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)

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 Nanaimo teen Lauren Spencer-Smith to appear on ‘American Idol’

Singer 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

Blue Bridge Theatre
Stratford star teams up with Blue Bridge Theatre

A New Take on a Perennial Favourite

The COVID-19 pandemic had an effect on film production on central and north Vancouver Island, says Vancouver Island North Film Commission. Pictured here, production of TV series Resident Alien in Ladysmith earlier this year. (Black Press file)
Film commissioner says COVID-19 cost central Island $6 million in economic activity

Jurassic World: Dominion, Chesapeake Shores among productions halted due to pandemic, says INFilm

Chelsey Moore’s character Chloe in the upcoming virtual reality game Altdeus: Beyond Chronos. Screengrab
Vancouver Island actress finds success in a virtual world

Black Creek’s Chelsey Moore lends her voice to a new video game set for release in December

Ceramic artist Darrel Hancock working on a clay jug in his home studio in Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach potter Darrel Hancock celebrates 40 years in business

‘It’s wonderful to do what you love and make a living at it’

Artist Daniel Cline discusses his sculpture, Harmony Humpbacks, during the June 20 walking tour of Oak Bay’s 2019 ArtsAlive sculptures. Harmony Humpbacks was purchased by Oak Bay as the 2019 people’s choice winner and is permanently installed at the Beach Drive entrance to Willows Park. (Kevin Murdoch Photo)
Influx of donated art a ‘fantastic problem to have,’ says Oak Bay mayor

Oak Bay goes from zero to 10 permanent art pieces since 2015

Stephen Laidlaw, prepator with Nanaimo Art Gallery, hangs a photograph of Anna Wong, a B.C. print maker whose works are on display at the gallery. The exhibit opens Friday, Dec. 4, and runs until Feb. 7. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Art Gallery exhibit explores life work of overlooked B.C. printmaker

‘Anna Wong: Traveller on Two Roads’ features more than 70 art works and personal belongings

Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus released their first joint album, <em>The Invasion</em>. (Photo courtesy Raymond Knight)
Nanaimo rappers Konfidential and Teus release first joint album

Duo plan elaborate live-streamed CD release for ‘The Invasion’

Next month Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases his solo debut album, ‘Wildlife.’ (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo musician Spencer Hiemstra releases solo debut album

New record ‘Wildlife’ about taking chances and going through changes

Dover Bay Secondary School student Victoria Hathfield’s poem <em>Dear Santa</em> appears in<em> Chicken Soup for the Soul: Christmas is in the Air</em>. (Photo courtesy Darren Lee)
Nanaimo high schooler has first poem published in ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’

Victoria Hathfield’s ‘Dear Santa’ appears in new Christmas-themed edition of anthology series

Nanaimo graphic designer Amy Pye has written and illustrated her first children’s book, <em>G is for Grizzly Bear: A Canadian Alphabet</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Nanaimo graphic designer releases first children’s book

Amy Pye teaches the Canadian alphabet in ‘G is for Grizzly Bear’

The Vancouver Island Symphony’s Back Row Brass Quintet – including trumpeter Mark D’Angelo, tuba player Nick Atkinson and French horn player Karen Hough (from left) – were scheduled to tour the Nanaimo area with Christmas Under the Big Tent, but the concert series has now been cancelled. (Photo courtesy HA Photography)
Symphony brass quintet’s Christmas concert series cancelled

Performances were to happen at venues in Parksville and Lantzville next month

The Sheringham Point Lighthouse, near Shirley. (Contributed - Lee-Ann Ruttan)
New book shines a light on Sheringham Point Lighthouse

Publication examines history, lightkeepers, and volunteer society

Victoria-based guitarist Eric Harper performs at the Port Theatre on Nov. 27. (Photo credit Tatum Duryba)
Classical guitarist to play at the Port Theatre

Eric Harper to play new songs composed during the pandemic

Most Read