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Missing Jackson, Part 7


Missing Jackson, Part 7

Lauren Pritchard

There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life.
— Federico Fellini

To every season, turn, turn, turn. To every new chapter in the book of life, page turn. By closing one chapter it means we have to say goodbye to something that has changed us and transfer our energy into what’s next. It’s hard to say goodbye, especially when you were having a brilliant time, but it’s necessary because it helps remind you that there’s always tomorrow. For better or worse there are more things waiting up ahead. And this is how I currently feel. I didn’t want to say “See ya next time” to my tour buddies. I didn’t want to close my show, Songbird, in NYC, but by closing these chapters it means I can look forward to what the future holds.

Songbird was a total dream come true. I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot, but I really did not think I’d become a composer at twenty-seven years old. I’ve been trying to digest it all ’cause it’s a lot. I don’t even know why I had it in my mind like this, but I really thought I wasn’t going to officially become a composer until I was middle-aged. It seems like such a grown-up thing to be, and I’m only a (what I like to call) “baby” grown-up right now. I wouldn’t change any of what has happened to me, but I’m doing daily reminders in the mirror that this is really who I am now. Ha, I know it sounds ridiculous, but it’s the honest truth.

My collaborator, Michael Kimmel, and I started working on Songbird about two and a half years ago, and back then we were just writing for ourselves. We hoped one day that we would maybe be a production, but there was so much to do before that could even be a conversation. Last May the beautiful people at 59E59 Street Theater welcomed us with open arms into their theater season, and it still sort of feels like a dream. To have the amazing cast that we had singing those songs and performing our show each night is nothing short of a miracle. Our creative team was a dream team of minds coming together to bring Nashville to New York City in a way that looked real and felt like home to me. Our New York Times review and Critics’ Pick good fortune was exactly that.

I also know the Lord has had his hand in all of this. I have prayed very hard. These things did not come easily or without sacrifice. But to be able to have some distance from it all now and look back and say, “We did that. . . . I did that,” feels tremendous. It is also exciting because I know there is so much that we still have to do, and I love that! I don’t ever want my Songbird to stop singing.

The Wilderness/Politics Tour this past fall was incredible from all angles. It was incredibly tiring, incredibly uplifting, and incredibly silly. I was incredibly homesick and Songbird-sick the whole time I was on the road. The amount of times I listened to Wilson Phillips’ song “Hold On” was also incredible. The thing about touring is that you make a family and get so comfortable with that family. You rely on it—the repetitive nature of it, the co-dependency, the hangovers, the tiredness that you all feel. You look to those around you for companionship and sometimes make unlikely friends, and that's probably my favorite part about road life. You’re sanity is tested. You don’t spend time alone. You have to learn how to “play nice,” and it is not easy to do when you’re a grown-up, and you can abide by your own set of rules, and technically no one can tell you not to be you, even if you kind of suck half the time. You learn quickly who to leave alone, who to poke fun at, who to make inappropriate jokes around, and who not to.

This tour was special. It was full of friends I already had made a few years ago and bonded further with. I made friends with four Australians (The Griswolds) whose couches I can crash on now whenever I’m down under. I sincerely grew to love each and every person on that tour, and they were very good to this girl. They didn’t make me feel like a girl; they made me feel like me, and that made me feel like a million dollars. All of this could not have been possible, though, without my guitarist traveling with me. Josh Hoisington is not only a talented musician and a beautiful human being inside and out, but he is willing to put up with my bull 24/7, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I am the living proof that if you work hard, pray hard, and play hard, God will hear your desires and guide you right where you should be.
— Lauren Pritchard

And now I’m here in January 2016. I flew to Los Angeles just before the New Year and celebrated it here. I’ve begun the process of finishing my second album with musical/producer boy wonder, Jake Sinclair. (If you don’t know him, please give him a solid Google search; it’s worth your time, I promise.) I have a new tour I’ll be embarking on starting February 2, and I’ll be coming through Nashville, Memphis, and (my favorite place on earth) Jackson, Tennessee. If you want to come see me in Nashville, you can catch it on February 11 at The Basement. If you want to come see me in Memphis, you can catch it on February 22 at the Hi Tone Café. Our last tour stop is February 26 at the Downtown Tavern, and I can’t wait for Josh (guitarist) to finally see it. I’ve talked about it so much, and we’re overdue for sharing a cold one together here.

As I wrap up this blog series I want to thank all the folks at Our Jackson Home for giving me this opportunity to share my voice, specifically Katie Howerton and Luke Pruett. I’ve kept a daily journal since I was about nine years old, but there was something about having people go on this journey with me that made me feel like I was (1) not alone, (2) still connected with Jackson, and (3) heard and understood. For that I am much obliged. Thank you to everyone who followed along; I appreciate you so much, and your contribution to my life has been significant.

Who knows what the future really holds? All we can do is hope for the best. I have no doubt that 2016 will be as weird as last year, but it will also be beautiful. 2015 taught me more than ever not to set limits or boundaries, and I’m going to do my best to remember that as much as I can. My last thought is this: I am the living proof that if you work hard, pray hard, and play hard, God will hear your desires and guide you right where you should be. Thanks again for reading. Till next time.

Read more of Lauren's "Missing Jackson" series.

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, SongbirdYou 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.

Photography provided by Lauren Pritchard.