"Now I just embrace my personality, and it’s not for everyone, and that’s fine."

By Brian Ives

It was a bit strange for Lauren Alaina to be nominated for Best New Female Vocalist at the ACM Awards, given that her debut album, Wildflower, came out in 2011. A lot has happened with her since then (read our full-length interview with her here to get the whole story). And she’s gotten thicker skin, in regards to dealing with nasty comments from the public, and her experience is reflected in her new album, Road Less Traveled.

“It’s so weird how people like to make comments online and will say things about my appearance,” she tells Radio.com, “Because I’m not a model, I’m a singer. And I know that I’m basically a brand. But I used to think that what I looked like was more important than the music. At one point I was so obsessed with what I looked like that the music just wasn’t right. And then when I flipped that switch and stopped caring what people think about me so much, that’s when the music really came into play, and that’s when I wrote [the song] ‘Road Less Traveled,’ and that’s when I wrote the whole album, because I stopped caring what people think, and I was able to write good music because I wasn’t trying to write a hit anymore. I was just writing whatever I wanted to write that day or whatever was important to me.”

“I wasn’t in a beauty contest, I was in a singing contest. And I used to forget that; I used to forget that I’m a singer. I’d think of myself as, ‘I’ve gotta be this,’ and ‘I’ve gotta be prettier’ and ‘I’ve gotta be all these things.’ I’m like, it doesn’t really matter.”

Related: Lauren Alaina’s ‘Road Less Traveled’ Took Her to Hell and Back

“I just feel like in society and in public, we have this unspoken expectation that we’re all trying to meet. And there’s so much pressure to try to fit in. I’m a goofball, and I have this huge personality, and I used to try to hide that. I used to try to kind of dim my light. Now I just embrace my personality, and it’s not for everyone, and that’s fine, but I think I have to be myself, and I think we all have to be who we really are.”

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