Daigle chats with Billboard about her ascent up the charts, what she hopes to accomplish in 2017 & what’s ultimately most important as her audience grows.
Christian singer-songwriter Lauren Daigle has experienced continued career growth over the past year, following a breakout 2015.
Her first full-length album, How Can It Be, spent six weeks at No. 1 on Billboard‘s Top Christian Albums chart, beginning May 2, 2015, and has sold 484,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen Music. Daigle co-wrote nine of the 12 songs on the album.
Her new holiday set, Behold: A Christmas Collection, arrived on the Nov. 5, 2016-dated chart and has reached No. 3.
Daigle has already rolled up four top 10s on Billboard‘s Hot Christian Songs chart. Her launch single, the How Can It Be title track, climbed to No. 5; “First” reached No. 2; and “Trust in You” became her first No. 1. On Christian Airplay, the songs hit Nos. 6, 1 and 1, respectively. (She added a holiday top 10 on Hot Christian Songs in 2015 as featured on Chris Tomlin’s No. 4-peaking “Noel.”)
Currently, on the Hot Christian Songs chart dated Dec. 3, Daigle’s latest single, “Come Alive (Dry Bones),” ranks at its No. 12 peak. The 25-year-old Lafayette, Louisiana, native has received her share of accolades in 2016, including three wins at the 47th annual Dove Awards, held Oct. 11 in Nashville. The three trophies Daigle carried away included the biggest of the night, for artist of the year, as well as songwriter of the year (artist) and best pop/contemporary song of the year for “Trust in You.”
She also garnered her first Grammy Award nomination, for best contemporary Christian album for How Can It Be. (The 2017 Grammy Awards take place on Feb. 12 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.)
Meanwhile, Daigle’s touring schedule this year included her first arena shows, opening for Hillsong United, and her first headlining stint in October.
What a year for you. You’ve really accomplished a lot. How does it feel as you look back on it?
It’s crazy, as I actually listen to you say that and ask me about 2016, because I’ve been going non-stop. This whole year has been a lot of shock for me, honestly. I love that, too, because it’s all a risk and the bigger the adventure is, the more fun it is. This year has been one of pushing boundaries, taking big chances and getting out of my comfort zone. I just feel like I am at the finish line for the year but there’s more.
We’re getting ready to go on a Christmas tour with for King & Country (beginning Nov. 29 in Tampa, Fla.) and I love those guys. They’re such great guys, so when they asked, I was like, sure, let’s go, because for me, it’s all about, “Is this going to be a cool hang?” I’ll be opening for them. In the past, I got used to staying home for the holidays, but now the tradition is being reset, to being on the road. Essentially, looking back on all of the work, I feel like with this upcoming tour, we’re putting a stamp, the final touch, on 2016.
How Can It Be has now sold almost 500,000 copies. Did you have any idea when you recorded it that it would be received so well?
Really, no. I had no idea when we recorded it that it would be that big, not close. I didn’t really know how well it would be received. So, when I hear you say that, that it sold that many, it just makes me shutter. It did feel larger than life when I was recording it. Something big was happening that I might not have been in control of. So now, looking back and hearing that big number, I think wow, 500,000 people. My hope is that all of them encountered the heart of God as I did. That’s always my hope.
The new Christmas album, Behold, was produced by Paul Mabury and Jason Ingram, the same guys who produced How Can It Be. It has a real jazz feel to it, with the horns added to the mix, and it hit me, this could have been recorded in the ’40s or ’50s. Did that come from your Louisiana background, growing up with that influence?
Absolutely, it comes from my Louisiana roots. When I first moved to Nashville and started writing, I was aching to hear some good jazz and absorb it to enhance my writing process. I had a desire to create music with a sense of jazz history and I wanted to write and create music with a jazz edge to it. Along the way, I met Paul Mabury, who is from Australia and has sense of jazz and its history, so it was an amazing connection to have him as a resource and writing partner.
So, yeah, I always wanted to do a jazz album. I just had no idea that it would come in the making of a Christmas record. For me it all comes from being steeped in that love for New Orleans, walking through the French Quarter, late at night, and hearing the sounds of, say, a saxophone being played, coming out of nowhere. I love that. Someday I hope to do a jazz club tour.
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