20:20 — 20 Questions, 20 Answers
Published March 12, 2021
In part 25 of our series,
Lauren Mascitti —singer-songwriter, registered nurse, American Idol contestant—
is our newest guest.
Lauren recently released her tenth album, God Made a Woman, “a heavily autobiographical album featuring performances from bluegrass icon Ricky Skaggs, pedal steel legend Paul Franklin, and others.”
Join us as Lauren shares about her Italian heritage, working as a nurse during the pandemic, singing an unforgettable and historic show at The Ryman, and more in her warm and welcoming words.
Thank you for being with us, Lauren!
20:20 with Lauren Mascitti
NWM 1): Please introduce yourself, briefly, as a musician and human of Earth.
Lauren: I’m Lauren Mascitti, singer-songwriter, registered nurse, proud Italian, and adopted granddaughter of two wonderful parents.
NWM 2): What’s a favorite Lauren Mascitti song?
Lauren: Besides ‘God Made A Woman,’ which has gotten a lot of attention this past year, ‘All The Words He Never Said’ and ‘Ballad of a Broken Heart’ are two of my favorites from [God Made a Woman].
NWM 3): Name three things that make you smile.
Lauren: Hearing a great song. Singing a great song. Writing a great song! Haha. But the thing that makes me smile most is when a person is moved or touched by something I write.
The thing that makes me smile most is when a person is moved or touched by something I write.
NWM 4): Do you prefer a rural environment, such as you grew up in, or that of an urban setting?
Lauren: It depends. I do like the urban setting and feeling like I’m a part of what’s happening around me, performing at cool venues, meeting new people, and seeing new places. But since I am more of a ‘Type B’ personality, I tend to like my privacy and distance away from the life and noise of the city. I like the city in small doses, but always need the space and quietness of the rural setting to recharge.
NWM 5): You recorded your first album at age 7, and now at 29, you have released a noteworthy ten albums. What are the pros and cons of being so young and accomplished and working in the business?
Lauren: Honestly, I think there are very few cons to starting young in the business, as long as you have great parents, like I was so blessed to have, to kind of guide your sails and protect you from the sharks of the industry. But if you find that you don’t have that kind of support system and want to pursue your dreams in the music industry (or ANY industry), just make sure you are cautious and hold value to what you create. Seek advice from trustworthy people that have little to nothing to gain from your success.
A lot of people will tell you they can do such great things for you if you sign along the dotted line, and many young people believe them. But I do feel that the younger you are when you start in your craft, the sooner you learn important lessons through trial and error, and can shape your creative process based on that.
Seek advice from trustworthy people that have little to nothing to gain from your success.
NWM 6): Who might we be surprised to find on your playlist?
Lauren: As a classic country music fan, I think people would be surprised to find out that I am a huge fan of the 90s rock band, Tonic. I have all of their records, as well as Emerson Hart’s solo projects. I’m a fan of songwriters, and I love his/their style.
NWM 7): You have a strong connection to your grandparents and were influenced early on by their music. Please share a little about that.
Lauren: My grandparents raised me and adopted me, so they are my parents. I grew up surrounded by music from an earlier time, whether it was gospel, motown, classic country, or outlaw country. I think that’s a lot of the reason I have always gravitated to music from before my time.
NWM 8): Please tell us about your Italian-American heritage and how this has translated into your work.
Lauren: I am a very proud Italian. I have been performing at Italian events and festivals my whole life, including the Dean Martin Festival in Steubenville, Ohio, with Dean’s daughter, Deana Martin. I have also been performing every year for the past ten years at the Blauvelt Sons of Italy Italian Feast in Tappan, New York.
I have been performing at Italian events and festivals my whole life …
I have been singing in Italian for most of my life, but am not fluent in the language, so I have made it my goal this year to learn Italian fluently. At some point in my life, I want to travel to Italy where my family is from—a little town called Corfinio.
Being in the industry, a lot of people have encouraged me to change my name to something easier to say, but I’m proud of my heritage and don’t want to water it down. Mascitti, rhymes with spaghetti!! haha.
NWM 9): Apart from playing live again, what’s the first thing you want to do when things return to ‘normal’?
Lauren: Take a trip to the beach! I’m also a registered nurse working in the pandemic. It has been a rough year for all of us, so I think a trip to the beach is what I really need!
NWM 10): What is a favorite cover you perform?
Lauren: Linda Ronstadt is one of my biggest heroes. I love performing ‘You’re No Good!’
NWM 11): As a registered nurse, you are truly unique among all of the artists who have participated with us at NoteWorthy Music. We are thankful for your service, as we are for all of those in your profession and other essential industries.
Please share what being a nurse has meant for you during the COVID pandemic.
