Nanaimo singer Lauren Spencer-Smith, 15, has been recording new songs at Grammy-winning producer Harvey Mason, Jr.’s studio in Los Angeles. On July 27 she performs at the Port Theatre. (Photo courtesy Songster Studios)

Vancouver Island teen with viral video headlining first concert

Lauren Spencer-Smith, formerly of Port Alberni, has been recording new songs

A young Vancouver Island singer with a viral video just got the attention of a major American producer.

In the last week of June, 15-year-old Lauren Spencer-Smith, who used to live in Port Alberni, was in Los Angeles working with Harvey Mason, Jr., a six-time Grammy Award-winning producer. Mason has worked with pop and R&B superstars including Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Justin Bieber, Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.

Spencer-Smith said Mason invited her and her manager Andrew Van Slee to L.A. after Mason’s daughter showed him a viral Facebook video of Spencer-Smith singing a Lady Gaga song, which has amassed more than 23 million views since March.

“Harvey Mason, Jr., the producer, reached out to me and Andrew and wanted to work with us, get some stuff written, kind of just see what we’re like,” Spencer-Smith said.

Spencer-Smith, who performed on comedian Steve Harvey’s talk show in May, said she worked with Mason’s team of songwriters and engineers and ended up writing and recording a trio of new songs, which are now in the process of being mixed.

“It was absolutely amazing. It was such a great opportunity to have that a lot of people don’t get the chance of having,” she said. “I’m very grateful and thankful to all of them. It was super cool.”

She said that even though she’s still new to the music world, Mason and his team made her feel comfortable.

“It was a little bit overwhelming to meet people because [Mason] is very well known in the music industry and all the people he works with … but this is what I want to do with my life so I was definitely more excited than overwhelmed about it,” she said.

Spencer-Smith said this summer she’ll be singing at Cowichan Valley’s Sunfest Country Music Festival and the Vancouver Island Exhibition in Nanaimo, but before all that she’ll be performing her first headlining concert at the Port Theatre on July 27.

Spencer-Smith has been rehearsing in Vancouver and said she’ll be singing originals and covers of songs made popular by singers like Adele and Alicia Keys. She said, “I take pop songs and slow them down.”

She said she’s looking forward to performing for a local crowd full of friends and family.

“I’m definitely way more excited than nervous about it,” Spencer-Smith said. “That’s also a huge opportunity, which is amazing, and we get to showcase a lot of different songs.”

WHAT’S ON … Lauren Spencer-Smith performs at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre on Saturday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $49 and $79. Available at the box office and online.



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