Lauren Alaina Finds The Silver Lining In Personal Heartbreak With Confessional New EP “Getting Over Him”

Lauren Alaina Photo Credit: Katie Kauss

Lauren Alaina is a total ray of sunshine with a self-proclaimed “bubbly” personality, which means she’s usually happy. It also means that when she’s sad, she’s really sad — which is how she felt after a recent breakup had her reeling. But the 25-year-old “American Idol” alum found the silver lining in her pain, turning out the epic six-song EP, “Getting Over Him.” The Sept. 4 release is all about her heartbreak, which she has not spoken about until now.

“Getting Over Him” features two duets, including the title track duet with her labelmate and friend Jon Pardi. The Georgia native also enlisted international pop sensation Lukas Graham to duet with her on the soul-baring “What Do You Think Of.” The first single off the EP, “Run,” was released on July 31, following hot on the heels of a special mix of her track “Getting Good,” which features her friend/mentor, superstar Trisha Yearwood.

We sat down with the platinum-selling, multiple ACM Awards, CMA Awards and CMT Music Awards nominee, to discuss life, love and the really painful process of “Getting Over Him.”

Lauren Alaina Photo Credit: Katie Kauss

So ‘Getting Over Him’ – are you telling a story or are you telling YOUR story?

I went through a pretty brutal breakup. It was fairly public and I never spoke about it at all. I pretty much avoided the question when I was asked. When I’m going through something like that it’s very difficult for me to know how to handle it publicly. My personal life is my personal life, but people get invested in my relationships and I used to share my relationships on my social media pages but I think I learned my lesson on that. People get invested and when they don’t work out they want to ask a bunch of questions. That’s only natural. But I was hurting so bad, and I literally went through a breakup two weeks before I was on “Dancing with the Stars”, and it was horrible. I didn’t know what to say and I was very sad. The only thing I really know to do with my emotions is write about them. It’s my ex-boyfriend calling. Just kidding! Can you imagine? I would have a heart attack. I would throw the phone out of the room. When I was on “DTWS,” it was such a celebration of my success until this point and I was learning a new skill, trying something new. I was doing it for myself and I didn’t want my story at that point to be about the breakup. It was such a time of celebration so I wanted to focus on that. So I wrote this music, didn’t say anything, and this is my response to what happened. I think I covered all of the emotions I felt. Anger, sadness, all of them.

What, for you, is the silver lining of heartbreak?

I wrote my last album [2017’s “Road Less Traveled”] about learning to love myself and appreciate my family and my story and really embracing who I am. It was really all about how I felt about myself and how I loved myself. This music felt like me learning to love myself when someone else doesn’t and still being empowered and still feeling good about myself when someone else doesn’t necessarily treat me the way I should [be treated]. I really love the music because it’s empowering; it’s a breakup EP. I had a lot of time to process it because I didn’t speak about it and I did get to collect my thoughts and really figure out how I felt about it. I wrote through it. I wrote all of these emotions and now I’m over it and healed from it. I don’t really hold any anger or sadness or resentment about it anymore; it’s just kind of something that happened in my story. I’m able to talk about it and hopefully able to empower other people going through something like that. Every once in a while in life you come across somebody who doesn’t treat you the way they should, but it doesn’t have to break you. But I was sad. I mean, I was really sad for a long time. Now I’m past it and I wish him the best and I finally get to tell my side with this music. Bye!

Which of the songs is most [reflective of] where you’re at right now?

I would say I went through the getting over him phase, the world shut down. I think “Run” is the most accurate song for where I am now. It’s not necessarily about a breakup, it’s more of a life song. We’re all just trying to press forward and become the person that we want to be. That feels really accurate. I snuck the break-up into the second verse.

How else did you get through this breakup?

