Northeast-born, south-based singer-songwriter’s success highlights country’s nationalization appeal
When Lauren Weintraub, a Sudbury, Mass. native and creator of Nov. 4’s ‘This Is Your Brain On Love’ EP, was eight years old, Taylor Swift’s ‘Our Song’ was one of the best-selling music country with crossover potential. . The song also broke into the mainstream not only because of its popularity in the Midwest and the South, but also because of the impact of Northeastern country radio stations like those closest to it – Waltham, Massachusetts, then one year old. WKLB, Country 102.5.
The influence of country radio — as well as her rural upbringing — has the 24-year-old alum of Nashville-based Belmont University. She tells the Tennessean that growing up in Sudbury makes her a champion of “country” music because the town of less than 20,000 people is 30 minutes from Boston and 10 minutes from the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge – basically a 2,230 acre forest in Middlesex County, Massachusets.
“I grew up in a small-town vibe where everyone knew each other, and I was a theater kid who loved to hear country pop songs with complex storylines,” Weintraub says.
Fifteen years have passed since Swift’s first big hit. During this time, female artists the singer-songwriter came to respect, including Lori McKenna and Maren Morris, represented some of the few female artists to achieve some degree of stardom via the format. These moments are remarkable when faced with times like New York’s Country music station 94.7 abruptly changing format in October 2021. However, for what Northeastern cities lose in an abundance of on-time programming full dedicated to the genre, they have won in countries – popular female artists and creatives like Ingrid Andress and Kane Brown’s wife, Katelyn, who were educated at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Westerly, Rhode Island also claims Taylor Swift as a resident.
Although potentially seen as benign, the impact of country musicians who are not geo-specific to rural towns or southern metropolises is slowly integrating into the most influential and influential sectors of the genre.
Weintraub hits the wave of viral and real-time popularity around “Boston.” Her latest single, co-written by longtime Swift collaborator/producer Nathan Chapman (on her first five albums, “Taylor Swift”, “Fearless”, “Speak Now”, “Red” and “1989”), is unpopular not so much because of Weintraub’s hometown, as much as because he names the landmarks of Beantown Back Bay, Fenway Park, Harvard Square, the “T” subway service, Washington Street, and slang specific to the area as “nasty”.
He is following a trend.
Weintraub’s “Boston” discusses how May-December romances gone wrong evoke more heartache over possible missed moments than manic anger over impending heartbreak.
“The country of my kind – but it’s also non-fiction,” she says with a cautious tone.
These relationships that occur for fans primarily in country music’s teen to post-teen female fan base are pivotal. It’s not been since 19-year-old Taylor Swift or Maddie and Tae hit the highest country stardom in a decade-old town aging women beyond their 20s on the road to “day to day” success. next day” than unrepentant youth have been so significantly represented in the genre.
Carly Pearce, 32, is at the pinnacle of the genre thanks to an album highlighting the devastation she suffered at 29. However, the emotions of this album are not yet set in stone for a younger demographic.
“I’m lucky to be able to capitalize on my youth to write songs for people who want to be seen and heard with emotion,” she says.
To that end, regarding her half million TikTok followers who have helped her climb, she adds the note that she is grateful to have them around during the pandemic when she was unable to reach them via concerts. live. However, she adds that she “loves” engaging with the platform but doesn’t want the platform to entirely define her art.
The rising singer/songwriter notes that her fondest memories are of Boston in the fall, which she describes as “beautiful,” but also a time when loneliness after a spring skipping class for Dunkin Donuts skirts Interstate 90. (Weintraub preferred a location in nearby Concord to Sudbury) settles in, and the pain of having to return an ex-boyfriend’s beloved baseball cap lingers.
Comparatively, the EP’s closest “Not Like I’m In Love With You” has groups of young women aged 16 and up at its gigs shouting, “I didn’t stay awake to us overthinking / tripping over these feelings, now that I’d be stupid / it’s okay, yeah that’s cool / not like I wanna make a move / it’s okay, yeah that’s cool / it’s not like I in love with you. The kicker? When they pause, as Weintraub does in the song, it’s before letting out a bittersweet concession to the love they know they’re in:
It’s obvious that alongside Lori McKenna’s material, Weintraub counts Brandy Clark’s 2016 Grammy-nominated single “Love Can Go To Hell” as a major inspiration.
Weintraub is one of four children (a triplet with two siblings and another sibling) and her desire to “escape the nest” has also taken her to Nashville and Belmont University. The vibrancy of the city’s songwriting community – especially since many country stars don’t write their material. She remembers her “jaw [being] on the floor “when attending shows at places like the Bluebird Cafe and Listening Room”,[hoping] write songs of the caliber [of what she was hearing] one day.”
Her focus on success led her to be the first female songwriter to sign into a joint venture between Clark’s All BC Music and Big Machine Music in 2019.
Weintraub considers her to be Clark’s “adopted songwriting daughter”, noting that her humor, kindness and song-making have led to an “invaluable learning experience so far”.
When asked to sum up the last five years of his life, Weintraub’s face is serious but smiling.
“I used to have impostor syndrome, but now I’m settling into the fact that I’ve worked so hard for so many 19-hour days to get where I am. Yes, I’m still shocked that all of this happened, but as long as the universe brings me the right people, I will continue to soak up these moments.”