SHE may have been born in the home counties- and lived in one of my favourite places, Chesham- but Laura Saggers is ensconced in California. After leaving the U.K. to pursue her dreams: Saggers has been building up a solid reputation- marking herself as an immense talent. A classically-trained pianist- one of the most stunning and jaw-dropping pianists I have heard- she boasts a tremendous Pop voice a rare accessibility. Add an infectious personality and huge passion for music: she seems ready-made and primed for the big leagues.
In a state- and part of the U.S.- where competition is fierce: the British-born musician stands above her peers. Having performed a range of stunning cover versions- and original singles including Summer Fling- there are few musicians quite like Laura Saggers. I was keen to chat and find out what the future holds: whether we will see new (original) music; how the U.S. compares (to the U.K.)- and whether talent shows are good for the music industry…
For those new to your music: can you tell us a bit about yourself? You were born in England but live in California. What compelled the move to the U.S.?
I fronted an Emo/Heavy-Rock band back in the day (Sennah) and as the scene started to fizzle I decided it was time for a change. I packed my bags; bought a flight and literally never looked back. Honestly, can't believe it has been nearly 7 years since I did that. It has been such an amazing ride.
I spent a lot of time in Chesham- where you lived: my aunt owned a business there- and can imagine it has a warm and alluring pull. Do you miss places like this or prefer the excitement and expansiveness of California?
I love this question: it is like asking someone could they live without cheese or ice-cream- if that person were obsessed with both (I can't live with either F.Y.I.). I adore England and will always consider it home. I love the sarcastic wit of the English people and the countryside is stunning. London is a vibrant, eclectic hub of awesomeness but California had a scene for music that, for some reason, I wasn't being able to locate as easily in the U.K. I would say L.A. is the toughest town (socially) to move to and can really bring the most-optimistic person down at times. The opportunities it offers are absolutely endless: you have to be a ridiculously determined person and prepared to work your butt off in order to benefit from what it has to offer. I guess I am lucky that I was born with two stainless steel testicles- metaphorically speaking of course ;) Are there any local artists you could recommend at all?
YES! Of course. L.A. is a hub for aspiring artists. I have played and met with some great ones. My top-3- at the moment- are:
Ari - amazing girl from Canada. Heart of gold, a hustler: a hard worker; her Power-Pop voice is crisp and ripples with woman power. https://www.facebook.com/iamARImusic/?fref=ts
Brian Davis - an amazing songwriter. Every time I go to a show I get absorbed by his lyrics- such a great storyteller. http://playingforpennies.com
Everett Coast - just heard these guys last week and the harmonies are ON-POINT. Sounds something like a '90s Acoustic-Rock band (and oh-sooo-good). http://www.everettcoast.com/
Dreams is your latest cover song. What compelled you to tackle that number? Is Rumours- where the song features- one of those albums that's particularly special to you?
I have always loved Fleetwood Mac. My voice suits their songs and she (Stevie Nicks) was just- and still is- so incredibly bad-ass- who wouldn't want to cover her? I also chose Dreams (as) when playing around with it in the studio it really suited the patch sound on my keytar.
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Each of your recordings is defined by a very sultry and stunning vocal. Which singers/musicians were key to you growing up?
I love voices. I am always attracted to the voice before anything else. Ella Fitzgerald has always been a huge top contender for me. I also love Norah Jones, Meiko, Lenka, Jasmine Thompson; Tracy Chapman, Hayley Williams. Anyone who can sell a song to me when it is stripped-down and in its rawest form shows true talent to me. It is easy to play loud but give me a piano or an acoustic guitar- and one beautiful vocal- and I’m happy.
Summer Fling- released via Snapchat last year- showcases a unique style and vocal. Was there a particular time/person that inspired that number?
Ha, yes. I had just come back from a trip to England where I met the most dashing of young men and got whisked away into a summer frenzy. I felt like I was 16 on some super-random summer vacation. The trip ended; I came back: wrote a song about everything we did as a kind of diary entry and that was that. It was very unexpected: very unlike me; the experience was awesome.
On the subject of your own music: can we expect a Laura Saggers E.P./album anytime soon?
The album is done: ready to release. It has taken me two years to perfect but I am soooo excited about it and can’t wait to share it with everyone.
Having been performing/recording for a few years now: which memories stand out in your mind?
I played with an ‘80s cover band for a while and we played some massive stage. Some were in front of 20,000 people and I remember looking out to the crowd and dancing with keytar and thinking: damn I made it! This is what I came for and then instantly feeling proud and grateful all at the same time.
You are a classically-trained musician. You have had a very rich and impressive musical background- making your name honestly. Do you think the decline of (music) talent shows is a good thing? Are they- the contestants that appear on them- good or bad for music?
Hmm. I have been begged by family members to go on these shows and I actually did a few auditions for a couple of the massive shows and got through- but after reading the contracts I politely declined. The reality is this: those shows have a purpose. They are good, live entertainment. Nothing more. If you are 15-year-old and have nothing to lose then absolutely go for it- but you may notice that you will never find an actual professional musician on those shows. The contracts involved are so dangerously one-sided that it hinders the growth and ability for musicians to have an actual career. Don't believe me? Name 5 artists in past two years that came from those shows that are now huge stars.... nope? Thought so!
I came here to live the dream as a real musician. If I don't make it- in the commercial sense of the word- then so be- at least I will be happy with myself. But I'll be damned if I sell-out and crumble to a huge corporation that cannot guarantee me a future but profit from my talent.
Are there any plans to play in the U.K. this year at all?
I hope so! Working on it!
What advice would you give any aspiring singer-songwriters looking to follow in your footsteps?
Go take a business course in music. Go understand the industry you are trying to succeed in. The industry has changed so much over the years and it is so (so) crucial to understand what you are getting yourself into. You say you want to earn money by making music? Then understand where that money comes from and work your way backwards.
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