In a small town in Northern Michigan, our next Swag Spotlight cultivated a love for all genres of music and learned what real true love was from her family. Lauren Duski who was the runner-up of season 12 of The Voice, has just released her debut EP, Midwestern Girl and is proud of the stories she now gets to tell as a singer-songwriter no longer letting fear control her life. Her parents gave her a well rounded musical education from Jackson Browne and Bob Seger to Celine Dion and Elton John, but ’90s country music was always a staple. “I loved music so much and even though I didn’t always understand what these artists were saying, I could feel the emotion and it made me feel something as a kid,” she tells us in our recent interview.
After spending holidays forcing her family to watch her sing around the house, her mother entered her into a karaoke competition in their hometown when she was 9 years old. “I got up there and rocked “Heads Carolina, Tails California” by Jo Dee Messina and I will never forget being up on stage and seeing how music moves people and how it resonated with people,” Duski says. “People were having a blast and I was addicted, and that was the moment I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
She graduated from the University of Michigan with all intentions to go to dental school, but then she had an opportunity to open for Thompson Square, and after years of not being on stage, she once again felt the high of performing and connecting with an audience. She made the move to Nashville in 2013, spending three years not having enough confidence to really pursue the artist career and spending all of her time in writing rooms. She recalls one night calling her mom to tell her that she wanted to move home and apply to dental school, little did she know the very next day she would get a call to audition for The Voice. After the competition show ended she knew that was when she had to put the work in, taking a year and a half to write and record her first EP which she was finally ready to release to the world and to all of the fans she had garnered over the years.
Midwestern Girl is the perfect compilation of heartfelt storytelling and her sultry vocal abilities simply connect you to her lyrics. Each song is relatable, Duski taking you through poignant parts of life and singing about her insecurities and how it’s okay to embrace them. “Over life you build layers and layers, experiencing bullying as a kid, being socially awkward through high school and in college, just always being super uncomfortable in my own skin, I remember choosing to pursue music again and being so scared to be up on stage, it hit me how insecure I was,” she honestly explains. “Having awareness at that moment, maybe this is what I need to write and tell people, I am so glad I did, it has given other people the courage to say ‘I’m not okay too and that’s okay but I am working on it’.
The project ends with the most tender, sad topics that Duski turned into an incredible song with cowriters Liz Rose and Brandon Hood. Written in an hour, “The Weather (Grandpa’s Song)” is a tribute to her grandfather and how hard it was to watch him after losing his wife, her grandmother two Christmases ago. “She was sick for a while so I was prepared for it but what I wasn’t prepared for was watching my grandpa try to pick up the pieces and navigate life without her, it was really difficult,” she pauses, clearly emotional as she tries to explain the situation. She comments on their love and how it inspires her every single day. “It’s been so special to end the EP that way, to honor my family that way, it was a real treat, they were the reason why, when I think about love I think about them,” she says. “It’s been wonderful to have that example in my life.”
As one of the members of the CMT Next Women of Country class of 2019, Duski is looking forward to the year ahead and releasing two more projects that will reveal more of the music she has been working on. To keep up with Lauren Duski be sure to follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Midwestern Girl is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
Thank You for supporting Country Music in NYC & Beyond!
Subscribe to our Weekly Round-Up here
for ticket giveaways, meet & greet contests, upcoming events,
and all things country music in the New York metro area and beyond!