Nanaimo’s Lauren Spencer-Smith, 16, recently earned her first Juno Award nomination and on March 1 she appears on American Idol. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

Juno-nominated teen singer from Vancouver Island to appear on ‘American Idol’

Lauren Spencer-Smith up for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for ‘Unplugged, Vol. 1’

This weekend, 16-year-old Nanaimo singer and recent Juno Award nominee Lauren Spencer-Smith will appear on American Idol.

Spencer-Smith auditioned for the televised vocal competition in Oregon in November. She said the atmosphere was “super positive” and she made lasting friendships.

“The best part is not only getting to sing in front of the judges and getting critiques and getting help from them, but just all the people you meet and all the families,” Spencer-Smith said. “You just instantly have a connection with everyone because you all love music.”

On March 1 Spencer-Smith will get to be in her own audience when she tunes in to see her performance on her best friend’s “huge TV.”

“We’ve been watching the first two episodes at her house with a whole group of people. We have a huge watch party,” Spencer-Smith said. “But this one … there’s going to be so many people there.”

Two weeks after her Idol debut, Spencer-Smith will be in Saskatoon for the 2020 Juno Awards. She’s up for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for her debut album, Unplugged, Vol. 1, recorded live at the Port Theatre in July.

Unplugged, Vol. 1 is up against Shine A Light by Bryan Adams, Both Sides by Marc Jordan, Melt by Nuela Charles and Empower by Renée Lamoureux.

Spencer-Smith said she was “in shock” when she heard she got the nomination.

“I just immediately phoned my mom and she wasn’t answering and I was leaving messages like, “I’m nominated for a Juno Award’ and I was freaking out and I was telling all of my friends and no one was answering me,” she said. “Still I don’t believe it. It’s super surreal.”

The Juno Awards will be held on March 15, one year and one day after Spencer-Smith posted a now-viral Facebook video of her rendition of Lady Gaga’s song Always Remember Us This Way, from the film A Star is Born. Coincidentally, that video, which has since amassed more than 31 million views, put Spencer-Smith’s own career in motion.

“Everything just started to immediately happen right after that,” she said. “I got a manager, I went on Steve Harvey, we started releasing songs, started performing. We just had a huge social media following. Everything just basically fell into my lap. I didn’t go out and reach for it.”

She said managing such a busy schedule was stressful at first. She was attending Dover Bay Secondary School during the day and working at a restaurant until 10 p.m. on weeknights.

“At the time when I was having all the things going on like school, my job and music my teachers we like, ‘We were concerned. You seemed very on edge all the time, you seemed really stressed out,’” she said. “But now that music is my job, it’s a lot easier.”

Spencer-Smith said she always envisioned that she would pursue a career in music after she graduates from high school. She said the Juno nomination has added to the excitement she has for her future, but she doesn’t know what she’ll say if she wins.

“I think it has to be an in-the-moment kind of speech,” she said.

American Idol airs Sunday at 8 p.m. on ABC. The Juno Awards will be broadcast on March 15 on CBC.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Music

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Food safety a good practice amid COVID-19 concerns

BC Centre for Disease Control offers useful food safe information for households

Digitization of Peninsula News Review by Sidney Museum and Archives preserves historical legacy

Searchable database will ease research and preserve integrity of records

COVID-19: Victoria plumbing company dedicates van for grocery delivery

The Super Plumber uses van to pick up groceries for those in need during COVID-19 pandemic

Fictionalized accounts of pandemics offer glimpses into our COVID-19 present

Contagion might capture the contemporary mood, but pandemics have a long tradition in fiction

COVID-19: A message from the publisher

We will be making some changes to our print editions during these unprecedented times

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

World COVID-19 update: U.S. expects 100,000 deaths; Oregon declares disaster

Comprehensive update of world news for Sunday, March 19.

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Most Read