Happy to be home, Duski does Alpenfest

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — The emotions will be true when Gaylord's rising country-pop star Lauren Duski returns home to perform on the Alpenfest stage Friday, July 13.

Duski, who moved to Gaylord with her parents when she was 1, had her first ever Alpenfest performance at the age of 9. She is emotional about returning to the same stage after finding success.

"It definitely is all coming full circle," Duski said. "To be able to come back to that very stage where everything started and where my love for music and performing really began is overwhelming and it's really exciting for me to be able to share that moment with the people who have supported me during this whole journey and especially on the show (NBC's 'The Voice.)' It's going to be a really special moment for me."

Gratitude is a major theme for Duski. This lovely down-to-earth performer is thankful for every opportunity and moment afforded to her while perusing her musical passion, but she has also grown a lot.

"I'm so thankful for every experience on 'The Voice,' but post-show, I feel like I've finally written a body of music that I can identify with," she said. "I can say, 'this is who I am, this is who I want to be, and this is the music that I want to share. This is the message that I want to share with the world from here on out.' It took years to find that message. I am just so thankful and proud to finally release music that I can identify with and that I'm proud of. "

Her new single "Costume Party," which will be released July 11, is part of this new body of music. The track is a beautiful and personal exploration of the masks we wear daily as people, and the what-ifs involved in letting someone really see you. This touching song begs questions about how Duski deals with the pressures of her fame.

"It does get the best of me sometimes. I will not say that I've perfected this, but I am trying to do a better job of not putting so much pressure on myself because it takes the fun out of it," she said. "Really the whole reason I'm doing this is not to be perfect because there really is no perfection in this. It should be getting up there and remembering why I am doing this. It's because I love music and what music does for people. So yeah, that definitely relieves some of the pressure, but there are moments where I am about to go onstage where I am, like, shaking and trying to calm myself down and I just have to remind myself why I'm doing this."

Her advice for people who want to follow in her footsteps is heartfelt and really resonates with anyone trying to do something outside of their comfort zone.

"I guess my biggest piece of advice would be to know and trust no matter how big or small your dream may just run after it because I spent so many years going back and forth and my biggest regret was not just trusting in my heart and my dreams earlier and not letting the opinions of others affect how you perceive yourself and what's important to you. It's hard, especially in the earlier years. But I think if I could give any advice to know like no matter what you want to do, it's worth pursuing. "

Most of all, she is just really excited to be home where she can fully be herself with family and friends and finally to reset from her hectic life.

"I'm so excited. I want to be bouncing around Alpenfest throughout the week," she said.

You can see Duski on the main stage of Alpenfest 8 p.m. Friday. VIP tickets are sold out for the event, however, there is plenty of free seating for the public. Please come early. The Alpenfest Queens Paegent ends at 7:30 p.m. sharp with Duski performing at 8 p.m.