Illness, ‘no’ on ‘American Idol’ didn’t stop Daigle

September 25, 2019 / by / 15 Comments

Grammy Award winner Lauren Daigle has found success not just on the Christian music charts, but the pop charts, as well. Daigle’s Look Up Child tour makes a stop at Grand Canyon University Arena on Friday.

GCU News Bureau

Lauren Daigle spent two years isolated. But she wasn’t alone.

When she was just 15 years old, Daigle contracted cytomegalovirus – a virus related to the viruses that cause chickenpox and infectious mononucleosis. The condition was serious enough that Daigle was homebound to further protect her weakened immune system.

Daigle said she was feeling burned out before she started writing music for the album “Look Up Child” so returned home to Louisiana to find inspiration.

She remained at home, away from the crowds at school, for two years.

Yet, that’s when magic happened.

So that she wouldn’t become depressed, Daigle’s mother signed her up for voice lessons.

“I fell in love,” Daigle told DJ Maxwell of New York’s Z100 studios in April. “It became my healing. From that space, that’s where those songs come from. I feel like that experience, I could live a lifetime off of just those two years.”

What doesn’t break you makes you stronger, and it did for Daigle, who would go on to become a Grammy Award-winning singer.

She will bring her songs with her to Grand Canyon University Arena in a sold-out show at 7:30 p.m. Friday for her Look Up Child World Tour with special guest AHI.

Daigle grew up in LaFayette, La., which played a big part in shaping who she is. Her music is steeped in those bluesy, soulful spaces she found herself in during her formative years.

The contemporary Christian singer said she knew early on that she wanted to connect with people.

She remembers growing up and seeing the connections her family would make with others — such as during Hurricane Katrina, when her family cooked pots of gumbo, knocked on doors and offered food and friendship to their fellow Louisianans.

She told Z100 in that April interview, “I think there’s something in that that allowed me to communicate  — learning people’s stories, learning what they go through. … I want to communicate to people I may never know, people I may never see.”

For a time, Daigle thought she would go into the medical field and do missionary work. Post sickness and after returning to her studies – she still was able to graduate early from a charter school — she took a year off before starting college and headed to Brazil.

Daigle has received two Grammys, multiple Billboard Music Awards and two American Music Awards.

Then she enrolled at Louisiana State University to concentrate on a degree in Child Family Studies.

Music always called to her, though, so much so that, beyond leading worship at her church, she competed on “American Idol” when she was 17 years old (she would receive a golden ticket and advance to the next rounds but eventually would get a “no’).

It was when she moved to Nashville that she really started to blossom, collaborating with songwriters, landing a record deal and then releasing her debut album, “How Can It Be.”

The title single from that album peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart.

But it would be her third full-length release, “Look Up Child,” that would change everything.

Daigle ended up traveling back home to Louisiana. She said in her press material for the album that she felt burned out and wanted to recharge. Being back where she found so much inspiration for her music helped her create the album she wanted. It includes “organic instrumentation,” live musicians, a string section, bluesy, soulful vocals and a sense of vulnerability.

The album catapulted the contemporary Christian artist to the pop charts, where her music has now reached mainstream listeners. She would become the first female singer to have a song on both the Christian Airplay and Adult Pop Songs charts.

Daigle has said in the press materials for her album that with “Look Up Child,” she wanted to incorporate that childlike sense of whimsy and wonder in the world, even carrying a Mr. Potato Head with her to remind her of that when things get stressful.

“When you’re a child, you believe anything is possible,” she said in the album’s press release, written by Rick Florino. “I want that.”

After wrapping up the Look Up Child tour, Daigle will launch her first headline world tour in January.

Daigle won two Grammys in 2018, one for Best Contemporary Christian Music Album for “Look Up Child” and Best Contemporary Christian Music Performance/Song for “You Say,” which reached No. 29 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Not that she plans on changing now that she has found success on the pop charts.

It’s all about being authentic, she said, and communicating what she knows and who she is.

Beyond the Grammys, Daigle has earned multiple Billboard Music Awards, received two American Music Awards, “How Can It Be” has been certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, and one of her original songs, “Almost Human,” is included on the “Blade Runner 2049” soundtrack.

Daigle announced on Sept. 16 that she will embark on her first headline world tour in 2020, having sold out every one of her concert dates in 2019, including at GCU Arena. The world tour will travel to 44 cities starting Jan. 18 in Melbourne, Australia, before returning to the U.S. in February. The tour will end in her hometown of Lafayette later in the year.

Daigle told The Christian Post that 2019 has been a “life-changing” year for her: “There’s no better feeling than to be able to look out from the stage and see how people have connected with the songs on this album,” she said.



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15 Responses
  1. Nikki McKenzie


    Nov.19.2019 at 10:12 pm

    Your music inspires our entire family. I wake up to “You Say” and then ask Alexa to play your music while I am cooking. Please come to Austin, San Antonio or Houston, Texas (or all three) for a concert. You are so beautiful and your music speaks to my soul. I know our Father in Heaven is sooo proud! Love ya!

