Lauren Daigle: I absolutely love food. Some people would say, 'Oh she's a foodie.' I don't really know about the word so much. All I know is I love food. One of my dreams is to open a restaurant. One day, I'll do the food thing and fulfill that dream.
Lauren: I definitely love the critical side. But I love to cook, too. So it's a little bit of both. Right now, I can only be a critic because we're on the road so much. But I also really like to cook. It's fun to be able to serve people and come up with a creation and say, 'Okay, what do you think of this?' or 'Do you love this as much as I do?'
Lauren: Right! It's the same sort of basis. They both appeal to the senses. They're close to your heart. It's definitely an expressive thing. You get to get people's opinions. It creates unity between people when you have a shared experience like that.
Lauren: When I was 15, I was diagnosed with this illness called the cytomegalovirus. It was immune deficiency so I was homebound for about two years. It was in that season that God started to show me His character. He started teaching me who He was and started showing me the plans that He had for me. He would give me dreams of tour buses and I would say, 'God, what is that? Why do you keep showing me all this?' And He was just laying out the blueprints for what I was going to be doing. He called me out of school, and I really think He used that season to just show me what was in store to get my heart prepared and to get my focus set on Him. That season of solitude--of learning who God was and what He wanted me to do to serve in His kingdom--was the most important milestone.
Lauren: Well, I went to Passion and I saw the reaction of the people that sang that song and the crowd just came alive. To see that sort of response. To see that people were fired up about giving their heart over to God and recognizing His strength in our weakness, His power to overcome when we're feeling defeated, His pureness. To see all that being an anthem for so many people was completely invigorating. And it's a prayer. It's a prayer for me and it's a prayer for so many. So I connected with it through that experience.
Lauren: This past December, I was diagnosed with Lyme disease and some autoimmune stuff like lupus. That was one of the most difficult seasons of my life. It was so painful. Every day was just really hard to wake up because your body is in such chronic fatigue. We wrote "My Revival" basically saying, 'even in the depths of difficulty--whether it's loss, grief, pain, sickness, or anything like that--the Word in Isaiah 40:28-31 says "we will run and not grow weary. We will walk and not grow faint. We will soar on wings like eagles." That passage just really meant something. Even when I'm weak, God is the one that prevails. He is the one that overcomes. We don't even need to look at our circumstance. We don't need to stay bogged down with what's happening in our bodies because He is so powerful. He is so faithful. And it's His strength that allows us to overcome and soar on wings like eagles. That's where that came from. I can honestly say that He taught me a depth of healing that I didn't know existed, where you literally break agreements with those symptoms. And now I'm completely healed. I have no sickness at all.
Lauren: I know. I have so much energy. I feel amazing! And it wasn't through a remedy or anything like that. It was just saying, 'Wait, God says that we have been given the power to heal through the Holy Spirit, so why would I accept this for my life?' And He really had to come and teach my heart how to surrender; to surrender even illness, because that's something that is so easy to hold on to. It's a tangible, black and white situation like, 'Yes, I'm sick' or 'No, I'm not sick.' God just came and taught me, 'I'm not a God who causes sickness, and I'm not a God who prolongs sickness. I'm a God who has called you healed from the second my Son rose.' That was really about healing, but we just wanted a song that we could proclaim the whole time.
Lauren: My friend Jason Ingram and my producer Paul Mabury. Then the other one is "First." So "First" is really cool. I was just overwhelmed with the pressure of making sure that this next song was the one that everyone wanted to hear, and all the external pressure that comes with being in the industry, and being a part of the label. I was so anxious I said, 'Please Lord, I don't operate like this. I only write from purity. I'm not someone who writes from the perspective of making a huge hit single.' So it was really hard for me to step into that place. I'm crying out to God, 'I cannot do this, God. I don't like any of this. This system is really difficult for the artist in me.' So I went to take a nap, and when I woke up, this girl who I had met in a signing line had sent me a message on Instagram: "Matthew 6:33: Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things will be added unto you." And I was like 'Oh my gosh Lord, I've been so distracted this whole time. How in the world did I get this distracted?' It's kind of a blessing that He allowed me to be distracted because it made that passage so much more potent and therefore this song got written because of it. So with all of the stress and the weight of all these decisions, God used it for His glory. When I read that passage, I just start dancing. I was so excited! I was like 'God, I know you're going to provide this song. I cannot wait to see what you're gonna do!' And it was crunch time; this was the last opportunity for a co-write before we were recording. So I walk into the room and my friend said 'Hey, what's been on your heart lately? We have a song title.' So I said 'Well, God's just been saying to seek first His kingdom.' And she goes, 'Oh my gosh, guess what our song title is.' And I said 'What?' And she said 'First.' So I was like 'Alright Lord, You're good! Thank you, Father!' *laughs* So that's how "First" got written and sure enough, it's gonna be the next single. So that's crazy. I'm trying to think of the last new one.