Lauren: Thank you so much for the kind words. I have really just been trying to keep my nose to the grindstone at work and do everything I can for my patients and coworkers. We’ve all been picking up extra shifts, working extra long hours. It has been really hard. But I feel really blessed that I’m able to be in a position to help people in a time like this. I think nurses everywhere have a strong sense of strength and pride in what we’ve overcome in the last year.
I think nurses everywhere have a strong sense of strength and pride in what we’ve overcome in the last year.
NWM 12): Where were you and what were you doing when you knew that COVID-19 was going to change your life as a performance artist … and as a nurse?
Lauren: I was actually out in L.A. preparing to tape the Top 20 episode of American Idol when they called all of us into a room and told us they were sending all of us home because of the shutdowns. I knew then that it was getting serious. I did not anticipate it becoming so widespread or lasting this long. Once I went back to work after Idol, the whole flow of the hospital was different.
NWM 13): What song/album could you play on repeat?
Lauren: Definitely Linda Ronstadt’s records Heart Like A Wheel or Simple Dreams!
NWM 14): How do you express your creativity other than through music?
Lauren: Well, I would say I have put all of my ‘creativity eggs’ in one basket, so to speak! I have been known to write short stories every once in a while, but music is really the outlet I always end up going to. I am really into yoga, and I love to cook and find new recipes. I’m also a very proud Italian and have made it my New Year’s resolution to become fluent in the language. So I guess those things are non-music related creativity outlets.
The Ryman is hallowed ground for anyone who loves country music
NWM 15): You performed on American Idol and have worked with Ricky Skaggs, Paul Franklin, and other persons of note in country and bluegrass. What has been a particularly rewarding performance or experience in your career so far?
Lauren: I am so blessed to have worked with a lot of my musical heroes in [Nashville], and I’m so thankful. I think one of the sweetest moments of my life was when I got to sing at The Ryman Auditorium for an Opry Country Classics show honoring Dolly Parton’s 50th anniversary of being an Opry member. I sang ‘Coat of Many Colors’ and got a standing ovation.
I took a step back as everyone was standing and just took a mental snapshot of being in that moment, with my Nana and Papaw watching in the audience, and it literally took my breath away. The Ryman is hallowed ground for anyone who loves country music and cherishes its history in that building. The Mother Church. I will never forget it.
NWM 16): What in particular fuels your inspiration? Tell us about your space or what is most necessary for your writing.
Lauren: Well, I tend to write a lot by myself, and so I usually just like a space that is private and quiet. I feel I am most creative when I’m already working on writing something, when the wheels are turning. That’s when all of a sudden, a bunch of lines come at once, and it all starts to fall into place. If I sit around and wait for inspiration to hit before I pick up a pen or my guitar, I’m usually waiting for a long time. I love the quote, ‘Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.’
If I sit around and wait for inspiration to hit before I pick up a pen or my guitar, I’m usually waiting for a long time.
NWM 17): What is a favorite concert or show you have attended?
Lauren: Being in Nashville, there are two shows a person can see on any given Monday night and both I would say are my favorite: The Time Jumpers at 3rd & Lindsley and New Monday at The Station Inn.
NWM 18): Tea, coffee, or hot chocolate?
Lauren: Definitely coffee!
NWM 19): If you could see anyone from throughout history perform who would it be?
Lauren: Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton, and Emmylou Harris, either solo or together as The Trio. Same goes for The Highwaymen! Any of those!
NWM 20): What is one thing you would want our readers to know about which we might not know to ask?
Lauren: Hmmm, I’m not really sure! I think we’ve covered pretty much everything!
I am looking forward to releasing a new single within the next couple of months, along with a new music video! Stay tuned!
Years before Lauren Mascitti’s newest release, God Made a Woman, helped build a bridge between the traditional twang of her country influences and the modern melodies of her Nashville contemporaries, the songwriter grew up in the small farm community of Louisville, Ohio, raised on the sounds of her grandparents’ music collection. Her Nana was a fan of old-school soul and gospel music. Her Papaw loved outlaw country stars like Waylon Jennings. Lauren rolled those influences into her own sound, recording her first album at 7 years old and quickly growing into a seasoned performer, skilled multi-instrumentalist, and expressive storyteller.
Nine albums later, Lauren’s story remains grounded in the cultural tapestry of her upbringing.
“I grew up with gospel and traditional country,” explains Lauren, who updates the classic sounds of her childhood on the new record, “but this album is about more than tradition. I want to put a fresh spin on everything, while still grounding it in an earthy, rootsy vein. God Made a Woman is a mix of the traditional and the fresh.”
To learn more and buy stuff visit https://www.laurenmascitti.com/
You may enjoy our previous 20:20 with Missy Raines
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