I love how random postings by other music lovers can lead me to discover artists, and that’s exactly how I came across UK’s Lauren Luca!
Captivated by her beautiful voice (check out this acoustic version of her original song “Lullaby” below and I hope you’ll agree) I wanted to find out a bit more about Lauren and her music.
Her interview makes great reading, thanks Lauren! – Lesley Hastings
1. Hello Lauren, I know very little about you apart from the fact you have some great music out! Can you introduce yourself in a few sentences please?
Well thank you! My name is Lauren Luca, I’m a singer-songwriter living in Manchester. I was born close by in Stockport and grew up in Cheshire, but felt a real pull to come back to the city after studying here at Salford Uni.I’ve lived here for a good 12 years or so now.
And I am a complete lover of all things country music. I definitely should have been born in Nashville!
2. Are you from a musical family?
I am. My whole family seems to be musical in some way or another. Nearly every one of them can either sing, play guitar or write music. I always say we’re just like the VonTrapps! And I wouldn’t have it any other way. My dad’s been in bands over the years and my mum has the most beautiful voice. I definitely learnt all I know from them.
Growing up, my house was always filled with music, every family party ended with a singing / guitar session until the early hours. I’d lay there as a child half asleep, trying to stay awake as long as possible to hear it all and make sure I didn’t miss anything. I almost had no choice but to get into music! Not that it would have taken much persuasion anyway.
3. Are there any artists in particular who inspired you to learn guitar and start to write your own songs?
I would say a lot of the musicians that were prominent in my childhood had a huge impact on the style I write today. The way Bob Dylan writes his lyrics and the remarkable melodies that Loudon Wainwright iii can put together. I would say those artists initially caught my attention and made me want to play.
But I think it was when I got to the age of around 11 and I saw the Dixie Chicks perform live on tv, and that was it. I just wanted nothing more than to be exactly like them and get on that stage, guitar in hand and live that life. I just thought ‘how unbelievably COOL are these women?!’ I saw how honest and open they were in their writing, which I’d found difficult to do at that stage in life. But you look at these women doing this and you think, actually yeah,they’re writing songs about personal experiences and putting their heart and soul into their music, maybe I can do that too!
4. And how do you go about the songwriting process? Do ideas, lyrics or melodies come first, or is every song different?
The writing process is different for me each time. More often than not, I am in the most random of places (sat on the train or washing the pots or something) and a lyric or melody will just pop into my head out of nowhere. You’ve got to thank smartphones in this day and age, voice recorder is my best friend in these instances. It’s funny as well how you can see a word or statement written somewhere, whether it be etched into a park bench or on the side of a bus, that triggers all these ideas for a song.
I find a song comes more easily to me when I’m not trying so hard. I often pick around a chord sequence and hum along until I like the sound of something. It’s all a really casual process for me I think, rather than having it all planned out in my head, I tend to just see what happens.
5. Can you remember the first time you performed in public and was it a nerve wracking experience?
You know, I’m finding it difficult to remember my first public performance! Aw that’s terrible! I remember my first few as a whole though, and I used to find it SO nerve-wracking. I was used to the audience environment as I’d danced from an early age, and performed in countlessshows, but singing solo just felt so much more exposed.
I was always quite a quiet kid, but once I started singing and got past the first verse or two, the nerves just seemed to disappear and this urge to stay on stage for hours took over. My parents would laugh because of how worked up I’d get beforehand, but then once I was up there you couldn’t get me off again.
6. You’ve recently self-released you debut EP “ The House That We Know”, that must have been both hard work and a lot of fun?
Yes finally! This was a long time in the making. It was the best experience getting to work on this for the past few months. I worked with some session musicians who brought so much skill and personality to the songs and it was really impressive watching them work.
I found the process to be really rewarding as well. I’d always been solo (just me and my guitar) so had all these song ideas swirling around in my head, you know ‘oo some mandolin there, or some bass in this section etc’. But I could never articulate this instrumentally. So getting the chance to get into the studio with other musicians was ace. They brought all my ideas to life. I was like, yes! This is what I’ve been waiting to hear all this time.
7. The EP includes the stunningly beautiful song “ Lullaby” which sounds as if it comes from a very personal place, am I correct?
Yeah it does. I’ve found the older I’ve gotten, the more important it is to not shy away from opening up and using your personal experiences to fuel your writing. I think showing that vulnerability gives listeners something to relate with and they can get more of a sense of who you are and what journey you’ve been on. I write music because of the pure love of it, and I find it’s a great healer. Some of my best songs have come from a place of real sadness or a really difficult period. And I think it’s a great way to process your feelings on something. Like a verbal diary!
And if a listener can relate to even one line of your song and take something from it that might help them in someway or make them feel on the same page, I think that’s just ace.
8. Who else do you have playing on the EP……and did you arrange the songs yourself?
I worked with a couple of musicians on this EP. We have Tom Long and Dan Bridgwood-Hill, both playing multiple instruments on the record. I’d already had these songs written for a number of years, but what was great about working with the guys was the fresh outlook they had on them. We’d bounce ideas off one another and see what worked. They’d make suggestions and add their own parts and play around with ideas. There was a lot of me going ‘ ok, play this on the fiddle- da da da da da’ and I would sing the parts to them for them to translate. But they just got it and got what I was trying to achieve at the end of it.
I was lucky to find some guys who really understood the direction I wanted it to go in, and who also had a love of that genre as well which I think completely shows in their work on the EP. It all gelled and meshed really well.
9. What do you have planned for the rest of 2018?
I have quite a busy 2018 ahead which I can’t wait for. I’m doing some events with Manc Made Festival and Manchester Art Jam which I’m really excited about. Both organisations are real advocates of local up and coming talent, and they do so much to help these rising artists and musicians in whatever way they can. Both events are also supporting the incredible Mancunian Way charity, who do some incredible work for the community in terms of social outreach and supporting Manchester’s homeless community.
And I plan on getting back in the studio to get an album underway. I’ve been non-stop writing since finishing the EP, so I’m itching to get these down.
10. And how can people keep in touch with all things “ Lauren Luca”? .
Yes, please keep in touch guys and keep a lookout for what’s coming up this year. You can catch me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube. Make sure to pop by and say hi.