For as long as Lauren Hart can remember, hockey has been a part of her life. In fact, a big part of her life was spent at the arena watching the Philadelphia Flyers play, and that was all thanks to her father. If you aren’t aware of who Lauren’s father is, look no further than the legendary Gene Hart. Gene was a hockey hall of fame announcer for the Philadelphia Flyers for twenty-nine years. So it makes absolute sense that his daughter has carried on the family legacy.
Lauren has been the anthem singer for the Flyers since 1997 when the team asked her to sing it in honor of her father. She has been singing the anthem, O Canada, and occasionally God Bless America ever since.
There is so much more to Lauren though as you will come to see. I hope you enjoy this amazing interview I did with her.
Without any further ado, meet Lauren Hart!
Amanda: How would you describe yourself and what you do?
Lauren: Okay, so I’m a singer and songwriter, and recording artist, so that would be my first title. I also have sung the anthem for the Philadelphia Flyers for many, many years. And I wanted to do that when I was a little kid and I ended up doing it much later in life. But people know that my father was the long-time beloved broadcaster, Gene Hart. I grew up around the team, so I ended up in that arena. And I’m a mom, and I’m an activist. So I would say those are my four titles. Not in that order. But yes.
Amanda: Where did you start and how did you get to where you are now?
Lauren: Well, let’s say I just always wanted to sing. My dad was a great mentor for me even though he was in sports. You know, he always gave me really good advice about being really prepared and really knowing your craft and using every opportunity that you possibly could to do it, like so, ‘If you want to sing, get out there and sing doesn’t matter if it’s in your yard or at the mall, at your friend’s house or barbecue. Just do what you love to do, and things will follow’ and so that’s what I always did. And I’ve gone through a number of different roads in the entertainment industry. I’ve been through television, and I’ve done radio and I’ve done records and theater, musical theater. And so anytime and chance I had to perform, I always took it. And I, you know, ended up because of that being able to do a lot of different avenues within my own world, within my field. But you know, sports, even though I’m in the music industry, sports is like near and dear to my heart and I feel entirely connected to the Flyers on so many different levels. So I’m glad to have a home there as well.
Amanda: That kind of leads into my next question. I asked a few of the people that mentored me with my writing and one of them was Jamey [Baskow], he does some writing for the Flyers.
He asked how, if any, did your dad really influence you to become the anthem singer for the flyers?
Lauren: You know, I mean, as a little girl, I went to all the games growing up, or many of the games, and the Flyers and hockey, in general, has a great tradition of having ‘a’ anthem singer, like their own person. You know, with other sports, they, you know, will have schools come in and different singers and, you know, clubs and groups. Hockey likes to have their person. It’s like a superstitious thing. And it’s a tradition that’s evolved. And it’s a really beautiful tradition, I think because it just connects fans and connects people in another way. But I always wanted to sing and so growing up seeing those games, and I would see Andrew [McArdle] and I would see, I can’t remember the names, but there was always a person singing. And I thought, well, why can’t I do that job, you know, and my dad was like, well, ‘practice practice practice’. But he was not a stage parent and so he did not push me to go do that. I think he was protective of me and not wanting to throw me out there because it’s a very difficult song and it’s really hard to sing in front of that many people. So I’m sure he was kind of protective when I was younger, but I finally did get my opportunity. And I did sing in high school a few times, in college a few times, and then I went off to my career in music but that was always a great and fond memory for me. It wasn’t until years later, my dad was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame and on opening night of this particular season, they had said ‘Would you come and sing? We’re going to honor your dad opening night for this great award.’ And I said, ‘Sure.’ So that night, he walked me out onto the ice before the game, and they celebrated him as they should. When I came off they said, ‘Well, well, can she do that every night?’ And I thought, ‘well, why not?’ You know, I’m here and when I can’t be here, I’ll let them know, but I loved the team and I loved my dad and I loved that whole world. So I said yes and things just rolled from there. I had a lot of ups and downs, and I lost my dad not long after I started singing and so this bond started to form, that it wasn’t just a thing that I did in addition to my other stuff. It was a really important part of my life. I thought always from the beginning, well, I’ll do this, and then, you know, my real music career will take me somewhere else, and then I’ll do that. But what I found out was that the journey that I was making with the fans and with the team, was really personal and really important to me, and so it just kept becoming a bigger and bigger part of what I do, and especially here in Philadelphia. So instead of thinking of it, like it’s an extra thing, it started to become ‘wow, this is a really important thing and I really feel grateful to be able to do this and I feel grateful that they want me to do this,’ and the fans are just the best.
