Singer Lauren Alaina has designated the song “Road Less Traveled” as her next release to radio, following the sassy “Next Boyfriend.” Taken from her self-titled 2015 EP, the uplifting track comes out of a period of struggle and heartache that accompanied Alaina’s time on American Idol. Though she earned many loyal fans on the show, not everyone was kind or supportive.
“I had an eating disorder for like four years, and I was just lost,” she says of her battle with bulimia. “I was 15 on American Idol and everybody had something to say. It was like I had my really awkward phase on national television, you know?”
Alaina co-wrote “Road Less Traveled” with Meghan Trainor (“No,” “All About That Bass”) and Jesse Frasure (Florida Georgia Line’s “Sun Daze”) and tried to share some of the hard-fought lessons she’s learned since Idol. Lines like “Don’t let the world decide what’s beautiful” and “Show what you got and just own it” feel heavier than mere platitudes in this case, propelled by a four-on-the-floor beat and hypnotic strains of mandolin, while Alaina conjures her inner disco diva fighting for survival.
“I want that to be my overall message — that we just need to love each other. We need to love other more,” she says. “No matter where you’re from, what you’ve done, who you are, what your family’s done, it’s like, you cannot be healthy without love.”
The message of “Road Less Traveled” will be prevalent on Alaina’s forthcoming full-length album, which she hopes will be available late in 2016 or early 2017. These days she says she’s a lot better at handling the frequent cruelty of social media, wondering more what inner battles cause people to say mean things than being negatively affected.
“As a 15, 16-year-old girl, someone messaging you on Facebook and telling you you’re fat is devastating,” she says. “It’s still devastating when someone says something horrible about me, but I love myself so much more as a person. I found myself in these last few years, through music and family and good people around me.”