t know about the Georgia-born singer.
Here are 10 things you may not know about Lauren Alaina.
- She has a much longer full name.
Since she goes by her first and middle names for her stage name, some country fans may not even know her real name unless they did some digging. The singer actually has quite a long and beautiful full name: Lauren Alaina Kristine Suddeth. Lauren Alaina is shorter and may be easier to remember than any alternative that includes her last name, so that might have something to do with why she chose to shorten it.
2. She has experience with talent competitions.
Long before she blew judges away with her strong and capable voice on American Idol, Alaina was singing for audiences at many other talent competitions. At age eight, she entered her first competition, The Southern Stars Pageant, and came away as the winner. She also won various other competitions, including the American Model and Talent Competition and the WinniSTAR youth talent at Lake Winnepesaukah. It’s safe to say that by the time she stepped on the national stage of American Idol at age 15, she was well versed in how to conduct a competition.
3. She was inspired to sing by her cousin.
Lauren Alaina revealed during her American Idol audition that she was first inspired to sing by her cousin, Holly, who had been diagnosed with a brian tumor. Alaina describes Holly as more of a sister than a cousin, and she was even present at Alaina’s audition in front of judges Randy Jackson, Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler. The judges were touched by the singer’s moving story and her powerful voice, stating that she was the most talented singer they saw during that audition day in Nashville.
4. She worked at a pizza place.
Prior to launching into fame by competing on American Idol, Lauren Alaina had a regular teenage job at Cici’s Pizza in Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, and it’s no surprise that she often sang on the job. The restaurant owner told the Times Free Press in 2011 that she was often singing while working at the pizza joint — even when she was doing mundane tasks like stocking the salad bar. The owner also marveled at the newfound fame of his former employee, stating, “Now I have thoughts like, ‘I may have asked the next ‘American Idol’ to sweep crumbs up off the floor.’”
5. She used to perform at Lower Broadway bars in Nashville.
Alaina started making her way to music city when she was just 12 years old, and she wasted no time when it came to singing at Nashville’s legendary bars on Lower Broadway. In her Facebook bio, she says she’d simply walk up to the legendary stages and ask to sing.
“I would go into the bars on Broadway before 6 p.m. and walk up to the people on the stage and ask if I could sing and they would let me,” she says. “Half the time people weren’t listening to me, but I thought I was cool.”
After her American Idol audition at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Alaina walked across the street to sing a song at the famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge, and the house band told her she needed to go audition. She wasn’t allowed to mention that she had already auditioned and gotten her golden ticket.
6. She has been open about her struggles.
Alaina is recognized by her smiling face, her sense of humor and her happy demeanor, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had struggles. She has been open about many of these issues in the past, including her battle with bulimia and her father’s battle with alcoholism. She revealed her struggle with the eating disorder in 2016, stating that she lost a total of 40 pounds during that time and that she was “so sick.” She discussed her father’s battle with alcoholism while promoting her single, “Doin’ Fine,” which covers the subject.
“My dad is a recovering alcoholic and when my mom asked for a divorce, he checked himself into rehab,” she told Parade. “They didn’t end up working it out, which is unfortunate, but it’s a blessing in disguise because my dad is sober and happy and a great man now and has grown so much because Mom asked for that divorce.”
7. She takes care of her young fans.
As a young girl, Lauren Alaina looked up to female artists such as Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood, and now that she is an artist that little girls look up to, she takes her role model status very seriously. In February, she shared a snap of a young fan who was in tears upon meeting her, and it was then that Alaina realized what she meant to that fan.
“I told this little girl with tears streaming down her face that I did the exact same thing when I met Carrie Underwood when I was on American Idol,” Alaina wrote in the post. “After I said this to this little girl, I had this crazy moment. I thought, ‘Does my music have the same impact on her that Carrie’s music has on me?!’ I can only hope that my music means as much to little girls (and people of all ages) as Carrie’s music means to me.”
8. She has had vocal cord surgery.
In August 2014, Alaina stepped away from touring in order to have vocal cord surgery. She told ABC News Radio that she wasn’t allowed to speak for more than five minutes per day for eight full days. “Eight days after that I could talk for five-minutes a day, which, you might as well just not talk at that point,” she said. “I mean, what are you going to say in five minutes? Have you met me?”
9. She believes in tipping well.
Alaina told Country Weekly several years ago that one of her pet peeves is people who don’t tip well. She explained that her own mother used to be a waitress, and she recalls seeing her mother cry when customers didn’t tip her. Due to that experience, she says she always makes sure to give a generous tip after a meal.
“My mom was a waitress when I was a little girl, and people would not tip sometimes and I would see her cry,” she says. ”So, I tip better than just about anybody I know. I bet people in my town love it when they see me walk through the door.”
10. She loves goats.
Alaina has often shared her love of goats throughout the years. She has posted Instagram photos in the past of her doing goat yoga, in which she did yoga with goats balancing on her back. She confirmed in a fun video in 2018 that goats are, in fact, her favorite animal, and she says she especially loves baby goats.