So I understand my dad’s relationship all those years, you know, players will come and go. People who work there come and go, but my dad was a constant for many, many years because he was the broadcaster. Now that’s kind of the spot I occupy. Players come and go because their careers are so short in their life but, I’ve been able to hang around and I started and there were the Primeaus and LeClairs and now there’s Girouxs and Voraceks. So, I have a really lucky spot and a really great vantage point to see all of this unfolding and in my heart, I’m waiting for us to win the Stanley Cup, so I need to be in there.
Amanda: I remember the video the flyers posted of Ivan Provorov. He’s mic’d up and you came out and he’s like ‘we love you, Lauren’.
Lauren: I know. I saw, that was so cute. I love that. You wonder, because I’ve done it for a while, I know the fans and I have a relationship, but when players come in and out you sometimes wonder like are people even listening? Do they think this is important or not important? But it’s nice when you go out people are listening. Yeah, they get it. They know it. So it’s fun.
Amanda: I was gonna ask if you’re a fan of sports, anything besides hockey.
Lauren: I love sports. I myself, I’m not a team sports player. I did a lot of figure skating when I was little and I like to snow ski and snowboard, but I wasn’t on a team for anything, except for choir. But my kids play sports and my little boy plays hockey. I love all sports. You know, I’m really into it.
Amanda: How old are your kids?
Lauren: Well, my kids are now between the ages of 9 and 18.
Amanda: I read the old article when preparing for this, I think you had just adopted them in it.
Lauren: Yeah, it’s gone really fast. You know, we became a family 10 years ago. So they were all different ages, they weren’t all babies. So my oldest daughter, who’s 18, was eight and she’s getting ready to go to college because she’s been here 10 years with us. So it feels like too fast to let her go because to me, she’s a 10-year-old, but to her, she’s very much an 18 year old and ready to go to college and do her own thing and they’re really great. And all my kids are from Ethiopia and so when they were coming, I was like, ‘oh my god hockey’s such a big part of my world. Will they like it?’ They’d never even seen an ice cube, it’s cold. It’s just such a foreign experience for them. But they all took to it right away and they all like are serious fans and then like I said, my youngest son, he plays hockey and he’s really deep into it. So it’s fun, it’s a great way to spend family time.
Amanda: That’s great. What does an average day look like for you? Maybe a game day?
Lauren: On a game day. Well, I’m definitely carting kids around to school and doing homework. I try to work out every day, because you know, if my body feels good, and this [points to voicebox] feels good, my singing feels good. So I make sure that I’m doing that. Then I do vocal exercises during the day and prior to leaving, I do this warm-up. I just kind of have a routine. There’s a lot of different things that are going on during the day but I do have my routine of like, this happens now and this happens and I literally do sing in the shower and warm up again in the shower before I leave. Then I head down to the building. I’m an early person. So I’m usually there way ahead of time but my fear of being late is much greater than my need to like pull in at the last second. So I’m usually there pretty early and hanging out and just waiting to do my thing.
Amanda: Do you have a favorite moment of interaction with the player or a member of the team?
Lauren: I have a couple. One was, there was a time that I was not well and I was going through chemotherapy, and the guys at the time, and that was with Eric Lindros and John LeClair and that era of players, they all came to my house to surprise me for like a little surprise party for making it halfway through my treatments. That was always, that was always like really special to me, that they had done that, and Ed Snider had come and his wife and it really is a family and was a family like at that time so that was really great. Then afterward, I had a time where after I would sing, Keith Primeau and I would do a high five so we had that tradition for a while and that was kind of fun. That was always neat to like, you know, be dancing and be like, yeah, high five.
Amanda: I became a fan in probably 2015. And there was one of the last games before Mr. Snider passed. He had the phone and you’re singing to him, the anthem, that stood out to me.
Lauren: Yeah, that was a really personal moment. I had missed him being there because he was always at all the games and he was definitely family, definitely part of my family. I had said to his kids, I said, ‘You know I know he’s not going to come back here for games but if you ever want me while I’m singing, to just FaceTime, so he can hear their audience in the arena and hear his song, hear his thing, so he could feel like he was there, I would do it.’ So they thought that’s a cool idea but I said, ‘that’s up to you guys, you decide.’ It was just kind of an idea that I had and it was literally right before the game. They said, ‘Okay do it. Just do it.’ So I took my phone out and I kind of sang to him and he heard it, he heard the cheers in the crowd, he heard his favorite place. He was a great family guy. He loved his family and that was definitely his second love. So, I hope that he heard that and he felt that love that all the fans and all the people in Philly had for him for sure.
