I’m a good ol’ southern girl, but I spent years away from West Tennessee. I learned along my travels that Jackson is the best place to call home. Don’t believe me? Follow me on my journey this fall throughout the USA and Canada as I chronicle my tour, opening of my off-Broadway show, and why I’m missing Jackson.
Thursday, November 12: Sitting here again in the van, traveling to Nashville today, and I am about to burst open wide with excitement for this hometown show at the Cannery Ballroom. After thirty or so days now on the road, I could not be happier about being back in a place I know—where everything looks familiar, smells familiar, and sounds familiar. But there’s something even more special about coming back to Nashville this time and I think it has to do with my musical baby, Songbird, being birthed.
Songbird is set in Nashville and tells the story about ten people living their lives in and amongst what I call home. It’s been a dream to create because I was able to write very honestly through my lyrics about my feelings about Tennessee, love, and loss. We opened the show on October 28, and the New York Times gave us a wonderful review. Nothing like having the coolest kid in class being nice to you. That’s at least what it felt like! But no matter how the review would have turned out, I would have loved her the same 'cause she is my baby. It also seems completely ridiculous that I’m not in New York City right now with my show. I try every day to see the value of this in God’s greater plan 'cause every day is hard. The combination of trying to keep my feelings to myself around all these men with trying to sleep enough and keep my shoulder in socket is definitely, without a doubt, exhausting. But then I walk onto stage each night and see people singing along to my songs, and it all seems worth it. The perspective is helpful. The humbling feeling is helpful. It makes me work harder and want more. It also terrifies me! But I keep walking forward into whatever comes next 'cause I know God is holding my hand, so why should I be afraid?
And this is where I really wanna get real. I know I’ve been typing honestly this whole time, but to a degree I'm withholding as a protective measure. But here’s the thing. There are all these things I’ve always wanted, always dreamt about, and I am no longer dreaming 'cause they are here—right here before me like some miracle. Is that because I prayed enough? Or worked hard enough? Or just got lucky? At this point I have absolutely no idea why some things work out and some things don’t, but I do know that when they are happening it’s best not to question them. The right thing to do is accept the blessings and make the most of the good because, surely as the sun sets, there will be hard times again.
This Sunday, the New York Times will run a feature on me. I will be able to go pick up a paper and find myself in “all the news that’s fit to print.” These are the miracles I’m referring to. But for now, I’m gonna keep looking out the window at the view as we cruise into Nashville and see the Batman Building. Get a hug from my mom and dad. Scream at people from the stage tonight with the gift God gave me.
Lauren Pritchard, also known as LOLO, is a Jackson native. She originated the role of Ilse in the eight-time Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Spring Awakening, and she is the composer and lyricist of the new country/folk musical, Songbird. You can find her new EP, the Comeback Queen EP, on iTunes (released by DCD2 Records), and you can catch her on the #WildernessPolitics tour this fall in the USA and Canada. For more information on her shenanigans, visit her website.
Header image provided Lauren Pritchard.