Lauren Ashley Daigle was born on September 9, 1991 in Lafayette, Louisiana. In 2010 and 2012 she tried out for American Idol. She won ‘New Artist of the Year’ at the 2015 Dove Awards and ‘Artist of the Year’ in 2016! Her debut full length album HOW CAN IT BE (2015, Centricity Music) hit #1 on the Billboard Christian Albums Chart and on the iTunes Christian Albums Chart. In 2016 Daigle released a Deluxe Edition of the album, which I’ll be reviewing here. Producers on the album are: Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram, Joe Williams, and Sean Moffitt. Daigle’s bio says she “has lived a lot of life and those experiences-some challenging and others exhilarating-enrich her perspective and create her heartfelt worship music”.
‘First’ is an adult contemporary song of pure spiritual desire: “Before I bring my need I will bring my heart/Before I lift my cares I will lift my arms/I wanna know You/I wanna find You/In every season, in every moment/Before I bring my need I will bring my heart/And seek You/First/I want to seek You (2X)/First”. The title track, ‘How Can It Be’, was written by Paul Mabury, Jason Ingram, and Jeff Johnson. It won ‘Song of the Year’ at the 2015 Dove Awards. These lyrics from it praise God openly: “You plead my cause, You right my wrongs/You break my chains/You overcome/You gave Your life to give me mine/You say that I am free/How can it be? (2X)”
‘Trust in You’ was written by Lauren, Paul Mabury, and Michael Farren. Joe Williams plays trumpet on it. It won ‘Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year’ at the 2016 Dove Awards. We all go through hard times and these lyrics are a good roadmap for us to follow: “When You don’t move the mountains I’m needing You to move/When you don’t part the waters I wish I could walk through/When You don’t give the answers as I cry out to You/I will trust, I will trust/I will trust in You”. ‘My Revival’ is a beautiful and soft worship song: “I will run and not grow weary/I will walk, I will not faint/I will soar on wings like eagles/Find my rest in Your everlasting Name/You are my revival/Jesus on You I wait/I’ll lean on Your promise/You will renew my strength”.
‘Loyal’ declares the goodness of God: “When my world shakes/Your love remains unshaken/So constant, so perfect, unwavering/When my world falls/Your love remains unfailing/So constant, so perfect, unwavering (2X)/Your love is, Your love is/Your love is loyal”. ‘Power to Redeem’ features All Sons & Daughters. This easy listening song is one of gratitude for the atonement: “With breath that brings the dead to life/With words that pierce the dark with light/Only by the blood are we set free/With mercy strong to carry shame and nail it to a tree/You alone hold the power to redeem”.
‘Here’s My Heart’ runs over six minutes long. It is a rousing anthem both of surrender and testimony: “Here’s my heart, Lord (3X)/Speak what is true/’Cause I am found/I am Yours/I am loved, I’m made pure/I have life, I can breathe/I am healed/I am free/You are strong, You are sure/You are life, You endure/You are good, always true/You are light breaking through”. Next up is ‘O’ Lord (Album Version)’. Morgan Harper Nichols sings background vocals on this pop song that holds out hope: “O’ Lord, O’ Lord/I know You hear my cry/Your love is lifting me above all the lies/No matter what I face/This I know in time/You’ll take all that is wrong and make it right (2X)”.
‘I am Yours’ is a song about total dedication: “Let the waters rise/I will stand as the oceans roar/Let the earth shake beneath me/Let the mountains fall/You are God over the storm/And I am Yours/I hear the voice of love calling me home to where I belong/It cripples every fear/And the ones who will kneel/Will walk away healed”. ‘Come Alive (Dry Bones)’ was the album’s fourth single. It was penned by Lauren, and Michael Farren. This adult contemporary song includes these prayerful words: “God of endless mercy, God of unrelenting love/Rescue every daughter, bring us back the wayward sons/And by Your Spirit breathe upon them/Show the world that You alone can save/You alone can save”.
‘Salt & Light’ is an easy listening track revealing the desires of Lauren’s heart: “Let my eyes see Your kingdom shine all around/Let my heart overflow with passion for Your Name/Let my life be a song, revealing who You are/For You are salt and light/You are love’s great height/You are deep and wide/A consuming fire”. ‘Once and For All’ concludes the standard version of the album. It includes these beautiful words: “O let this be where I die/My Lord with Thee crucified/Be lifted high as my kingdoms fall/Once and for all (2X)”.
The Deluxe Edition of the album includes five additional tracks. On ‘Now is Forever’ Lauren displays a great attitude: “Take the treasure and the trial/I cast them off/’Til I am holding on to nothing but the cross/Depending on the love that won me over/Surrendering the right to keep control”. ‘Wordless’ was penned by Lauren, Hank Bentley, and Mia Fieldes. It finds Lauren speaking to God: “There isn’t any rush here/So I’m just gonna wait on You/And linger longer, woah/’Cause every time I find You/I’m a little more undone/When You come (2X).../You move me and I can’t define it/You consume me, and I can’t describe it”. Cara Fox plays cello on a stripped down version of the album opener, ‘First’. Vince Dicarlo plays guitar on a new version of ‘Come Alive (Dry Bones)’. Closing things out is a live version of the title track with nice audience participation.
At its heart HOW CAN IT BE is a modern worship album. Strong influences of adult contemporary and easy listening music are heard throughout as well. Most of the songs are on the slow and reverent side of things. They will draw you into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. These are songs about being in love with God and willingly following wherever He leads us, even through the hard times. If you enjoy the vocal stylings of Adele and Dara Maclean, I think you’ll like Lauren’s. The photos of Lauren in the CD booklet are pretty and fashionable. I’m rating HOW CAN IT BE a perfect 100%. For more info visit: www.laurendaigle.com and www.centricitymusic.com.