It’s often said that first impressions are everything. For an artist, their first handful of releases lay the groundwork for their career.
Laine Lonero’s first chapter came in the form of “No Sweat,” a contemporary country song that earned its way to more than 30,000 Spotify streams and support from Radio Disney Country. However, its follow up, “How Far,” shows a different side of Lonero’s artistry, instead falling more into a late-90s country sound as she delves into a past relationship where one side may not have taken it as seriously as the other. Lonero’s goal is to serve the song, and on her first two singles, she’s done just that.
We chatted with Lonero about performing at an early age, her journey from performing on KidzBop releases to writing and releasing her own music, her big plans for 2021 and more!
Pro Country: Who were some of your earliest musical influences that had an impact on you?
Laine Lonero: I definitely have to say that Taylor Swift was a big influence growing up singing. I guess I should throw Miley Cyrus in there as well.
PC: Your bio mentions that you got involved with musical theatre, opera and songwriting at an early age. What was it about music and songwriting that connected with you so early in your life?
LL: I have to say that it just came naturally to me. My Paw Paw has videos of me singing and making up my own songs in the backyard. I was constantly singing. My mom took me at the age of six for lessons, and the rest is history. I was a true soprano at that time and singing classical opera. I was somehow able to memorize songs in Italian and French. I’m not even sure that I could do that now.
I always loved being in front of a crowd performing. I would volunteer to do all the speeches at school, even in kindergarten. I was so lucky to have a school that had such an amazing theater program, and we actually competed. I guess you could say I have always been drawn to the stage. I compete in dance as well.
PC: At what point did you realize you could and wanted to pursue music as a career?
LL: I came home one day and said I wanted to perform the National Anthem. My mom called a few people and set up for me to audition at Zephyr Stadium, which was our baseball team in New Orleans. My mom thought that I would be going in the guy’s office to sing, but he actually walked me out to the baseball field with all the lights on, gave me a mic and I sang my first National Anthem on home plate. I remember my mom pacing back and forth while I was doing it. I definitely think she was more nervous than me. I must have done pretty well because they scheduled me right away. I started singing for them, the universities in the surrounding areas and the New Orleans Pelicans NBA team.
There is nothing like the sound of a crowd, and I told my mom that one day I want to sing for 50,000 people.
PC: You performed on four KidzBop albums in 2016. How did you get involved in those projects and what was it like for you to be in a studio in your early teens?
LL: It was actually awesome. I was working with someone in California and the opportunity came up to go and record, so we jumped on it. It was actually my first recording experience, and it was a big reason why I wanted to start writing my own songs. I love being in the studio creating.
PC: What emotions were you feeling as you were preparing to release your debut single, “No Sweat”?
LL: It took a while to release it. It seemed like every time we would try, something would get in the way. When it finally did happen, it was such a relief. There is a lot that goes into a successful release. I had no idea about all that stuff. It’s really a blur because I just followed the instructions my mom and my manager gave me. It was an extremely busy time and a lot to keep up with, but I would not change a thing. I could not be more thankful for the support I get from my family in order to pursue my dream.
PC: “No Sweat” has gone on to earn nearly 30,000 Spotify streams and was supported by Radio Disney. Was it at all validating to see the streaming success of the song and tangibly see the support you had with your debut release?
LL: I have to say that I was just hopeful that someone would listen to the song. I never thought in a million years that I would get that many streams. I am so thankful for the support I received on this. This was a total team effort. If I did not have my mom and my manager to keep me on track, I would have been lost.
Radio Disney Country was a dream come true. When I saw my face on their website talking, even though I filmed it before to send to them, it was surreal. I could not believe that they believed in me. I just cannot say enough how thankful I am.
PC: Why did you feel that your new single, “How Far,” was the right follow up to “No Sweat”?
LL: It was actually a tossup. I have another song that I really love that I thought about releasing, but this one just felt right. I co-wrote this one with KarianneJean in Nashville, and we had so much fun doing this song. It’s also a true story about something in my life, and I really wanted to share it. It just felt relatable. I was also lucky enough to get the thumbs up on this song by Radio Disney Country prior to everything happening at the beginning of the year. It is so sad considering they were so supportive of female artists and really started so many careers.
PC: Can you talk about the inspiration behind “How Far”?
LL: Without giving too much detail, this was a real story about myself. I am 18, and I have only had about three guys I have seriously dated. I am very particular when it comes to who I date, and I take it very seriously. This song is really about a relationship that seemed one-sided. There was no dependability or stability. I was ready to have a relationship, a best friend, unconditional love, all that stuff, but that was not the case. Needless to say, that person will never know “how far” my love could have gone.
PC: While “No Sweat” has a more contemporary sound, “How Far” features a sound that falls closer to 90s country. Is it at all important for you to have a certain level of sonic versatility in that way?
LL: I have always been all over the place with my taste in music. It does not surprise me at all that my writing would be as well. I don’t really think I am ever going for that signature style. I go with what I am feeling at the time. I think I am very versatile, and I don’t really like staying within the lines. That’s boring.
LL: You’re working with producer Bill McDermott, who has worked with artists like George Strait, Tim McGraw and Martina McBride. What have you been able to take away from such a successful producer?
LL: He was amazing to work with. He is such a talented musician as well, and I love how creative and open he is about his ideas, while also taking in to account your ideas. His musicians were amazing as well. That room was pretty intimidating. I love being surrounded by talent like that.
PC: You’re set to move to Nashville in the Fall to attend Belmont University. How excited are you to be more present in the Nashville community and be surrounded by so much talent?
LL: I could not be more excited. I have already told my parents that they need to move there, because I am probably not coming back. This is where I need to be. I have been coming to Nashville since I was 13, and I have been ready for this move. I am looking forward to all the opportunities for performing, writing, etc. I just found out yesterday I was accepted into the Songwriting Program in the Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. This is an audition-based admission. I’m so excited about this and the possible opportunities this could present.
PC: Of the things you can control, what are your plans for 2021?
LL: Besides the move, which is going to be huge for me, I am plan to write, perform, connect and work hard to continue to make my way in the music business. I also plan to have a great time in college.
*”How Far” is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*
**All images courtesy of Laine Lonero website**