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"I've always wanted to do music, it's my passion, and you know when you're passionate about something you can't imagine anything else," the Georgia native tells The Boot. "However, I take my schooling very seriously, and I like to help people and I love kids. So I always said that if I never made it in the music business, I wanted to be a pediatrician or a special-needs teacher. I love those kids in my school, they're my babies! They don't really understand what I'm doing now, but they saw me on TV during 'Idol' and I went back and saw them, and they were like, 'Did you know you were on the TV?' I've gone to the Special Olympics in our region every year since sixth grade ... I had to miss it this past year because I was gone, but I think I'm gonna go again next year."
Lauren even apologizes to her kids for missing their big moment this year in the liner notes of her debut CD, sending out love to them from the pages inside to let them know how much she thinks of them. The inscription inside the booklet reads, "Thank you to my 'special' friends from school. I'm sorry I couldn't make it to the Special Olympics this year, but I'm sure y'all won all of the medals even without my help! I love and miss y'all each and every day!"
Lauren recently appeared on 'Good Morning America' and 'Live! With Regis and Kelly' to kick off the release of her debut CD, which was the top-selling iTunes country CD and the No. 3 overall upon its Oct. 12 release. Though she's extremely proud of the music she made for her first album, she admits she's a tad nervous about what the critics may have to say about it.
"They tell me that people are writing reviews -- that's scary!" she admits. "It's not that I don't feel good about the music, because I feel great about the project, but it's scary to see what other people think. I'm crossing my fingers!"
Lauren will return to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry Oct. 22 for the Women Rock for the Cure concert, which will include Martina McBride and fellow 'Idol' alumnus Kellie Pickler, among others. The event benefits breast cancer research.