It’s tough. You have to take it day by day and accept the emotions that come with it. Sadness is a tough emotion for me. I’m bubbly and really happy, but when I’m sad, I’m really sad. I don’t know what to do about it. I had a really good support system. Honestly I think one of the most helpful things for me right after that happened I was on “DWTS” and I was actively doing something for myself to prove something for myself. I know [most] people out there can’t go on “DWTS” but it is good to keep yourself busy and set goals for yourself. I was on national television so that’s an extreme way of setting a goal for yourself. Listen, there are a going to be a lot of people that don’t love you. But there are going to be a lot of people that do. and the most important person to love you is you. So if you love yourself and you do things every day to encourage yourself and lift yourself up it takes the power away from the person who does that. I said that with the road less traveled about my image and my eating disorder and now I’m kind of saying with this man really did not treat me well and I really loved him and I was really good to him. When someone doesn’t give you that back and you start questioning yourself and saying what’s wrong with me? Why am I not enough? The thing is that’s more about them than it is about you. We have to be in a place where we love ourselves. That may not be the last breakup I ever go through but I learned the most from it. it was brutal. I think sometimes the harder things are the more reward we get when we’re on the other side of it. so take care of yourself every day, and listen to my EP – because that’s empowering. “If I was a Beer” is a good, mad breakup song. I wrote if “I was a Beer” because I never talked about it. It was a rough break up and I never said a bad thing about him and I really still won’t. I do wish him the best and I hope he’s found healing and that his next relationship can be very different than ours was. I am so thankful that he broke my heart because this is the best music that I’ve ever made. So I should send him a little thank you. It’s a little scary because he hasn’t heard the songs and he’s going to know they’re about him.Lauren Alaina Photo Credit: Katie Kauss

Have you been able to move on to someone else or are you working on you?

I’m working on me. I’m trying to figure it all out, and it’s a little hard to date during a pandemic, so… Unless it’s the Amazon guy coming up to the door, I don’t really know. I want a family someday, I want all of those things, so I know what’s meant to happen will happen, and I’m getting all of the ones that aren’t right out of the way. I’ve had a few misses.

I’ve spoken with Trisha Yearwood at length, and she won’t remember it, but she’s single-handedly responsible for a big shift in my life. Did she do the same for you?

I adore her so much. Our personalities are very similar. We hit it off the first time we met. She calls me Trisha Jr. I’m in her phone as Jr…. that might be my finest accomplishment. I grew up in the ’90s listening to her. Her voice is one of the most influential voices for me. Her inflections, her phrasing, her tone, was all influential for me. Meeting her and becoming a friend dis unbelievable. It was crazy how that whole thing came together. We performed together on an awards show and we shared a dressing room together with a bunch of girls. She and I were talking about how we could not wait to finish the show so that we could go get a cheeseburger because you pretty much eat lettuce leading up to those awards shows. We started talking about the best fast food restaurants and she said you should come on my cooking show and we’ll make fast food recipes. That’s what we did. While we were in the kitchen cooking she sang “Getting Good” to me, my current single… After we were done shooting that day she said if you ever want to do a song together, let me know, I would love to work with you. So I worked up the nerve a few weeks later to call her and ask her if she wanted to do “Getting Good” and she said yes. As far as being a sounding board, I really look up to her. She’s in my corner. And she told me [her husband] Garth [Brooks] is singing “Getting Good” in the living room. I’ve peaked!

Do you ever reflect on how far you’ve come since your days on “American Idol”?

There were so many moments where I thought it wouldn’t work out. There were so many roadblocks along the way. I’d be like, ‘Is this it? Am I not going to make it through?’ Things always seemed to take a turn and work out. The things that I have done in the last ten years I literally cannot believe. I cannot believe my life is my life. Look at this closet! I feel like the house I grew up in can fit in this closet!

And last but not least, what to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Spending time with my family. Because I work so much and I travel so much I appreciate every second I get with my nephews and my mom and dad so much more. I live three hours away from them – my mother’s actually in Wisconsin so that’s a lot further – but I don’t get to see my family that much. I’m very thankful for this [all she has] but the thing that I cherish the most in life is when I get to go home and my little nephews run to the front door and give me hugs and love on me. I don’t get that very much. That’s when I’m at my happiest for sure. Also, they love me for me. if I ask them what I do, the older one says ‘You sing on a stage’ but they don’t really understand it; [they’re used to seeing] me in my pajamas watching “Paw Patrol.” I love that. I get to go back and just be me.

Lauren Alaina