By Jason A. Smith
McDONOUGH — Lauren Matthews of McDonough said there are no words to describe how she feels about the chance to perform her music in Atlanta this month.
“It’s pretty crazy,” she said. “It’s incredible.”
Matthews, 15, will headline the 2013 Showcase Feb. 23 at the Center Stage Theater in Atlanta. She will release her 3-song debut album, “Stuck In My Head,” the same day.
The Union Grove High School sophomore got the opportunity to sing at the Showcase by winning an Artist Search competition sponsored by Big Snow Entertainment.
Her victory garnered her a $25,000 recording package and she will release her debut album the day of her performance.
Matthews has been singing since she was a little girl and first knew she wanted to be a performer when she was 9 years old.
“When I started getting attention, it just felt right to be in front of people,” she said.
Matthews’ musical influences include well-known artists like Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin and newer acts such as Blue October and A.W.O.L. Nation. Blue October, she said, performed at the Center Stage Theater late last year.
“I get to play on the same stage as one of my idols, Blue October, four months later,” she said.
Matthews, who has taken her brand of indie pop-rock music to the stage for the last three years, said she gets an adrenalin rush from performing her songs.
“I become a different person,” she said.
Matthews was one of more than 100 people from all over the state who took part the Artist Search at The Vinyl in Atlanta. She was the last person who actually signed up for the contest.
BSE is an independent record label specializing in artist development, artist management and music production. The label’s Founder and President Ryan Snow said Matthews quickly made an impression on him.
“I was looking for somebody that could make the room stop in its place,” he said. “It was incredible. I knew I had found my winner.”
Matthews said she and her family — including parents Adam and Lindsay, 9-year-old brother Caleb and 12-year-old sister Leah — couldn’t contain their excitement when she won the Artist Search.
“Everyone cried,” she said. “My face hurt from smiling.”
Matthews and 13 other acts will perform in this month’s Showcase. Those acts include Big Snow, Chris Cauley from season 2 of “The Voice,” Caleb Asher, Justin Monday, Makeshift Jukebox, Sean Newberry, Dana Kelson, Oliver and the Jaywalkers, Erin Lamb, Leigh Coffey, Megg Serrano and Brittany Young.
Matthews is planning to record more songs for “Stuck In My Head” after her upcoming performance. She hopes her outlook on music will make a difference in the way people think about it.
“It’s not about how well you sing,” she said. “It’s about how you make the person feel.”
Doors at the Feb. 23 Showcase will open at 5 p.m. and the show will start at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and the Center Stage box office.