While living in her native Minnesota and acting in local theaters, at the age of 21, Laura Osnes won an NBC reality TV competition and found herself moving to New York City to star on Broadway.
After 15 years of performing on stage in a myriad of acclaimed shows, including those at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, the Tony-nominated star was flying high. When it all came crashing down in 2021, she had to find the fortitude to reinvent herself and discover new outlets for her incredible talent. "A gossip column published a narrative that caused me to face cancel-culture," she says. "It was a painful and hurtful time, but it also birthed new art and new relationships."
In September of 2021, Laura and her husband, Nathan Johnson, whom she met in Minnesota and has been married to for 16 years, found sanctuary in Franklin. “What I love about Franklin is that it’s close to Nashville, but there's also such a peace here,” she says. “We felt welcomed with open arms and it’s a place where people look out for each other.”
She also found a creative way to reflect on the trauma she experienced while at the same time finding hope and joy in what she calls the new season of her life. In October of 2022, Laura released the EP On the Other Side - Part 1, featuring five original songs that are deeply moving and relatable for others who may be going through difficult times.
“At my core, I’m a creative and a storyteller, and when I wasn't able to do that through the way I had been, songwriting became a beautiful vehicle both for healing and to tell my story in a new way,” she says. “And I really hope that this music reaches the ears and hearts of those who need to hear it.”
Singing in a commercial contemporary space is very different than singing with a musical theater voice, explains Laura. "It's been a humbling and exciting challenge for me as an artist to discover a new side to my vocal quality, while still creating a sound that feels authentically me."
Her songs are available on all major music platforms and through a link in her social media profiles. Part two of the EP, to be released this year, will contain at least another five tracks. Laura is also showcasing her acting talent again by starring in Shiners, a cirque-style show at the Woolworth Theatre in Nashville. “It’s a comedy and musical spectacular for grownups,” she says. “Country music artist Chuck Wicks created the show and he’s my co-star. We're having a great time together.”
Laura is also teaching and coaching private students pursuing musical theater, singing and acting. “I've been forced to think outside my own box that I had put myself in,” she says. “It’s scary to try new things, but that’s also how we become bigger and better and hopefully reach more people through different ways as an artist.”