In January, Lauren Weintraub was driving around Nashville, feeling disconnected and out of sorts about not having been on a stage for almost a year. The singer-songwriter was listening to some of her song demos as she drove, and decided to post a video of herself playing one of the songs on TikTok. “I thought, I might as well just throw it on this new app that everyone’s using and see what happens,” she says.
What happened was the last thing she expected. The song, “She’s Mine,” has been viewed over 1.7 million times; that exposure, once she put the song out as a single, led to airplay on SiriusXM and spots on several Spotify playlists, on Apple Music’s “Soundcheck,” and elsewhere.
Weintraub grew up in Sudbury with three brothers (she’s a triplet with two of them). When her parents put her in dance class after realizing that sports were not her thing (“I was the girl doing cartwheels in the outfield at T-ball games”) she quickly realized that she loved to sing and dance. She started pursuing theater when she was 9, and was serious enough about it to obtain her Actors’ Equity card by the time she got to high school. But she also discovered the guitar when she got there, and when she started writing songs, it flipped a switch, she says. “I remember the day I wrote my first song. I finished it, and I just knew from that second on.” So she put theater aside for music, busking at Faneuil Hall and playing area open mics before moving to Nashville in 2017 to pursue a musical career there.
We reached the Massachusetts native by phone to talk about her TikTok explosion and her ongoing pursuit of her dream in Music City, USA.
Q. You moved to Nashville to start a songwriting major at Belmont University, but you left school after a year and a half. What was your reason for leaving?
A. I got offered a publishing deal to write songs. I walked into the publisher’s office and played three songs, and they offered me a deal on the spot. They were going to do a co-venture with Brandy Clark, and she is one of the reasons I started writing songs. So it all just kind of fell together in a way that felt like it was meant to be. I’m very much a person who wants to put all my energy into one thing, so I came to the conclusion that I wanted to leave school to pursue this full time and not mess it up.
Q. But you’re also still pursuing a career as a performing artist?
A. Yes, that’s why I got into all of this. I always knew my artistry was number one to me, but it got put on the backburner with COVID. I couldn’t play shows and have labels come to see these shows, which is the next step. So what happened with TikTok was a great thing; it expedited everything.
Q. It sounds like it was sort of a serendipitous decision to put your song on there.
A. I had been toying with the idea. But for sure, it was; it was a random thing I did on a Wednesday that changed everything.
Q. Musically, do you see yourself as fitting in to the current landscape of mainstream country?
A. Spotify put me on a pop playlist and I thought, that is really interesting, I guess pop music is really just popular music. I call it the Taylor Swift effect. When I was 8 years old they were playing her on regular radio just because she was such a big thing that genre didn’t even matter. So that’s always my goal with my music. I have big dreams to end up on pop radio, too, but I think a great starting point is country radio, because it’s just such a tight-knit family.
Q. So, what’s next?
A. I’m going to just keep putting out songs. I’m working on another one right now to get out. And I’m talking to labels, and working on figuring out what I want, because right now it’s really just my publishing deal. I’m trying to slowly and intentionally build something, not rushing into anything but trying to get it all figured out.
Interview has been edited and condensed. Stuart Munro can be reached at email@example.com