Lauren Daigle Finding Faith Again
Lauren Daigle was recognized for her genre of the decade as a Christian artist when she released her first album How Can It Be in 2015 making it platinum status. Like many of her successors, Chris Tomlin, Francesca Batisttille, Danney Gokey, Jeremy Camp, and Matthew West, Daigle’s determination and efforts earned her “No. 1 on the Billboard Top Christian Albums chart.” (Wikipedia, 2019). Daigle then went on to pursue her career releasing her second album in 2018, “becoming the highest-charting Christian album by a woman in over 20 years, and No. 1 on the Top Christian Albums chart.” (Earl, 2018) Lauren Daigle’s second successful debut album Look Up Child transitions from subtle Contemporary Christian to what mimics Christian Alternative, particularly pop, a much broader genre that empowers a variety of styles, tones, and compelling lyrics that still constrain to her strong beliefs but also open up to a spectrum that more listeners could find relevant and connect with outside of gospel.
Daigle’s first album How Can It Be encourages listeners to join in the praise through her intense and powerful lyrics. She offers her strong emotions, honesty and faith, and delivers a message that is more along the lines of her religious disciplines inviting others to seek her beliefs as well. However, with Look Up Child, Daigle makes a crossover to what seems relatively like pop music but also combines hip hop and at times we get a little bit of slow rock thrown into the mix. Her piercing and burly as well as tender vocals combined with her lyrics to embody subtle yet uprising evolution music. As Daigle contributes a diverse range of dynamic music, her message of acceptance, self-worth, and emotions articulated are not necessarily confined to worship as many songs could be referring to just about anyone and be relevant to not only a Christian fan base. Because “Daigle grew up enthralled by the music of iconic vocalists Celine Dion and Whitney Houston, and initially pursued a pop career,” it’s no surprise that Look Up Child’s Alternative upbeat waves and shift in vocal tones stray away from Christian traditional values and could easily be mistaken for worldly music. (Nicholson, 2018)
The album Look Up Child starts off with “Still Rolling Stones,” a thunderous tune that carries the pace soaring above How Can It Be. Though it may catch you off guard to to hear such a fresh focus in this album compared to How Can It Be, the unexpected beat strikes as attractive and limitless.
Many have deemed her strong lyrics and sharp vocals compare to that of singer, Adele with her song “Rolling in the Deep.” Daigle’s empowering lyrics, A dead man walking / Till love came calling / Rise up (rise up) / Rise up (rise up), doesn’t just bring hope and inspiration to those who support her, but her swaying orchestra speaks volumes and reveals her pure honesty.
She slows down the tempo with “Rescue” and “This Girl” but briskly jumps into “Your Wings,” which even incorporates reggaeton where she impersonates Zhavia Ward a hip-hop R&B artist. The song resembles “Send Me Your Location” by Khalid where Daigle adjust to raspy vocals like that of Ward and similar beats that could fit right in on any music station.
Taking a step forward, Daigle takes a swing at the world with “You Say” with just the use of the piano and her delicate vocals that seeps into your brain. Though she took a chance when she wrote the songs for Look Up Child, Daigle’s “You Say” production of soul-searching lyrics transports you to tranquility and has a way of leaving a mark with its memorable sound form that many can connect with. Daigle “told people that fans have even credited the song with saving their lives.” (Butler, 2018)
She then sets a soothing melody with “Everything” proving her passion as a Christian artist. And yet, “Everything” does become repetitive and somber which defeats what Look Up Child is trying to establish. “Love Like This,” on the other hand, dives back into Christian Alternative and the impression of music being speckled with her clever phrases and refined arrangements. Although, “Look Up Child” may also be repetitive, the lyrics reach a wide range of listeners and her solid tone raises the bar. Her catchy beat and verses become validly relatable. Look Up Child” only adds to Daigle’s passion behind Contemporary Christian music where she reminds an audience to have faith when there is hardship and struggles. She sings from her heart bringing her unique qualities all while being completely vulnerable.
Towards the latter half of the album, “Losing My Religion” turns to a conventional path on the road to an expansive direction. The title alone attracts attention as to where her faith lies and what audience she is aiming to please. She establishes an effective statement with this verse, I’ve been an actor on a stage/ Playing a role I have to play /. The word choice, living behind a mascaraed, narrows down to soul searching and seems to play a huge role of importance behind the meaning of this song. With every note she hits, Daigle executes grace, control, and her personality radiates through her, bringing the crowd to a silence. Where “Rebel Heart” and “Inevitable” contribute to doubt, fighting for acceptance, and surrendering, “Daigle writes without fearing judgement discovering her beliefs all over again.” (Jones, 2018)
Because Daigle made her name on Christian music, she wanted to stay true to her Christian fan base while also appealing to a wider audience. (Butler, 2018) The fact that Daigle’s music wasn’t confined exclusively to gospel stunning many listeners, her next album could possibly take a mainstream path, more so, she may make a complete cross over much like Amy Grant. However, though Daigle explores her faith and her music is motivated by finding meaning and purpose with Look Up Child, she ends the album on a positive note with “Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” a clean and innocent song that confirms her Christianity remains a part of her life. While How Can It Be was conservative, Look Up Child conquered an electrifying vibe. And yet, Daigle was able to find balance not only on a religious ground but adding an edge and that extra oomph she was desperately seeking to poor out.
Butler, Bethonie. n.d. “Who Is Lauren Daigle, the Christian Artist Finding Success on the Mainstream Billboard Charts? – The Washington Post.” Accessed April 12, 2019. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/arts-and-entertainment/wp/2018/09/25/who-is-lauren-daigle-the-christian-artist-finding-success-on-the-mainstream-billboard-charts/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0aa41d7d8fb5.
Earls, Aaron. 2018. “Lauren Daigle Shocks Music Industry With Chart Topping Album.” Facts & Trends. September 27, 2018. https://factsandtrends.net/2018/09/27/lauren-daigle-shocks-music-industry-with-chart-topping-album/.
Jones, Emily. 2018. “Lauren Daigle Talks About ‘Losing Her Religion’ in New Album.” CBN News. September 5, 2018. https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/entertainment/2018/september/lauren-daigle-talks-about-losing-her-religion-in-new-album.
———. 2019. “Lauren Daigle Continues to Top the Charts – Uses Success for Biblical Cause.” CBN News. January 15, 2019. https://www1.cbn.com/cbnnews/entertainment/2019/january/lauren-daigle-continues-to-top-the-charts-ndash-uses-success-for-biblical-cause.
Nicholson, Jessica. 2018. “Lauren Daigle Returns With Long-Awaited Album ‘Look Up Child.’” MusicRow – Nashville’s Music Industry Publication – News, Songs From Music City (blog). September 10, 2018. https://musicrow.com/2018/09/lauren-daigle-returns-with-long-awaited-album-look-up-child/.
“Snapshot.” n.d. Accessed April 12, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_number-one_Billboard_Christian_Albums&oldid=890677921.
Wikipedia. 2019. “List of Number-One Billboard Christian Albums.” In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_number-one_Billboard_Christian_Albums&oldid=890677921.