Lauren: Oh "Loyal"! Yeah! Oh it's so good! Jason and Paul came to me and they're like, 'Lauren, we have this song we would love for you to help us finish. It's all about the loyalty of God's love. We've never heard God's love being described as loyal in CCM radio.' So I went and I heard this song and it was so perfect because that week I was with someone who had been abandoned by their earthly father and all of these kids who were involved in the sex trafficking world, and it's just heartbreaking to see that. So I started thinking about those kids and the people that I had been with that week. The timing of this was not coincidental. Another one was a woman who had been left by her husband. God just started showing me all these stories of people who had been abandoned or thought that they knew what love was, but really it's such a false idea of what love is because love never fails. It remains. It's constant. He just really put that anthem on my heart, that His love is loyal. So when those guys brought that idea to me I was like, 'Yes! Let's do it!' *laughs* God is so faithful and the world needs to know it.
Lauren: Absolutely! Restore Her is an incredible ministry. It's based out of Dallas. They rescue girls nationwide that have been either caught up in the sex trafficking industry or are in vulnerable cases where they could be caught up in the sex trafficking industry. They have houses for these girls to come to. It's so amazing the model that they have set up. It's just like a home. It's like a family model. Basically, there's a husband and wife that live there with their personal kids and also five to ten other girls within a certain age bracket, just at a regular home with a lot of rooms. They are the house mom and the house dad. These girls go to an accredited Christian school and take the bus home. It's an amazing program. Instead of giving them a victimization mindset, they tell them 'okay, that's your story. Those are the cards that have been dealt to you, so how are you going to use it for the Lord's glory?' These girls just come out completely transformed, ready to take on the world, just full of life, abundance, and energy. It's amazing to watch them go from completely broken to whole in the name of Jesus.
Lauren: Not really. The only time I feel pressure is when I'm super tired. I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, I want to love on these people so much, I hope that me looking tired doesn't limit their acceptance of my love.' And God is so amazing because that's not how it works at all. God constantly reminds me, 'Lauren, this is not your strength, this is my strength. I'm speaking through you. Don't worry. It's not your power, it's mine.' And God just reminds me over and over again. There is freedom knowing that He is the one that goes before and behind me. It's Him that I want people to see. So I don't really feel much pressure.
Lauren: I'd love to! We had just finished a meeting with the label. It was a meeting to figure out which songs we were gonna put on the EP. We finished writing and we were about to start recording. The label walked out and my producer and I looked at each other and I was like, 'There's something missing. We don't have all the songs. Something's not right.' And sure enough, Paul [Mabury] just started getting visions of these women that the Lord had protected in the Bible, like the woman caught in adultery, the woman at the well, the woman who reached out to touch the cloak of Jesus. And he said, 'Lauren, I think I have this song. I've always imagined a guy singing it, but I think the Lord is telling me that a girl is supposed to sing it. I don't know, but you just tell me if you like it.' Then he told me, 'While you're listening, picture this story.' And he told me the story of the woman caught in adultery. The Word says she was caught in the very act. So here's Jesus standing before all these people teaching and the Pharisees come up to Him and say, 'What are you going to do with this woman? The law says that you stone her, but what do you say?' And sure enough, Jesus stands up and says, 'If you are sinless, then you cast the first stone.' One by one they walked away. So here's Jesus and this woman and Jesus says, 'Where did your accusers go?' And she goes, 'Well, they left.' And He said, 'Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.' And it was in that moment that God just met me in a totally new way. I had heard the story before, but God just showed me that it was His lack of condemnation that allowed her to be free. So here I am, covered in sin. We all have sin in our lives, regardless of the scale. It all took the same death. Knowing that, God says, 'Don't run away from Me in the middle of your sin. When you're trapped, when you know you've done wrong, run to Me instead and watch Me set you free. It's My lack of condemnation that allows you to walk away whole and perfect. It's My lack of condemnation that sets you free.' It's a beautiful image that Jesus shattered everything they had known about the law and by their religiosity. Here's this woman who is about to be stoned to death and Jesus stands up and says 'No! Even in the midst of her sin, even in the midst of her wrong doing, I accept her.'
