Lauren Jean Schroeder knows what it is like to fight against the odds and the haters.
The 16-year-old singer-songwriter has been watching her 26-year-old older brother Cory do it her entire life as he lives with mitochondrial disease, a debilitating condition that causes several health issues.
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“When I was young, I just watched how he was being so mistreated by other people and he couldn’t do anything,” Schroeder, who performs simple as Lauren Jean, told this newspaper. “I knew I needed to fully to commit to who I am.”
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Lauren Jean says those skills helped her deal with the bullies she says drove her out of high school after her sophomore year (she is now home schooled) and when she performed in front of the judges on this season of “American Idol.”
She says Katy Perry called her “freak show.”
“She said ‘I like the freak show’,” Lauren Jean said of her audition held in Milwaukee.
Lauren Jean — the Amy Winehouse obsessed daughter of Ria and musician Bob Schroeder of Celina — first tried out for “American Idol” during an open call in Columbus.
The teen has already been seen in snippets from the show, and she says producers have said there is more to come.
It is not immediately clear when her next episode will air.
“American Idol” can be seen at 8 p.m. Sundays.
Lauren Jean has worked on her craft, which she describes as pop with a mixture of soul and rock.
Her father, who works in sales for a laboratory, was a member of Blanchard Valley Bluegrass.
She attended a week-long program at Berklee College of Music in Boston and last year won Ohio Has Talent with a cover of "Somebody to Love" by Queen.
Ria Schroeder said entertaining is nothing new for her youngest child, a kid who routinely asked her elementary school teachers if she could sing for the class.
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“It is where she is meant to be. From a very young age, she would have her little piano (performances). And she wanted me to announce her,” Ria said. “She would come out and play, and she expected you to clap.”
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Lauren Jean composed her first song on a piano when she was 8 years old.
She recently released her first song, "World of no pleasing," on digital platforms.
It deals with the pressure she said she felt from those who questioned her potential and mocked her.
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She recalled a long congratulatory text she received from a classmate after she was flown out to LA for a Scene Bot Stage contest.
She later discovered it was part of a cruel dare.
The bullying took its toll, Lauren Jean’s mom said.
“To be put down like that really hits your ego,” Ria said.
Despite those dark times, Lauren Jean says she following her passion.
“I really want to go all the way,” she said.