Lauren Daigle Says Some Christians Thought She 'Went to the Dark Side' After Appearing on 'Ellen' (Exclusive)
"I just want people to feel accepted and safe," says the Christian singer, who just released her new album, Lauren Daigle
Lauren Daigle is looking back on a past brush with controversy — and how she found purpose in it.
In 2018, the "You Say" singer outraged some Christian-conservative fans when she performed on lesbian host Ellen DeGeneres' talk show; shortly after, she faced more backlash when she wouldn't call homosexuality a sin, telling a radio interviewer, "I'm not God."
Following the criticism, "I flew home, got in my parents' bed and just cried for three days," says the two-time Grammy winner, who just released her third album, Lauren Daigle. "I do feel like certain Christians were like, 'Is she real anymore? Has she gone to the dark side?' "
Through the experience, Daigle grew a thicker skin.
"We had a show at Carnegie Hall right after that, and there was a father who looked at me with tears falling down his cheeks. He said, 'My church said, "You either choose to stand up for your [gay] son, or you stick with the church." ' He whispered to me, 'I'll never reject my child,' " Daigle recalls. "You see the ache that so many have felt in having to stand up for who they are against the powers that be. I just want people to feel accepted and safe."
Despite the flak she caught in 2018, Daigle has found peace.
"Someone once told me, 'True freedom is giving people to misunderstand you,' " she says, "and I don't need people to understand me."
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Now the singer is launching a new chapter with her self-titled LP, a collection of soulful, spiritual and borderline-secular tracks that's an extension of her past work.
"It was this rebirth process. This is also who I've been all along. Y'all only just got one side of me," she says of the record, which includes the soaring ballad "Thank God I Do." "I'll take the stigma [of being a Christian artist] if I get to show people hope and kindness and a different representation of God than maybe we've seen in the past."
Daigle also hopes to unite people with her music.
Related:Lauren Daigle Taps into Her Ethereal Side for the 'Thank God I Do' Music Video — Watch! (Exclusive)
"We've found a society where people only stick with people who believe the same thing they do. Because of that, everybody's divided," she says. "I actually don't mind sitting next to people who disagree with me. So many people are like, 'I believe this, and I believe this, and I believe this,' and I'm like, 'Awesome. This does not mean we can't be friends.' "
For more on Lauren Daigle, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands everywhere Friday.
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