Vancouver Island teenager Lauren Spencer-Smith is used to her parents picking up the camera while she is singing. But she didn’t expect the reaction to a video of her singing “Always Remember Us This Way” from the film A Star is Born, which gained more than 19 million views in a matter of weeks.
Shortly after the video went viral, Spencer-Smith received a message from an employee from Steve Harvey’s talk show. A few weeks later, she ended up in Hollywood, performing on stage on the Steve Harvey Show.
“I did a little interview, and they pitched me to the executive producers,” Spencer-Smith said. “It was my first time doing anything like that. It was a super cool experience. I didn’t realize how many people were working behind the scenes. They were super helpful with everything.”
Spencer-Smith, 15, is a Grade 10 student currently living in Nanaimo, although she previously lived in Port Alberni for 10 years.
“I’ve been singing since I could talk,” she said. “I sang in front of my school for the first time when I was six years old.”
Spencer-Smith started entering competitions when she was eight years old, and later began performing on stage at Port Alberni events like Salmon Fest and the Fall Fair. Country music is her favourite kind of music to listen to, and it is the genre she and her manager, Andrew Van Slee, are pursuing.
“I’m definitely going down the country road,” she said.
She will be releasing her first single—a cover of “Always Remember Us This Way”—on May 16. The song is available for pre-order on iTunes now. But Spencer-Smith is hoping to work on her own, original music and eventually record an album, then tour, perform and work with other artists and writers.
“Basically, just going into music as a career,” she said.
The Steve Harvey Show wasn’t the first time Spencer-Smith gained a celebrity’s attention. In 2015, at age 11, she was selected to perform on stage at Sunfest in Cowichan with Keith Urban after entering a radio competition.
“That was super amazing,” she said. “He’s just such a genuine person. It was absolutely unreal. That was my singing dream,” she added with a laugh. “The Steve Harvey Show was my TV dream.”
Although Spencer-Smith’s ultimate goal is to become a professional musician, she is currently balancing her singing career with school and work.
“It has been a lot more busy lately,” she said. “I sort of have to pick and choose what I’m going to miss. My goal right now is just finishing school for the summer. Then I want to perform a lot more.”
The viral video, she said, was a surprise, because she had no intention of putting it up online in the first place.
“My parents videotape me all the time,” she said. “I actually didn’t want them to post that one. I let them post it, but I didn’t think it was going to get any views.”