    Lynn Cosnahan

    Aug.12.2020 at 9:49 pm
  3. Janet Davis

    Thank you for “You Say” – this helps me know that I am not alone – every day I want to “renew my mind” to know who I am in Christ, and Christ in me. This song helps me cry through discomfort. Thank you for all you do and are in Christ. Your music encourages so many people to be real and know that they are not alone.

    Aug.27.2020 at 4:07 pm
  4. Rachel Stewart

    I feel like I can step into your songs and come out better. I suppose that is inspiration..or celebration.
    Either way, Lauren, thank you.

    Sep.09.2020 at 9:41 pm
  5. Diane Harris

    Just so beautiful, so full of the struggles of life but how we can overcome anything and everything with joy with Jesus our Saviour and Redeeming Grace and Love ❤️ ???☀️????

    Sep.27.2020 at 8:08 am
  6. Elizabeth Ryals

    I cry when i listen to this album; “You Say” led me to it but i love them all. I cry because – well I cry from the beauty of the words and thoughts and the spiritual purity of your voice. I cry because I love God and Jesus and your words and music bring me to them, knowing I’m loved by them. You are SO VERY SPECIAL. I do remember you on American Idol and couldn’t understand why you weren’t advanced. But then, maybe this album might not have been made and DEAR GOD I need this album. Thank you sweet lady, this old woman loves you for this. ✝️❤️

    Dec.04.2020 at 4:11 pm
  7. Dave Van Pelt

    Love your style, I saw you on a TV Christmas special. To say the least it was an extremely strong performance. It’s very rare to see and hear an Artist that can make you feel the performance from deep down inside. You did something few artist know how to do. Leave them wanting more, you are truly a pure artist. I spent many years working in the industry and had the opportunity to work with Lou Rawls, Helen Reddy, Tony Bennett, just to name a few. All I can say is God Bless., he gave you. A fantastic gift.

    Dec.17.2020 at 10:40 pm
  8. Kwa O

    Just woke up to ‘ you say’ song and o my what a piece. Can play all your songs 100x and not be bored .God bless you for being such an inspiration to the world .Please dont end here cos we need many more from your gentle heart and sweet voice.

    Dec.19.2020 at 11:07 pm
  9. William Slavik

    As I heard you sing and shout the words to ‘STILL ROLLING STONES’
    from the album LOOK UP CHILD, the ‘LORD SHOOK ME.’ I am 62 years old and I can never remember crying the way I did when I heard it. God married me into salvation with your beautiful song as it touched my soul that night. I will never forget. love all your music. We are all blessed to have LAUREN and her talent. Thank you Lauren for answering his call and developing your gift.
    May GOD bless you and grant you with the desires of your heart.

    Dec.31.2020 at 12:51 pm
  10. Linda

    Dear Lauren,
    In 2019 I lost the three most important men in my life: my dear brother, father, and husband. I was devastated inside with no real will to live. Your song, “You Say” helped me to believe I was strong enough to work through my grief. Thank you for sharing the hope.
    Linda Callaway

    Jan.06.2021 at 3:37 am
  11. Kar

    I agree with all these comments. You have touched my heart and will continue as I listen to the words of the songs and your voice and heart as you sing them.
    I believe this will bring further healing to the brokenness I have had as a young child. I will Look Up to the LORD JESUS as I join you in singing to HIM!
    Thank you Lauren for sharing your heart. God bless you in many special ways and watch over you. May HE be glorified through all your ways.

    Jan.26.2021 at 6:51 am
  12. Lisa Bergstrom

    Lauren, I want to thank you so much for your inspiration. So many of your songs have helped me during trying times. I am so thankful for songs like Look up Child, You Say, How Can it Be, and so many others but one of my favorites right now is Hold On to Me. The first time I heard it I cried and cried as it was exactly how I felt. You are such an amazing artist and I really do appreciate your ministry more than you know. I share your music with others when I see them needing a touch from God. God is using you in so many ways without you even realizing it. Thank you for your beautiful music and gift.

    Jun.30.2021 at 12:45 pm
  13. Kate Mullen

    Hello Lauren..
    I reached out to you about my son Jordan …Fort Dix ..he is a Christian Musician. I had asked you if you would visit the facility. I know at the time you weren’t able and I am praying ?you will on your next round through NJ..HE IS dedicated to the Lord…He was on American Idol too.

    Jul.10.2021 at 10:11 am
  14. Bradley Coombs

    Lauren is SO amazing. Her voice just cry’s for God. For our Savior Jesus Christ. I’ve heard many bands and artists over my years as a Christian, but when I first heard Lauren my eagerness to hear more just blew up. I live on Maui. And the church I discovered here about 7 years ago has changed my life. I found the Lord again. Great for Sundays. And small groups once a week! But Lauren keeps my spirit alive!! Thank you!

    Jan.26.2022 at 5:49 pm
  15. Brenda Thompson Lawrence

    The passion in your voice convinces me how much you really believe that you NEED Jesus
    That kind of humility is what draws me to Jesus. I pray that no matter how famous and successful you become, that you NEVER lose your humility and your need for Jesus. Thanks ever so much for being so real and transparent.
    Please, by God’s grace. always stay that way because that gorgeous soulful voice is truly annointed. Blessings!!

    Jun.07.2022 at 9:25 pm
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