In New York Country Swag’s “Woman of the Month” series, we’re bringing you stories from women who are chasing their dreams and building a life that they love.
Each month, we highlight a different female pursuing her passions. Introducing you to women who are taking risks, working relentlessly, and turning their dreams into reality. These are empowering women of the country music community, and beyond, who serve as role models and should be celebrated.
“I feel like as long as I’m still feeling excited to go to these events and be included in that stuff, that’s when I know I’m doing something right” – Lauren Black
This month, we celebrate Lauren Black, Editor-In-Chief of Country Now as our April 2021 Woman of the Month.
Growing up in Florida, Black was a kid who was always into the creatives. From a young age, she was mesmerized by country music, finding herself listening to country radio with her parents as far back as she can remember. “I always tell this story, because it’s my first music memory,” she begins, “My parents always played country music and I remember listening to Trisha Yearwood’s “She’s In Love With The Boy” and it was my first favorite song that I ever had.” This set her on a trajectory to want to make country music a part of her everyday life.
During her adolescence, her dreams started to take shape. An early pioneer of vlogging, Black and her friend got a video camera one summer and began documenting everything. “We would go around town, I would interview people on this camera,” she shared, “With my love for country music, I thought, I want to interview country artists!”
Armed with a desire to be a journalist, Black attended college with her specific mission at hand. She learned very quickly that broadcast journalism just wasn’t for her. Continuing to pivot, she created her first-ever website with her best friend. “I started a website in 2008 when I was still in college,” she tells us, “I called it Country Music Is Love.” She also credited her then-boyfriend, now-husband for inspiring her to bring her love of country music to the world.
Four years after creating the website, which was geared towards providing all things country music to fans in the form of a blog, (i.e. covering shows, new music, country news, etc.) Black and her husband decided to move to Nashville from Florida. She had garnered many connections, since beginning her website over the years, and it was the right time to make the move to further grow her brand.
What Black did not plan for was a prominent group in Nashville wanting to buy her business from her. “In 2015, Universal Music Group approached me and was interested in buying ‘Country Music Is Love,’” she shared with us, adding, “It was an amazing opportunity, so I sold it to them, and it rebranded itself […]. Then I was there for 2.5 years as editor. Later, when my contract was over, we split ways.”
At the time, Black admits she was devastated and felt at a loss in her professional life. “At that moment in 2018, I hit rock bottom. I never felt like that in my life before,” adding later, “I honestly thought about leaving the music industry.” After a series of setbacks, the right opportunity finally fell into her lap. “I was approached later that year with the idea to start Country Now. Despite being a little hesitant, I was still initially really excited about it.”
Flash forward to today, Black is the content creator and editor-in-chief of a mega-successful country music entertainment website called Country Now. Although she worried at first if she could “do it again,” the website officially launched in 2019 and has survived and grown tremendously in spite of all the odds over the last couple of years.
While every day looks different for Black, as she juggles wearing many hats, she could not be more grateful for her life, career, and her family, including her two small children. “It’s kinda cheesy, but literally my dreams came true,” she tells us, “I just kinda found a lane that I wanted to be in. I just like that this [Country Now] is an outlet for music.”
As always, we wrapped up our conversation with the talented and inspiring professional by asking what advice she has for people hoping to break into the industry. Besides encouraging people to prioritize and figure out a work/life balance, something she admits is difficult for her, her advice is rather simple; “Just work hard. If someone asks you to do something, go above and beyond.” She also adds, “This industry is so much about who you know, let people know what you’re good at, and if opportunities come, they’ll come to you.”