Amanda: If you had a chance to work, or perform an anthem or otherwise, at one event, what would it be?
Lauren: Well, besides the Stanley Cup final in which we win the game, I guess you know, the ultimate line is always the Super Bowl. Right, that’s the other one. And/or the inauguration when they do it for the president, whoever the president is. I actually did get to sing for the inauguration, not at the swearing-in ceremony but at the celebration afterward, I did kind of get to do it. But that’s a lot of pressure. The Super Bowl is like, you know, for singers, that’s the one.
And when I started singing the anthem, and honestly, it was not a spot that artists wanted truthfully. They were, I don’t want to say were anti singing the anthem but it just was like, ‘I’m not doing that’, you know, celebrity people. And then during my time that I’ve done it, now it’s a coveted spot. Now, everybody, like no matter who you are, wants to sing the anthem from Beyonce to you know, the person that sings at your corner pub or at your outdoor events, like everybody, everybody wants it now. And it’s great to have that profile for the sport, especially for hockey, for people that don’t know it to be drawn in by something and then they learn more about the sport they didn’t know. But selfishly, for me, I’m glad that that’s my spot. It’s just always fun to see other people do it and I’m nervous for others when I watch them do it because I know that it’s a big task.
Amanda: What’s coming up next professionally for you?
Lauren: So I am currently the president of the Recording Academy in Philadelphia, which is the body that does the Grammys. So I’m involved heavily with those people and that group, and they do a lot of advocacy and support work for musicians, in addition to the awards, which is what kind of everybody knows. Then right before the shutdown, last year, we had put out some new music and I was going to put out a whole album but because everything shut down, I kind of held things back. So a couple of singles went out, but I’ve been holding on to stuff so now that we’re kind of getting back into it for the summer, I’m going to be putting out the rest of that music, and just, writing more and playing more hopefully we’ll be able to get out and do outdoor shows this summer and then hopefully when the fall rolls around, we’ll have even more opportunities to play.
Amanda: What are five things that you’re currently loving?
Lauren: Five things. Oh Hmm. Anything? Sports or non-sports related?
Amanda: Any, anything at all
Lauren: Five things I’m currently loving, well my family of course, because we’ve had a lot of family time that we wouldn’t have normally had, so that’s pretty great. I’m loving that, even though we were kind of all locked in the house together, those are days and hours that we would not maybe have had together. So it’s not always easy, but I love that. I got a dog, so I love him. He’s a big giant bernedoodle named Christopher Robin and I love him. I got a new guitar, which I’m very excited about.
Amanda: The one behind you?
Lauren: That’s my old guitar. My new guitar, which I love that guitar too, but my new guitar is a rose gold pink looking, semi-hollow body so like a really cool, cool guitar. So I’m having a lot of fun with that. I love that the sun is shining because in the winter, I miss the sun and so I’m glad that I’m starting to see plants come out of the ground and see the sun. And I’m loving that I’m still singing at hockey games. Even though it’s 90 seconds, and then my part goes on and the game starts it’s a short period of time. I love the friendships and I love the people that I’ve met, and I just love that even during the last year when everything else was closed down, I was able to go there and sing. Whether it will be streaming online or for people in a parking lot, or now we’re actually in the building and there are some fans that are coming. So that is something I’m loving and happy about. And you know what, there’s actually a lot there’s a lot that I’m feeling really good about now. So, that makes me happy.
Amanda: Somehow forgot this question but it’s what is the best advice you can give those who want to be a singer or perform?
Lauren: The best advice I can give is exactly what my father told me. ‘Know your craft.’ So if you want to be a singer, or a guitar player, or a piano player or a dancer, know your craft. Study it, learn as much as you can, be the best you can, practice all of that stuff. So that would be the first part. The other part of it is, take every opportunity you can to get out there and do it. Whether it’s in somebody’s backyard or on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center, they’re all important parts of that journey. So just get out there and do it. Go sing a national anthem at your little league ball field. It could just be anything but don’t say no, just go, just say yes.
Amanda: Where can fans find you online?
@LaurenHartMusic [https://twitter.com/LaurenHartMusic] is my Twitter and @laurenhartrox [https://www.instagram.com/laurenhartrox/] is my Instagram. And then it’s https://laurenhart.com/ for all my other stuff.