It’s often said that songwriting is therapy, and in a year that has seemingly pushed everyone to their breaking point, that sentiment is more true now than ever.
On September 4, 2019, Texas country star Kylie Rae Harris and a 16 year-old high school student, Maria Elena Cruz, were killed in a car accident in New Mexico. Lauren Jaimes saw a lot of herself in Harris; a songwriter and artist by profession who was the same age as Harris at the time of the crash. The incident admittedly hit her hard, and served as a base point for her newest single, “Tell Me Something Good.”
On the song, Jaimes not only says that it’s okay to not be okay, but also that encourages leaning on others for help when things are not okay. All in all, in a time where bad news is plentiful, Jaimes stresses that it’s important to find the silver linings in life and search for good.
We caught up with Jaimes about the success of her last single, “Home is Where You Are,” all about “Tell Me Something Good,” using songwriting as a form of therapy, what listeners can expect from her in the future and more!
Pro Country: Your last single, “Home Is Where You Are” has earned nearly 100,000 Spotify streams, helped earn you over 10,000 monthly listeners on Spotify and collected another 41,000 views on YouTube. What has is meant to you to see the song and video receive such a positive response?
Lauren Jaimes: It’s been really amazing to see the positive reaction to “Home Is Where You Are”! This was my first music video and single release, and it came out a few weeks into the 2020 quarantine. My team and I put a lot of work into the final product of the video pre-Covid, and I think that despite everything, the timing of the release actually worked out well for the song. “Home Is Where You Are” brought a really uplifting and positive vibe to a time that held a lot of uncertainty and fear. It was a dream come true that we were also able to get the song onto CMT.com and American Songwriter; these were both huge milestones as an artist and creator!
PC: After achieving that level of success for the first time, was there a level of pressure you felt, internally or externally, to match or surpass it with your follow up single “Tell Me Something Good”?
LJ: I honestly didn’t feel the pressure to try to match or surpass the success of “Home Is Where You Are.” While I know that at the heart of it all, music is a business, that isn’t why I create. Don’t get me wrong, I need to pay my bills, but every song is unique, and every project has a different purpose. At the end of the day, my vision is to communicate with others through my music, whether that means one person or a hundred people. I love each song I write with all of my heart!
PC: Why did you feel that “Tell Me Something Good” was the right follow up to “Home Is Where You Are”?
LJ: “Home Is Where You Are” is a really fun, upbeat, positive song, and “Tell Me Something Good” is more of a wistful, reflective ballad. I felt confident in and excited about releasing something that sat on the other end of the emotional spectrum. Being able to share the different sides of my personality, reflected through my music, is really important to me.
PC: Can you talk about the inspiration behind “Tell Me Something Good”?
LJ: Yes, I can, but get your tissue box just in case! I was sitting at my computer one day and I clicked on a story about a rising young country artist that had just died in a car accident. She was my age, and that made me feel really scared and helpless. Then all the questions started flowing: Why did this happen? Why did God choose to take her now? She was just getting started. She was a single mom with a 6-year-old daughter. How could this happen? As I sat in silence with all these questions racing through my head, words started coming to me with a melody: “I was reading the news today…A girl my age passed away…She was beautiful and sweet…And she wrote songs just like me…”
If you write songs, you know they can sometimes come out of nowhere, and you better be ready when they do. I really struggle with trying to understand why certain things happen in the world around me, as I’m sure we all do sometimes, and the story of Kylie Rae Harris hit me like a brick. The uncertainty of life is really scary. But at the end of the day, we have to come to terms with the fact that we don’t know what is going to happen tomorrow. As the story unfolded over the next few days, I learned that Kylie may have struggled with alcohol abuse and mental health. She was driving 102 mph at the time of the crash. A 16-year-old girl, Maria Elena Cruz, was also killed in the crash, and the EMT that arrived on the scene was Maria’s father. It was all so hard to read, to take in, to understand. I couldn’t read about it anymore. I needed to hear something good, something positive, something happy. The chorus of this song is a plea for that bit of good news, that distraction, that glimmer of hope. “Tell me that it’s all gonna be okay…” We have to believe that it WILL all be okay, as impossible as that sounds sometimes.
This song is a reminder to look for the silver lining. You are not alone in your thoughts. You are not alone in your struggle to find the positive in this dumpster fire world, and it’s okay to lean on someone. We need each other and we need kindness, humility and love.
PC: “Tell Me Something Good” is incredibly relevant to the current circumstances we are living in. Was writing, releasing and sharing your feelings with the song cathartic for you in a way?
LJ: Definitely. Songwriting is generally a cathartic experience for me. There’s this Dolly Parton quote that I think rings true for a lot of songwriters, including me. She says, “Songwriting is my way of channeling my feelings and my thoughts. Not just mine, but the things I see, the people I care about. My head would explode if I didn’t get some of that stuff out.” To me, it always feels like such a relief to finally release a song out into the world. It’s such a cool thing because once it’s out there, it’s out there forever, and when you hear it again it can magically take you back to how you felt or where you were when you first wrote it.
PC: The last time we talked, you mentioned that you were working on your debut album, Constellations, and you also said that you were digging deeper into your music and taking more ownership of it. What did you discover when digging deeper about how you wanted to proceed with your music? What can listeners expect to hear?
LJ: I am really excited because I have a few different projects I am working on right now. Constellations is coming along great, and I am also working on an acoustic EP called the highs & the lows.” This EP will have more of a raw, acoustic sound as compared to some of my previous releases and will contain a collection of songs I wrote over quarantine. I am really excited to introduce this stripped-down sound and share this more vulnerable, more conversational side to my music.
PC: Of the things you can control, what are your plans for 2021?
LJ: [Laughs] I know, it feels like we can’t really control much of anything these days. Honestly, I am planning on just continuing to create. Who knows if concerts will be back this year, or if everything will continue to be virtual. Until then, I hope to keep writing, recording and learning.
*”Tell Me Something Good” is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!*