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Lauren Daigle: Dove Award winner brings her message to Playhouse Square congregation

October 9, 2018

Lauren Daigle: Dove Award winner brings her message to Playhouse Square congregation

CLEVELAND, Ohio – At 27, Lauren Daigle already has a trophy case jammed with Dove Awards, American Music Awards and Billboard Awards, plus a pair of Grammy nominations.

With that kind of pedigree, it’s only a matter of time before the contemporary Christian singer chooses to cash in on all that talent and notoriety, and capitalize on a childhood of exposure to Christian, zydeco, Cajun and country music, right?

“No crossover,″ said Daigle, calling from a gig in Louisville, Kentucky, to talk about her show coming up on Thursday, Oct. 18, at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre.

“I don’t let money lead creativity,″ said Daigle. “You’d become more [ungenuine]. For me, I stick with what I love and what’s true. From there, it’s whatever happens, happens.″

Daigle won the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Award for new artist in 2015, and backed it up with artist of the year in 2016. Her newest album, “Look Up Child,″ likely will see her winning more Dove Awards in 2019 – it wasn’t released until Sept. 7, too late for this year’s GMA competition – and probably will draw her third Grammy nomination in as many years.

If ever there is an artist intent on maintaining that “dance with who brung you″ philosophy, it’s Daigle.

“I think for me, it was constantly growing up with a sound that is swampy, rootsy and soulful,″ said Daigle. “If you go to New Orleans, and go to any street corner, you’ll hear a full brass section, with the trumpet saying this thing to the sax, then the drummer saying his part. It’s a community of sound.

“I grew up around zydeco, and I feel like that, combined with the infusion of kind people and good food, built everything,″ she said.

There was a time, though, when the secular world might have appealed to her. She auditioned for the 2010 and 2012 seasons of “American Idol,″ but never made it beyond the final 24.

“For me, that might have been a blessing in disguise,″ Daigle acknowledged. The “contracts you have to sign” have become a cross to bear, so to speak, for other winners. So she’s glad things worked out as they did, because it allows her to use one gift – her music – to share her faith.

“Before I got into music, I used to have so many walls around my theology and around the ideology about how things should work,″ she said. “God is way more expansive and diverse than the box I put him in. He can reach people in ways that completely blow my mind.”

She’s drawing on the Gospel itself for her own ministry.

“I’m not hiding behind that fear,″ she said of using her music to reach those who aren’t already sitting in pews on a regular basis. “That’s where Jesus did his ministry. Those crowds didn’t only involve believers and didn’t only involve the church.

“It involved humanity as a whole,″ she said.

“I want to bring the message of the good news to people who’ve never heard it, something that burns in the space outside the church,″ Daigle said. “So many people want hope and joy and peace.

“Look at the amount of suicide now,″ she said. “I look at it as that’s the mission I’ve been placed on the Earth for: to bring hope to all the people.″

So she is comfortable in her skin now, and sure in her role, which includes songwriting as well singing.

“For me, it’s because I’m a carrier of a message within,″ said Daigle, who is listed as writer or co-writer on all 13 tracks of “Look Up Child.” “There are songs I hear that resonate with me, and your voice changes when there’s something already ingrained within you.”

For someone to whom “message” is so paramount, and a singer who’s able to deliver a line in such a powerful way, the irony is that it’s not  the lyric that comes first to songwriter Daigle. Melody triggers lyric, she said.

The connection is what inspires the message, and that is what she sees as the foundation of her career as a Christian-first artist.

One who refuses to have a crossover to bear, as it were.

PREVIEW

Lauren Daigle When: 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 18. Where: Playhouse Square’s State Theatre. Tickets: $27.50 to $77.50, plus fees, at the box office, playhousesquare.org and by phone at 216-241-6000.

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