THE INTER-MOUNTAIN - A former “American Idol” contestant traveling to Elkins this Friday is excited about giving back to the community.
Lauren Alaina, runner-up of the 10th season of “American Idol,” will headline Friday’s Deja vu performance at Davis & Elkins College with opening act Trent Harmon, winner of the 15th season.
“If anyone has ever seen us before, they’re going to see a different show if they come out to this one because we’ve changed it up a little bit. We still do some older stuff, but we’re doing a lot of new stuff, and our shows are really fun, so hopefully everybody comes out,” Alaina said.
For the third consecutive year, D&E has partnered with area businesses to sponsor a music show that will bring two American Idol contestants to the area with proceeds going directly to the Elkins/Randolph County YMCA.
Alaina said anytime she is able to help out in any fashion, she is doing what she loves.
“I love what I do so much that it doesn’t really feel like work to me. So, I like to get to do things that help other people while doing what I love when someone else benefits from it, because I feel like I get to benefit it from it so much,” Alaina said.
Elkins/Randolph County YMCA Executive Director Sid Gillispie explained that proceeds from the concert will be put toward various projects, including youth programs, sponsorships and facility maintenance.
Alaina said contributions from the Deja vu Music Festival going to the local YMCA is a great way to give to the community.
For six years, the artist and songwriter has participated in a celebrity softball game that benefits a cancer research hospital in addition to serving as an ambassador for the Special Olympics. In 2015, Alaina also participated in the first-ever Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America.
“It is nice to see Lauren now giving back by participating in cancer research awareness, supporting Special Olympics, and now supporting the Elkins/Randolph County YMCA in Elkins. Her care, love and support is truly appreciated,” said Scott Goddard, Davis & Elkins College vice president for student affairs.
Since capturing America’s hearts when she appeared on Season 10 of “American Idol” in 2011, Alaina was nominated for a number of Teen Choice and CMT Music Awards and toured with several big names in country music, including Jason Aldean and Alan Jackson.
Alaina explained that “American Idol” was one of her favorite shows growing up and that she was determined at a very young age to audition for the show.
“I started saying at a pretty young age that I was going to do it, and it really worked out perfectly because the year I turned 15, they dropped the age to 15, so I was able to audition,” Alaina said.
The artist said she believes everyone should follow their passion in life, just as she was able to do.
“I think everyone has a dream, and we should go after them. We shouldn’t run from what we want – we should go straight for it,” Alaina said.
“Road Less Traveled,” a single with an message of self-acceptance, was Alaina’s first No. 1 radio hit.
“What has really changed lately for me is my response — the way people are responding to my music because I just got my first No. 1, and it is so encouraging to see what success on radio really does for you and how powerful it is,” Alaina said.
Recognized by Rolling Stone as a “Must-See Act,” Alaina recently was nominated for the 2017 Academy of Country Music New Female Vocalist of the Year, something that has made her extremely proud.
“I got my first ACM nomination this year, and I was really excited about that,” Alaina said.
Opening for Alaina is Trent Harmon, who also was successful on “American Idol.” The entertainer earned a spot on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart just one week after the show ended in early 2016 with “Falling,” written by country star Keith Urban and songwriters Dallas Davidson and Brett James.
The concert will get underway at 7:30 p.m. at the Claude King Davis Memorial Plaza on the D&E campus. Tickets are $35 and go on sale beginning at 10 a.m. Friday. Purchases may be made online at www.dewv.edu/arts-entertainment, and between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. today through Friday by calling 304-637-1255. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Augusta Box Office in Jennings Randolph Hall.
Sponsors for this spring’s concert are Allegheny Insurance, Elkins Automotive/Fordland, Elkins Distributing, MegaCorp Logistics and J.F. Allen Co.