Lauren Alaina bares her soul on Getting Over Him, her new EP out today (Sept. 4). The country singer penned each of the project’s six tracks and the emotions span the highs and lows felt following a breakup. Throughout the EP Alaina paints the picture of love gone wrong from the tongue-in-cheek kiss-off “If I Was a Beer” and the pleading “Bar Back,” to the sexy Jon Pardi collaboration “Getting Over Him” and heart-wrenching “What Do You Think Of?”
“It was just me remembering to love myself when someone else doesn’t,” she told Sounds Like Nashville and other media outlets about the project over a Zoom call recently. “I went through two very public breakups and that’s not really ideal, so I decided to write about it … I felt like if I’m going to name it, Getting Over Him, I have to put all sides of the breakup in there. It was a hard couple of years and this quarantine has been crazy alone, but I would rather be alone and have this music than be in a bad relationship and not have it.”
Alaina’s poignant vocals soar on the vulnerable ballad “What Do You Think Of?” as she wonders how an ex remembers her after they said goodbye. Captivating harmonies by Danish pop group Lukas Graham further accentuate the standout duet. A song Alaina almost didn’t include on the project because of its honesty, a series of fortunate events convinced her otherwise.
“It’s really hard for me to listen to it because I was so sad when I wrote it that it makes me sad for the girl that wrote it,” she says. “I was on Dancing With the Stars [after the breakup] and I was trying to pretend like I wasn’t sad all the time because I was on national television. I’m so thankful that Lukas Graham decided to do it with me because that made me have the backbone to put it out.”
The collaboration itself happened serendipitously. She is a writer at Warner Chappell, as is Lukas Graham’s Lukas Forchhammer. His team heard some of the songs she had been submitting to her publisher and asked if she’d be interested in a collaboration. A fan of the band’s “7 Years Old,” Alaina sent another song to the team that didn’t work out. Afterward, while listening to Lukas Graham’s music, she immediately thought of “What Do You Think Of?”
“I almost didn’t send it because I really didn’t want to do this song because it makes me so sad,” she admits. “My manager and publisher were like, ‘We really believe in this song. It’s one of your best songs, let’s just send it and see what they think.’ They completely freaked out over it and now it’s a standout on the EP.”
When recording “What Do You Think Of?” months after she had written the song, Alaina says she had to throw herself back into the breakup mindset in order to get the emotions of heartbreak adequately across to the listener.
“I had to really put myself back to where I was at the time that I wrote it because I needed the vocals to feel true. I’m not that sad anymore and I don’t even feel that mad anymore. I’ve gotten to a place of peace with it, but I had to really share all that,” she says. “I wanted the integrity of the songs and the emotion of the songs to be there so it was an emotional rollercoaster for me. It was very interesting for me to try to tap into those emotions and make sure that they were really there for these songs.”
While the project features its fair share of breakup songs, Alaina says it was important to include empowering tracks like anthemic opener “Run,” the flirty Jon Pardi-assisted “Getting Over Him” and “Bar Back,” where she tells an ex she’ll change churches, coffee shops and their favorite Waffle House, but she’s taking back her favorite bar.
“We all need to be empowered. This is a collection of breakup songs, but they are really empowering breakup songs,” she says. “When I felt empowered, I took the power away from those people and their words and the things that they had to say about me online. As someone who really struggled with that and really had to deal with people putting me down and not feeling super confident, I think I wrote those songs because I needed to hear them.”
Meanwhile, title track “Getting Over Him” came about following Alaina’s breakup and realizing she now had to learn how to “flirt with intent.” The bold song has the singer meeting another man at the bar for a no strings attached rebound. Longtime friend and frequent collaborator Jon Pardi was a natural first choice as duet partner.
“Jon Pardi was an easy pick because he’s a great friend of mine and I sang on his album and I felt like he should return the favor,” she says with a laugh. “I feel like I’ve collaborated with everyone. I’ve probably done 10 to 15 collaborations in this format and I’ve never done one myself. So, I was pretty selective in who I wanted it to be and Jon’s just a really good friend of mine and such a bold personality. This song is bold and I needed the right guy for it. I needed the right guy with the right attitude and Jon felt like the one.”
On “Run,” Alaina offers an uplifting approach on some of life’s biggest moments we all face. Penned with Ben Johnson and Kennedi, the singer-songwriter says “Run” is an extension of previous No. 1 single “Road Less Traveled.”
“I love live songs and it feels like a live song. It’s very inclusive: We’re all born to run. We’re all doing the best we can and we’re all chasing after something,” she says. “I like songs that make us all feel the same because at the end of the day, we are all the same. We have different characters in our stories, but we’re all living out the same stories, they just look a little different.”
Alaina wrote half of the songs on Getting Over Him before the Covid-19 lockdown and the other half during the pandemic through Zoom co-writes. She says time in quarantine has allowed her to take a deep breath and figure out what she wants to say as an artist as well as gave her the time to process her breakups and write about them.
“I was gifted time for that. I wrote all of these songs in different mindsets. Some of them are angry, and some of them are sassy, and some of them are sad. I think the best thing for me to truly share where I am is the music,” she continues. “I’ve really been working on myself and I’ve been trying to write the best music I can.”