Lauren Daigle never wears fewer than a dozen bracelets. As the 27-year-old singer-songwriter decompresses backstage after a show at Ohio State University’s Mershon Auditorium, about 15 hang on her wrists, to say nothing of her multiple anklets and rings. “Every one has a little story,” she says with a laugh. There’s one with the Acadian flag, a nod to her Louisiana heritage. Another, from her grandparents, is engraved with a heart and “Look Up Child,” the name of her second album, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 in September. “Say hello to the piano,” yet another suggests. And then there’s one from Daigle’s manager. “She was like, ‘I don’t want you to ever feel like you have to put boxes around you, especially when it comes to creativity,’” recalls Daigle. It bears a single word: “Limitless.”
Today, that message feels predictive. A two-time Grammy nominee with a smile made for magazine covers and a rich, soulful voice that has earned her the moniker “Christian Adele,” Daigle is the most popular Christian singer in the country and the first to ever simultaneously top five of the genre’s charts. Look Up Child’s sales debut was the biggest for an album by a Christian artist in nearly nine years and the biggest for one by a woman singing Christian music since LeAnn Rimes’ You Light Up My Life - Inspirational Songs came out at Christmastime in 1997. But since Look Up Child’s release, Daigle’s success has reached far beyond Christian music. The album’s first single, “You Say,” a sweeping ballad about finding strength in God (or somebody, anyway -- interpret the “You” as you like), has spent 13 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, and pop radio stations are playing it across the country. And all this started before Daigle’s newest fan, Selena Gomez, shared the album with her 144 million Instagram followers.