So, here's the bad news:  Lauren Alaina knows that the hype of coming in second on American Idol and the release of her first single and album put a great deal of pressure on her.  Here's the good news:  the 16 year-old recognizes the high stakes and yet still feels confident.

She's gone from high school cheerleader to rising star.  And though the stakes are high, she's facing the challenges head on.

“I feel like this first album is kind of make-it-or-break-it for me, because I just got off national television. So people know who I am, but they don’t know who I am as an artist,” said Lauren in a recent interview. “I just feel like this album is my way of kind of putting myself out there and showing them exactly who I am.”

Billboard Magazine’s associate director of charts, Keith Caulfield, believes Lauren is off to a good start. Her first single, Like My Mother Does, is in the top 40.

“Even though she has ‘Idol’ as this great platform to launch her, she’s still a developing artist. You usually don’t see ‘Idol’ winners with their first single on the country charts fly to No. 1,” he said.

I think both her and (winner) Scotty (McCreery) are both in a really good position right now, because they’re both young and they’re both singing country music,” he added, noting that the success of Taylor Swift has opened doors for young performers in the genre."

Lauren's new album is called Wildflower.  Among the 12 cuts on the new CD includes one that she actually co-wrote with Luke Laird and Brett James.  That one is call Funny Thing About Love.

I guess when people hear the songs, they’re going to know if I’ve had my heart broken or if I’ve had my first love or all that kind of stuff,” she said. “I just think it’s cool that I can share that with all of (my fans) the way that Carrie Underwood or Miranda Lambert or someone would.”

For anyone reading this who has ever been 16 (yes, I know, you all have) that's a time of life that has challenges from the moment you get up to the minute you put your head on the pillow at night.  And, like it or not, 16 year old girls have challenges that really put the drama and trauma into any situation.  It's a huge burden for anyone, and especially for a young lady looking to establish herself in a competitive field like country.  Here's hoping Lauren continues to keep both feet on the ground.  Stay tuned.

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