How Karen Waldrup Landed Her Lori McKenna Ballad

Written by on November 27, 2018

It takes a certain acumen to write fiction. That’s why rising artist Karen Waldrup from Mandeville, La. relies on music’s best hit-makers to help her interpret and perform songs that she hasn’t lived yet.

Her latest release, “Sometimes He Does,” is a Lori McKenna original song that lists various gestures of love that a significant other would do every day in an ideal world. But there’s no such thing as a perfect world, so their better half stays anyway.

Waldrup came to record the song for her latest album Justified through her work with Mark Sanders, a co-writer on Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.”

“After my version of ‘I Hope You Dance’ went viral online and hit more than 25 million views,” Waldrup tells, “he asked me to sing it with him at Tin Pan South. As we were visiting, he asked if there were any Lori McKenna songs I’d want to record. I started laughing because I didn’t think there was a chance I could ever record ‘Sometimes He Does.’ He texted her and told her how much I love the song, and she messaged back right away that she was thankful and would love if I recorded it.”
The official video for “Sometimes He Does” was shot on the Jones Family Farm in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Get to know more of Waldrup in her own words below.

When people connect to my music, especially if it’s hopeful music, it makes it all worthwhile. It takes a long time to build an artist’s career that is sustainable and to appeal to people on a personal level, so when someone recognizes themselves in my art, it really makes all the blood, sweat and prayers feel justified.

To me, the most difficult subjects to write about are the ones I’ve never lived. I haven’t been married or had kids. So, I don’t have the experience to write a song about the struggles of being a mom, for example. If you’ve lived it you can write something much more authentically. I can always write something fictional for another writer or pull from something they’ve lived, but for my own artist career, I try to stick to what I know and have experienced for myself.

I’ve always wanted to work with Shania Twain. I love her. Singing with her would absolutely be a dream come true. Of course, I’d also love to work with Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Aaron Lewis, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and any of the great songwriters in this town. Collaborating to create music is such an amazing experience, and I’ve been truly blessed to work with so many fantastic artists and writers.

The best advice I’ve been given in my career so far is “No,” just means, “Not now.” I truly believe in that. Just because you get a “no” today doesn’t mean it’s a no forever. It’s best to take it as a “not now” and keep doing your thing — the thing God created you to do.

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