Lauren Spencer-Smith Drops 'Flowers': 'One of My Favorite Songs I've Ever Written'

The 18-year-old who has gone viral on TikTok for her emotional breakup ballads talks new love, heartbreak and her upcoming album 

Lauren Spencer-Smith
Lauren Spencer-Smith. Photo: Jasper Soloff

Lauren Spencer-Smith wrote her viral hit "Fingers Crossed" at an unstable point in her life. She was living in a friend's apartment and taking interviews out of her car, unsure what came next.

On Thursday, the 18-year-old Vancouver Island, Canada, native released her third single, "Flowers," after weeks of teasing the track on TikTok. Her life now is almost unrecognizable compared to when she first teased "Fingers Crossed" in November 2021.

Spencer-Smith started posting covers on a YouTube channel in 2015, following a life-changing on-stage performance with Keith Urban. She won a contest and joined Urban on stage at a festival in her hometown. "That was the moment where I was like, I am doing this for the rest of my life," she told PEOPLE.

Her cover of Lady Gaga's "Always Remember Us This Way" caught the attention of Steve Harvey, who invited her onto the Steve TV show in 2019. She went on to compete in the 2020 season of American Idol, qualifying in the Top 20, and further establishing an impressive social media following.

But it was TikTok and the onset of the pandemic that brought Spencer-Smith her big break. She posted a 15-second snippet of her original song, "Fingers Crossed," in November 2021, before she even had a demo. The clip went viral, and has since been watched over 30 million times. "Every video I scrolled through on TikTok was [using] my sound," she told PEOPLE.

The response was overwhelming, and her team rushed to get the song ready for release. "Fingers Crossed" debuted on Jan. 5 after a "chaotic" month preparing the song, and the response once again exceeded her expectations. Within 12 hours, it had "10 to 15 million streams," she said. It used to take her months to get those kinds of numbers. "It was definitely a surreal moment of like, oh my goodness, this song is actually going to do well."

Spencer-Smith now has a following of more than 3.5 million across her social media platforms, and the January release of "Fingers Crossed" seemed to solidify her as an incoming force in the music industry.

Like "Fingers Crossed," her new single, "Flowers," also deals with her difficulty transitioning to a healthy relationship. "At first, it was so difficult," she said. "I feel like nobody talks about how hard it is to get into a [new] relationship after you've been in a really toxic one because you just have to unlearn so many things."

The new single is a "contrast" from the previous, Spencer-Smith said. "'Fingers Crossed' was angry. 'Flowers' is sad," she explained. The inspiration for the title came from the "trauma response" she said she had when her current boyfriend did nice things for her. She recalls crying when he brought her flowers, having only ever been given flowers with an apology.

The song's chorus details her realization that her previous relationship was unhealthy. "I guess that flowers aren't just used for big apologies / I guess I should have been more conscious how you spoke to me / cause when we'd fight you'd give me space and not communicate / and for a while I thought that's what I should appreciate."

"It's one of my favorite songs I've ever written," she told PEOPLE.

Despite the success of "Fingers Crossed," Spencer-Smith still felt some nerves ahead of today's release. "When you have one song do well, the fear is the other songs aren't going to do as well," she said. It feels especially nerve-wracking when there's no way to tell if the TikTok attention will transform into something more concrete when the actual song is released, she said. "Sometimes you can have something blow up on TikTok and it does not relay over to a streaming platform."

Spencer-Smith's vulnerable songwriting has earned her a spot as a YouTube Artist on the Rise. "Crazy things like that keep happening and it's still super weird," she admitted. "I'm just so grateful."

It's likely things are just getting started for her. She's releasing her debut album this year, she confirmed to PEOPLE, and fans can expect the same kinds of "gut-wrenching" heartbreak ballads they've come to love. Like the first two singles, the album will be about how "difficult" it was for her to "get through those months of not being able to trust" in her new relationship.

While she's been able to channel those emotions into some seriously impressive songwriting, the process of sharing those songs is filled with more "happiness than sadness," Spencer-Smith said.

"When you're happy, you kind of look back and realize everything happened for a reason, especially when you make a song out of it and people connect with it. I'm like, I'm so glad that somebody absolutely destroyed me into pieces. It makes me feel better – that I have a career out of it."

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