As seen in Guitar Girl Magazine Issue 19 – Spring 2022
Lauren Mascitti is a country artist and registered nurse hailing from Louisville, OH, now residing in Nashville. She was a contestant on American Idol, which launched her now chart-topping album God Made a Woman. Idol fans catapulted Mascitti’s newest independent album release, God Made a Woman, to No. 4 on the iTunes country albums chart within a day of her elimination.
Mascitti grew up listening to classic country music, and by age 12, she had released four solo records and moved to Branson, MO, where she performed alongside gospel singer (and original Oak Ridge Boy) Gary McSpadden. Mascitti recorded her first original songs at 15 years old and started finding success on the charts with the single “Child of God,” which debuted at No. 70 on the national Southern Gospel radio chart.
Mascitti graduated college with a degree as a registered nurse and moved to Nashville to keep pursuing her music dreams. Her album God Made a Woman (which features performances from Ricky Skaggs, iconic pedal steel player Paul Franklin, and others) and her latest single “One Life Stand” have garnered her massive success and praise. Lauren Mascitti is many things — a country starlet, an Opry performer, an American Idol contestant, a nurse, and an incredible talent.
What has your experience been like since American Idol? You got to perform your single, “God Made a Woman,” for all the judges, which got a great response, obviously. What was that experience like for you?
That experience, that moment when I got to do “God Made a Woman” during Hollywood Week, was probably my favorite moment on the show and just probably the most meaningful. And the option for that round was to pick from a list of 60 cover songs to do with the band, which the band was incredible. I know the band leader was Katy Perry’s music director. So, you could either do that or you could do an original song, but you would have to accompany yourself, obviously, because they’re not going to learn somebody else’s material for that. As you know, I’m old school country, and almost everything I listen to is not mainstream. And so, I didn’t know any of the songs anyway, but I just thought, “I’m a songwriter,” that’s such a huge part of what I do. I would say I’m a writer just as much as I am a singer. I figured I’d showcase that. And I wanted to do a song that really was close to my heart and something that meant a lot to me and had a message, so I chose to do “God Made a Woman.”
My grandparents adopted me. My Nana is my mom, and she was a huge inspiration for that song and a registered nurse as well. I really drew inspiration from my work as a nurse as well. It was nerve-wracking getting up there with my little baby guitar and getting up there after everybody was using this huge, incredible band. That in and of itself was really intimidating. But to be able to get the reaction that I got from the judges — especially Lionel Richie, the guy that co-wrote “We are the World” with Michael Jackson. To get a standing ovation from that, I mean, that probably is one of the highest points of my life, really. That was such an amazing experience. And I give God all the praise and the glory for it because it was divine.
“I’m a sucker for a good songwriter. What I love the most is [Lauren’s] silky quality as a storyteller, and that’s the part I really fell in love with. I’ve melted already.” ~ Lionel Richie, American Idol
“Gorgeous, classic, and classy.” ~ Katy Perry, American Idol
“God Made a Woman” is at over 600,000 streams on Spotify, hit No. 18 on the iTunes country singles chart, and your album of the same name hit No. 4 on the iTunes country albums chart. What was that like for you?
It was surreal and just another God thing. I mean, I give so much credit to the show for allowing me to have a platform to share that as an independent artist with the world that it was just the perfect storm. And I’m just so honored that people thought enough of the song and connected with it and were moved by it. And really, that’s the goal when you write something is to have it connect with somebody—and just being able to see that. As an independent artist, a lot of times, you kind of count yourself out of getting a whole lot of streams or having your song do anything on iTunes just because it’s so hard whenever you’re in competition with major label artists. And so that was exciting and a surprise to me.
We are Guitar Girl Magazine, so we like to ask about guitars. So, what is your favorite guitar to play that you have in your arsenal?
Well, I have two that I usually perform with. First of all, my Papa, who also adopted and raised me, he’s a long-distance truck driver from West Virginia. He loves Waylon Jennings. Waylon is his hero. He plays guitar, and he sings. And a lot of it is in the styling of Waylon Jennings. And his dad had a black Gibson Dove, and he gave it to my Papa. And as soon as I was old enough, my Papa gave it to me. I’ve written a lot of my first songs on that guitar. I love it just the way it sounds. I mean, of course, a Gibson Dove, you’re going to hold it in high regard because of the name and what it is, but that guitar means a lot to me just because it’s a hand-me-down from my Papa. I promised him years ago back when I was still living in Ohio and just a kid with a dream, I told him, “Papa, if I ever get the chance to play on the Grand Ole Opry stage in that circle, I’m going to play the Gibson Dove.” And that came true in May of last year, May 2021. I got to play the Grand Ole Opry, and my Papa was there in the audience, and I got to play that guitar. So that was such a full-circle moment, no pun intended. Another guitar that I play a lot and that I played on the show was my baby Collings. And it’s red mahogany, and it’s one of my favorite things to play. And I named her Rosie, and it’s just I wanted a parlor-size guitar. And I was at Carter’s Vintage Guitars here in Nashville, looking for a parlor-sized guitar. And I bought that one there. And as soon as I held it in my hands and played it, just the sound of it, the tone was so warm and round for a parlor guitar. I just automatically fell in love with it. And I love Collings Guitars too.