Lauren: Yeah. So it just showed me that God welcomes us as we are. He even knew the debt that He was going to pay for her to be sanctified and redeemed. He knew what it was going to cost Him to shield her, and He still chose to do that. It's an amazing love to think that He would shield us.
Lauren: We just wanted to put a fresh spin on it. There were some things production-wise that were like 'Man, we could change it to be something a little newer, a little fresher, kind of a raw sound that would accompany the rest of the new tracks that we added.' It was a song that my producer really loved. He wrote it from a place where his friend was dying from an illness. He wrote it as if it was coming from her heart. When he shared it with her she said, 'Oh my gosh, that's everything I would say to the Lord. I know you hear my cry. Your love is lifting me above all the lies of what's happening in my life right now. His love is prevailing.' So he was like, 'You know what? I wanna dive back into that song. I want to revamp it a little bit and do things that I wish I would have done the first time.' It's kinda cool. It's like a second chance.
Lauren: It's hard. I like so many of them. I love "How Can It Be." Just from the stories I've gotten about how it's impacted so many people. That makes it so rich. And it's just the experience that I had with that song from the first time I heard it. I absolutely love it. "First" would be another favorite just because of how it was written and God's sovereignty in that moment of chaos in my life. Then "Power to Redeem." That's one of my favorites to sing.
Lauren: Leslie and David. They are just so extraordinary. They are powerhouse vocals. They are full of passion. They'd rather sacrifice--whether a note on a pitch or whatever--to create that emotion and that pureness. It's a beautiful thing. It was a pleasure to get to record that with them. But the message of that song is so beautiful. I really like the simplicity of it. A lot of the songs are powerhouses--really big vocals--but this one is just a little more subtle and relaxed. It's kind of my acoustic side of things. One day, I want to do an acoustic record where it's just me and simple guitars and piano. I really love that one.
Lastly, I'd say "My Revival." I really like it for the story aspect and God's triumphant power through all circumstances. That one really blows me away. And we got to touch into some of the cool electronic things. I really think it's a new sound. It's kind of revolutionary. It was really fun.
Lauren: Yes! That's my plan. It's been crazy being out on the road right now because we've been constant. I haven't really been home or in Nashville, so I haven't had time to record some of those. But hopefully in the near future!
Lauren: That is such a good question. I don't know if you're asking from a celebrity standpoint. But if not from a celebrity standpoint, I'd definitely say my grandfather. He passed two Novembers ago and he was my very best friend. We were partners in crime, if you will. I miss him to pieces. One more conversation with him, one more meal with him to hear what Heaven is like would be pretty incredible.
Lauren: Oh man! It takes place in my kitchenette home with my grandmother's cooking because she is just incredible. She does a lot of southern soul food. That's exactly where I would be, at her kitchen table.
Lauren: He has been teaching me all about not working in my own strength and staying in an attitude of gratefulness. Being out on the road is such a beautiful thing, but there are little sacrifices along the way. Sometimes for those little sacrifices, the enemy tries to tell you that they're a lot larger than what they actually are. In the middle of that, I get bogged down. Then I start working in my own strength because I'm overwhelmed and I'm not working from a place of rest or a place of peace. And God just says, 'No, Lauren, you're working in your own strength. You work in my strength. You never live in an attitude of sacrifice. You live in an attitude of gratefulness and privilege.' I really have always looked at life that way--so grateful, so overwhelmingly grateful. But just this past month or two--I think because I've been so tired--it's been a mind game. He's protected me from the enemy trying to come and rock me while working in my own strength. He's like, 'No, Lauren, let me stay in control, because when I'm in control is when things work best.' God is such a safe place, Chris. He's really been teaching me about this journey and staying in an attitude of gratefulness through His strength. It blows my mind, the privilege to serve God. Wow! What an honor that we get to lift up His name as children of the King. I'm not just saying that like, 'Oh yeah, I lead worship every night.' I'm just saying we all have that privilege and that honor. The Word says He is enthroned on our praises. The fact that He would allow us to be the thing that He rests on, that's amazing.
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