Imagine a child of three years old, with blonde locks and a cheesy grin, stomping around up the back of her sister’s dance classes, copying the older girls and belting out the lyrics to all the tunes. Her parents couldn’t get her to sit still, eventually sending her along to singing and dancing lessons of her own....
Not much has changed for Newcastle-born singer/songwriter Lauren Wheatley, save for a new hair colour, all her teeth in place (thank goodness!), and the fact that she’s now at the front of the stage, wowing crowds with a killer voice and personality to boot. From early days dancing and singing in musicals and cover bands, to her recently-released country-pop EP, a love of performing is at the beating heart of Lauren’s music career.
As a small child, Lauren knew that charisma and style went a long way on the stage. “At my first singing concert, we were told we could wear our normal play clothes and not to worry about a costume,” she remembers. “Well obviously that didn’t fly with me, so I insisted on wearing a pink tutu. The photos are hilarious!”
It was performing in bands straight out of high school that expanded Lauren’s musical horizons. “I grew up listening to an eclectic mix of music, but didn’t fall in love with country until later in life,” says Lauren. “I love a rich live sound, and the lyrical stories that are told through country music. Using a blend of my influences to create this EP has been so rewarding.”
The flame was lit and Lauren began writing her own songs, armed with a pen and paper, a guitar and piano. Lauren soon arrived on the Australian country music scene, performing at Tamworth Country Music Festival, Country at the Camp, Onslow Rodeo, and Campfire Music Festival, to name a few. “I feel most comfortable on the stage, with my amazing band behind me, just rocking out and connecting with the crowd and having the best time ever.”
Her debut single, Overrated, co-written with Mollie McClymont of The McClymonts fame, reached number six on the iTunes charts in its first week, reached national radio, and the music video was played on Foxtel’s Country Music Channel. To follow was Take You Back, an edgy and empowering track with a video that saw Lauren breaking mirrors with a golf club and generally having a smashing time. “I took a gamble coming out as an independent artist and I haven’t looked back since,” says Lauren. “Well, I’m not going to sugarcoat it… it’s been a rollercoaster, that’s for sure, and I have so much respect for other artists who are walking to the beat of their own drum.” Appropriately, the third single released from the EP is titled Rollercoaster Life.
Lauren’s raw talent and infectious personality impressed many well-known country artists who she has co-written with, helping to create the unique sounds of her EP, including Morgan Evans, Drew McAllister, Erica Lee (US) and Damien Baguley from The Viper Creek Band. “Writing with other artists is such a privilege and an enriching experience because it opens you to new sounds and perspectives and takes the music in places you wouldn’t ever expect,” says Lauren.
Lauren recently returned from a trip to the USA, where she spent time in Nashville, the world’s country music capital. She enjoyed kicking up her heels, boot-scooting in hillbilly bars, and joining AmericanaFest 2016.
Back in Australia, Lauren Wheatley is riding the high of releasing her debut EP, and trying to beat the post-travel blues by constantly practising her Southern accent.
LATEST CLIP 'WAY TO YOU'