- Mon, 2011-03-07 15:32
A young girl from small-town Tennessee with a staggering voice and a burning need to write and sing songs, Lauren Pritchard packed her bags and left for L.A. at the tender age of 16, before gravitating to London a short while later. Her first album, Wasted In Jackson, was a suite of soulful pop songs combining flowing melodies, r&b attitude, a beautiful, soaring voice and passionate, thoughtful lyrics. With plenty of tour dates in the diary and a second album in the works, 2011 looks set to be a busy year for the exciting new talent.
We caught up with Lauren to chat about her inspirations, the UK music scene and the challenges faced by solo female musicians.
”I Like Music because…it makes me feel like a real person.” Lauren Pritchard
ILM: 2010 was a really busy year for you; what are your plans for this year?
Lauren: I wasn’t to spend some more time over in America, and I’m going to be starting on my second album!
ILM: How would you describe your process of making music?
Lauren: I started writing years ago and I think you sort of grow up over time. But the fundamentals stay there. I don’t know, it’s different every time, but I think I’ve found the sound that I want to focus on this time around.
ILM: What steps are you taking to grow from your debut?
Lauren: First of all I think you just reflect on personal taste, both what you’re playing and what you’re not. The more time you spend with your music the more you learn what you’re doing right.
ILM: What can we expect from your live shows at the moment?
Lauren: It’s been a wicked tour! The London show totally sold out and it was a really exciting gig that was totally full of energy. Everywhere we were was just a really good time! And it’s been great with the full band. We’ve spent enough time playing together now that it feels really good to be on stage. Everyone knows what they’re doing, and we’re all just really enjoying ourselves!
ILM: Who are your biggest inspirations?
Lauren: The people who I find myself listening to no matter what is going are Billy Joel, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman… I really love Tracy Chapman. That sort of thing I’ll always play no matter what’s going on in current music. I’ve been listening to Zeppelin’s early albums and really getting into them again. I really loving the anthemic nature of them. I want to bring some of that into my second record. There’s no way to beat them, but they’ve always been a massive inspiration.
ILM: Has any more modern music influenced you at all?
Lauren: An album I’ve been listening to loads is The Black Keys album Brothers. I’ve been a fan of theirs before they were a popular band. I’ve owned every single album they’ve ever made! I feel like I’ve been telling everybody about them before they were cool. I went and saw them play Brixton Academy in October. To be there and see them at my favourite venue in London, sold out, with people going mental for them was really exciting. Weirdly enough I’ve also gotten really into Drake. I’m actually really into hip hop music so it’s not that out of character for me, but I’ve really, really gotten into Drake. And Nicki Minaj – both of them really interest me.
ILM: How come Brixton Academy is your favourite venue?
Lauren: Well when you get in there, it’s beautiful. I just think it sounds really good in there. The fact that there’s no seating makes a really big difference. It forces people to have a communal dance, and I think that’s a good thing. Also everything I’ve ever seen there have just been great!
ILM: How do you think Tennessee has influenced your music?
Lauren: When making the debut record there were little Tennessee-isms – other than my accent – that were unintended. Once the record was done it was sort of like “oh, that’s in there, and that’s in there.” It was really interesting! Every time I go home I’m finding new things about how it has impacted on what I do now. When I was really young, I just wanted to leave home. I wanted to get as far away as possible. Nashville was not even an option, and I think that’s because I still saw it as home. I had family there and I wanted to go far away. But now that I’ve come back, it relates very much to what I do now. This year I wanted to spend more time there and explore the great world of Nashville that I sort of closed the doors off to when I was young. I’m looking forward to that.
ILM: Where did the drive to leave come from?
Lauren: Well the reason why I didn’t want to go to Nashville when I was younger was because people had always said to me “be a country singer!” because that’s where we live and that’s what people know. I was like “that’s not what I want to do.” So I think that’s what made me so determined to get so far away, that’s definitely the root of it. But once I did get so far I realised I could come back, once I’d totally sorted out what it was that I wanted. Now that I’ve made this record and everyone know what my talent is about, I feel like I can go back there. If that makes any sense…!
ILM: What do you make of the UK music scene?
Lauren: I love it here! I love the music scene here. There’s an openness here that I appreciate. I really love being around it and being a part of it. And I’ve really loved it ever since I came here. It’s a totally different world to America, because America’s a much bigger country, so it creates a lot of different scenes. Here, everybody’s watching the same TV, tuning into the same radio stations. That’s a big difference, and it’s a really cool thing that America will never have. So it’s been really valuable for me to be here.
ILM: What do you think about the tendency of solo female artists to do pop music rather than something a bit more experimental?
Lauren: Well I think sometimes that really is what that person wants to do. Sometimes people might think a person’s doing something to – I don’t want to say gain attention – but to create awareness, and they know pop music will do that. Maybe it is that some of the time. But I think often it’s just their personal choice. I do write pop music and popular music but I’m a very experimental person. I’m not planning just to do folk. I believe that originality is much more important than what might be ok for five minutes right now. You need to have an ongoing philosophy, which might not get a quick result. You have to be really brave and experimental, and really unafraid to say what you want and not give a shit.
ILM: Do you think that’s something that’s missing from pop?
Lauren: Well I think there’s a necessity for both. I have the utmost respect for pop music just being pop and for weirdness for weirdness’ sake. You have to be brave to do all of it. It’s hard work no matter what side of the fence you’re on. Plus women – and I feel like it’s not so much the case for men – can find themselves having a bit of a harder time, especially if you’re having to define yourself. I feel like sometimes it’s easier for men to be black and white, but for women that can be a bit more complicated.
ILM: What are your future plans; do you plan very far ahead?
Lauren: Well no, I guess everybody in their mind does look quite far into the future to an extent, whether or not you really think about it, but I don’t consciously. This year, I’ve set a massive goal which is to run a marathon. I’m running a half and a full, one in Cardiff and one in Chicago. I’m an epileptic and I’m running in honour of epilepsy awareness. It’s just been a huge goal of mine forever; I’ve been a runner for several years. I’ve never run a marathon but now is the right time. I’m also looking forward to making the second record because I feel like I’ve gone through a lot of change and a lot of growth.
ILM: Do you have a studio time in the diary yet?
Lauren: No, there’s been no date set and I haven’t officially started working on anything, but I’m looking forward to getting into it. I feel that I’m in a place to really take a big step with the next record. As far as everything else in between, it’s really hard to say, especially hard for me because I do so much travelling. I know the UK is my home now and that I’m going to continue to tour this year and play. The rest will sort itself out. We can all make plans; I’ve made a lot of plans throughout my life and half of them have never happened and there’s been 100 million things that have happened and I’ve never planned for. For example, last year we went and did major TV shows in America, and I literally never planned for anything like that. So I don’t know. I don’t really think past tomorrow but I do sort of know what I’ll be doing.
Guest Edit #9: Lauren Pritchard Take a look here