After years of trying and burning out, a simple decision to step back from the spotlight and sing anonymously changed everything for Loren Allred.

Loren Allred ‘s warm-up routine is a simple one. Where Celine Dion famously lip-trills like a revving engine and Beyoncé shakes it out and stretches, Loren does a full pass of warm up scales and sits down with a handful of chips. The grease helps to rid of the dryness in her throat.

“Before I go on stage, I have chips every time and as I’m eating, I turn my brain off,” she divulges. Her soft-spokenness is a world’s contrast from her powerful singing voice that we would be introduced to mere hours later at our first anniversary party for which she had been flown in.

“I can’t think before a performance. If I’m going around in circles, I’m not going to sing well,” she continues.

This is the first indication to the solid resolve and fierce determination self-nurtured within the singer best known as the singing voice of the ‘The Swedish Nightingale’ Jenny Lind in the movie-musical ‘The Greatest Showman’. It is also a product of a rocky journey in one of the toughest industries in the world, one Loren has survived by the teeth of passion, grit and, most importantly, a respect to her own mental needs.

Loren isn't afraid to get her feet wet in dress by Bottega Veneta and jewellery from Hearts On Fire, available exclusively at HABIB Jewels

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Lorelei Ribbon Diamond Line Neck

Lorelei Ribbon Diamond Bracelet

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The bedroom singer

Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in the United States, by parents who are both classical musicians and professors, music and singing is an everyday affair for Loren and her three sisters.

“My parents would sing to me and my younger sisters before we went to bed every single night,” she fondly recalls. “They taught us how to harmonise and nurtured our musical ear.”

As much as singing is a great love, she did so behind closed doors, put there by her naturally private and reserved inclinations. Moving to Utah when she was 14 was when she came across a small sliver of bravery and decided to audition for a high school singing competition.

“I decided that I can’t just lock myself in my room forever,” she regales. “I auditioned with the song called ‘Someday’ by Mariah Carey. No one knew that I loved to sing in that way so that was my debut.”

She placed third that year and another attempt the following year secured her second place. But in senior year, she swept up first place with Kelly Clarkson’s ‘A Moment Like This’, which proved to her something she had known all along: she wanted nothing else than to be a singer.

Loren owns it in suit and saddle bag by Dior; jewellery from Hearts On Fire, available exclusively at HABIB Jewels; and watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Small Duetto in stainless steel

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“I needed to take care of myself”

In pursuit of her dream, she enrolled in the Berkeley College of Music in Boston after high school, during which she posted song covers on YouTube at the boom of the trend circa 2008.

“Some people who were part of Ne-Yo’s company saw one of my videos and they decided to fly me to Atlanta and record with them. That started my whole journey in the music industry,” she tells. “I signed with Def Jam for a while, and then I was on ‘The Voice’.”

“There’s something that happens when I’m singing that feels like my soul wakes up.”

Her stint on the third season of the reality singing show proved to be a double-edged sword. While it introduced her to the world and shone much-needed publicity on the rising star, the unforgiving demands of celebrityhood and a constantly delayed debut album took a toll on her mental wellbeing

“By the time I was on the ‘The Voice’, I had been in the industry for 3-4 years and it’s just me recording a lot. I had just been burnt out. It got so bad that my bedside table had all of these destress supplements from Whole Foods. I looked up everything natural that you can take to control your anxiety.”

She recalls a time mid-season of ‘The Voice’ when radio interviews across the country were mandatory for the show’s publicity.

“I remember sitting in the stairwell in the hotel we were staying with this anti-anxiety spray. I would be waiting on the phone and I would be sweating and shaking and spraying the spray in my mouth, hoping that I can put together coherent thoughts for these interviews. I was having trouble just functioning as a regular human being.”

Being on live television ripped holes in her psyche and being an underdog shredded her self-confidence. After her eventual elimination, she decided to take a break. “I needed to take care of myself,” she reasons justly.

Loren stuns in dress by Salvatore Ferragamo; heels by Giuseppe Zanotti; jewellery from Hearts On Fire, available exclusively at HABIB Jewels; and watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre

Lorelei Diamond Floral Studs

Aerial Diamond Bracelet

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Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Night & Day in stainless steel

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The international star

She left the scene but singing was something she could not give up. She decided to take things behind the scenes, taking up session work as a working singer. Every time a producer or songwriter needed someone to record a song, she would provide that voice.

“I felt like if I was going to take a break from the music industry, I might as well continue to make money singing,” she explains. “I would never thought that it would lead me into the perfect situation that I am in now.”

Among her regular commissions were work for Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the songwriters for ‘La La Land’, Broadway’s ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and eventually, ‘The Greatest Showman’.

“I did almost all the female demos for ‘The Greatest Showman’,” she recollects. “This was years ago; I’ve heard so many different versions of songs, it’s really crazy.”

“You have to realise that people are giving up everyday. If you are the only one left that hasn’t, then you’ve made it.”

The heartbreaking ballad ‘Never Enough’ to be sung by Rebecca Ferguson as the opera singer Jenny Lind was among the last songs to be written for the movie. A song that tells of yearning for a love out of reach, it would also become among the movie’s most iconic, and change Loren’s life forever.

“When they hired Rebecca Ferguson to play the role, she heard the demo and, out of her kindness of heart, she said to let the original voice sing it,” Loren reveals. “It really is because of her that I was able to be her singing voice. She does sing, but she felt like she should let me do it. I don’t really know the reasoning behind it, but I’m very lucky that she made that decision.”

Ever since then, everything changed for the girl who used to sing only in the privacy of her bedroom.

“I’ve just been travelling more than I could ever dream just singing this song, all over the world,” she tells. “Never Enough’ is now my current identity.”

Loren lounges in dress by Bottega Veneta; jewellery from Hearts On Fire, available exclusively at HABIB Jewels; and watch from Jaeger-LeCoultre

Lorelei Diamond Floral Studs

Triplicity Pointed Diamond Rings

Jaeger-LeCoultre Rendez-Vous Moon Medium in pink gold

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“You have to listen to yourself, even if it feels dangerous”

Having done both – being in the spotlight in front of a camera as well as singing anonymously behind the scenes – Loren is immensely grateful that her current place is the perfect balance between the two.

She credits it all to the most basic, innate gift of intuition. “Taking a break from the music industry was because I listened to my subconscious. If I hadn’t done that, I probably would be miserable and burnt out versus taking that break and ending up where I am today. You have to listen to yourself, even if it feels dangerous.”

A part of her is still that private person averse to too much attention, but privacy is something she is willing to sacrifice for her love for singing.

“There’s something that happens when I’m singing that feels like my soul wakes up,” she says. “Singing in front of people is a very exposing act. It has to be something that you really love to be able to expose yourself like that. Some people might love the spotlight, but for me that is kind of difficult, so I have to really love singing to do that.”

Another secret ingredient she believes in, is not giving up.

“You have to realise that people are giving up everyday,” she tells. “If you are the only one left that hasn’t, then you’ve made it. You just have to worry about doing the best you can at what you do and everything will turn out in the end.”

Everything certainly turned out to be more than what she ever thought possible for herself. She’s got us holding our breath now for what’s next.


Photography: Tommi Chu from Blink Studio
Art direction and styling: Gan Yew Chin
Videos: Guessing game video by Felix Khu; performance video by Zac Lam
Hair and makeup: Gavin Soh
Shot on location at: W Kuala Lumpur
Special mention: Loren dons dress by Tory Burch, bag by Gucci and jewellery from Hearts On Fire in the featured image. Hearts on Fire is exclusively available at HABIB Jewels. Log on to the official website here or follow them on Instagram here.

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