When Ogallala native Lexi Larsen was 4 years old, she performed her first national anthem in front of a crowd at a local rodeo. When she was 10, she told her mom she wanted to quit dance class and school and move to Nashville to pursue a career in country music like Shania Twain.
Lexi’s mom, Davanne, of course, told her daughter she had to stay in school and helped her channel that energy to pursue her dream.
Today, the 27-year-old singer/songwriter lives in Nashville, has produced a hit song that made it to the Billboard Country Music Chart and is living her dream of singing her songs in front of crowds across the Midwest.
This year, she sang at the Comstock Windmill Festival and at Nashville’s famous Ryman Auditorium, where many country music legends have performed. It was a dream come true that all began in her hometown of Ogallala in western Nebraska where she started singing as soon as she could talk.
Lexi’s Early Years
“My mom tells me I was always singing, and I knew all the words, even when I was 2,” Lexi said.
When she was 10, Lexi started crying on the way to dance class and told her mom that she wanted to quit everything and just pursue her dream of singing. Her mom, who is a National Sales Director for Mary Kay, dropped Lexi off at dance class and reminder Lexi that she’s not a quitter. But, she told her daughter they would do a fun project together later.
“When she picked me up that day, her pink Cadillac was filled with poster boards, copies of Country Music Weekly magazine and brand new markers,” Lexi said. “She and I went home that day, and we made a focus poster.”
Lexi filled the poster with dreams, and they discussed the practice and work involved in reaching those dreams. One of the goals she penned onto her poster was to sing in Nashville by the time she was 15.
“It was instilled in me from a young age to dream big and set goals,” Lexi said.
When Lexi was about 13, someone heard her singing at the Ogallala Indian Summer Rendezvous and offered to connect her with legendary singing coach Renee Grant-Williams, who guided famous country music stars like Kenny Chesney, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood.
A week after her 15th birthday, Lexi attended her first voice lesson with Renee in Nashville. While in Nashville, she purchased a Ryman Auditorium postcard and pinned it to her focus board. In February 2018, that dream came true as well.
From Nebraska to Nashville
Throughout high school, Lexi traveled back and forth between Ogallala and Nashville. While in Nashville, she took voice lessons and started recording her first album. In Ogallala, she was involved in normal high-school activities like the school play, choir, dance team and prom.
After high school, the small-town Nebraska girl moved to Nashville to pursue her dream.
“When everyone else went to college, I moved to Nashville,” Lexi said.
She picked up a nanny job to help make ends meet while she built a music career. Her voice coach connected her to music professionals, and she started recruiting band members and formed friendships with others in the industry.
Lexi recorded her first album at age 16 while still in high school and has recorded two others since then. Her best-known album is titled “Good Memories” and features her hit song, “You Can Leave,” which reached No. 37 on the Music Row Chart and No. 53 on Billboard Indicator.
Lexi describes her music as traditional 90s country mixed with modern country. It’s a mix of Martina McBride, Jewel and a little bit of Carrie Underwood, she said.
She writes her own music, often with the help of friends. Her song titled “Corn” was inspired by a trip home to her farm near Ogallala with a friend and a co-writer.
“We were sitting in the living room at my parent’s house, and he looked out the window and said, there is just a bunch of corn out here,” Lexi said. “And, then he said, “Corn makes a girl crazy.’ And all of a sudden, we had to write a song.”
One of her new songs, “Jesus and Me,” was inspired by her grandfather, who is a recovering alcoholic and conquered his addiction by spending time alone with Jesus. “’For three days it was just me and Jesus’,” she said her grandfather told her. This emotional song resonates with others who are facing similar situations.
“Jesus and Me” can be found on Lexi’s new EP called “Shakin” that is available on iTunes and Spotify.
Lexi said she hopes her music gives listeners a sense of fun, takes them back to a moment when they felt the same way or allows them to escape and daydream.
Lexi said she hopes to get back to writing and singing new songs this fall after she enjoys her summer tour, which is sponsored by Viaero Wireless and has taken her to Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming. She will also travel to California to perform this fall. Lexi serves as an official ambassador for Durango boots, which was also a focus board goal.
Lexi said she faces an uphill battle as a female country music singer in a male-dominated industry.
“As a woman, it’s very hard in Nashville,” she said. “But, that’s something I don’t let freak me out and scare me. I just keep going and staying true to who I am as a person.”
Lexi credits her mom and dad for giving her the confidence and perseverance to set goals and to keep pursuing her dream.
“I would just love to be able to keep playing music and performing with my band,” she said. “Just to be able to keep doing that put out new music is the goal.”
If she secures a record deal and a big tour bus that would be the topping on the cake.
Lexi will be performing in Nebraska on Friday, July 13, at the Arthur Sandhills Champion Ranch Rodeo and on Aug. 7 at the Greely County Fair in Spalding.
For more information about Lexi, her music and other upcoming performances, visit www.lexilarsen.com.