You have played the Opry three times now. Would you just tell me what your experience was like?
Wow. Words don’t even begin to describe. I, by the grace of God, got to play it three times that same month. The woman that booked me called me not long after I played the first time and asked me to do it a couple more times after that within a month. And there’s just no words. If I didn’t have video proof from my Nana… We call it the Nana cam. If I didn’t have video proof from the Nana cam that I did it, I would’ve just thought I dreamed it all up. Those musicians, just walking the hallways backstage, looking at all the pictures. And, another thing, whenever I performed “God Made a Woman” on the show with the house band, I was back in the dressing room, rehearsing it, and I was going through the song. And they had put me in the females of country music, the women of country music dressing room. Each dressing room has a theme, and they put me in that one. And I was just looking up at all the pictures on the walls of Dolly Parton and Tammy Wynette and Patsy Cline and Reba McEntyre, and just all these women that I’ve looked up to and singing the words to “God Made a Woman.” I just broke down. And I don’t know what happened. It just moved me so much. I just felt so proud to be a woman in country music at that moment. Then I pulled it together and went out and sang it.
My first statement is, thank you for all your hard work as a nurse and for doing your part to keep everybody safe out there. I wanted to touch on the virtual concert that you put on to thank healthcare heroes. Could you tell me about that?
It was still in 2020. And HCA, which is the big healthcare company that I worked for… I worked at a smaller hospital in the Tristar division here in Tennessee, but HCA is the national level of that. And they put on a virtual concert just for the healthcare workers, and anybody could have watched it. It was live-streamed on HCA’s Facebook page, and Brad Paisley was a part of it. Shania Twain was a part of it. Jewel did a video, one of my favorite songwriters in the world. It blew my mind that my name was on that poster. I still can’t believe it. But they asked if I would be a part of it. And, of course, I absolutely wanted to. I was able to get my coworkers and some of the doctors to be a part of the video with me. You can kind of see them in the beginning, waving at the camera and stuff. It was right before a shift. I’m a night shift worker, and I had my scrubs on, and I took my guitar in, and I did a video at the nurses’ station of “God Made a Woman.” Anyway, it was so much fun and surreal that I got to be a part of that, not just have my name with all those folks that I admire, but to be able to tell my coworkers, “Hey, we got this.” And I don’t know, just kind of be encouraging of everybody during a really difficult time.
My next question is about “One Life Stand.” What has been the inspiration for that, and what do you want your audience and listeners to take away from this song?
It was so different from anything else that I had released up to that point, but I’m proud of it. And that’s one of the other songs I got to do with the Opry band. And the Opry band was so excited because rarely do they get a chance to play a bossa nova on the Opry. But anyway, I was happy to have one of my dear friends and long-time friends, Pam Tillis, THE legendary Pam Tillis, direct the video. Pam is such a creative person anyway. I’ve written with her a few times, and she is her father’s daughter, and she’s just so creative in every aspect of the word. And she does a lot of artistic things as an outlet. And I found out that she was starting to direct music videos, and I kind of got to be one of her first guinea pigs on that. I do have a music video out on that song as well. It’s cool. Somehow Pam pulled it off that we got to have a real airplane in the video. It’s the oldest flying Douglas out there, delivered to American Airlines in the 1930s, and it’s been refurbished and redone, and it’s got an all-volunteer crew. The Flagship Detroit is what the plane is called. They have a foundation, the Flagship Detroit Foundation, to kind of bring awareness to aviation and the history behind aviation. The pilot was telling us that every Hollywood star you can think of from old Hollywood, those planes were the only planes that could fly between New York and LA. And so that plane has carried pretty much any old Hollywood star you can think of — even Eleanor Roosevelt had a seat at the back of that plane.
What has it been like for you to be a woman in country music? It’s not always easy to pave your way in a male-led industry.
Somebody that I really, really admire not just as a musician and a songwriter but as a businesswoman is Dolly Parton. And I feel like her business model has always been just to be positive and not look at anything as a weakness. She was so brilliant about taking something that ordinarily would’ve been a weakness to somebody, turning it around, and making it her strength. And just everything about her is positivity and love and light. And I feel like when you have that attitude towards life, sometimes those weaknesses do turn into strengths. And I just put my faith in the Lord, and I just try to keep my nose to the grindstone and just create the best music I can possibly create, and not look at anything else, not look at gender, not look at age, not look at anything as a weakness. I’m just trying to look forward and look upon that.