FORMERLY of the American Midwest…
Laura Llorens is now based in Paris. I chat to her about her new single, Inside Out. September was Suicide Prevention Month. As is revealed; Llorens has exposure to suicide and discusses why her latest song has personal relevance. I ask about her musical upbringing and the artists she was reared on; what compelled her to move from Wisconsin to Paris – and what it was like working with producer Charlie Chastain.
Llorens talks about forthcoming music/gigs and whether she will come to the U.K. – and provides some useful advice for upcoming artists.
Hi, Laura. How are you?
Doing well, thank you! Yourself?
How has your week been?
My weekend has been quite nice – I’m enjoying seeing all of the feedback from the video release...
For those new to your work; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am an Indie Pop-Folk singer/songwriter originally from the Midwest in America. I’ve been living in Paris, now, for the past fifteen years.
Tell me about the single, Inside Out. It tackles and addresses suicide. Is this an area you have personal or second-hand experience of?
Yes. One of my dear friends took her own life a few years ago...
She was such an amazing person; her energy and her musical talent were real motivators for me at the time when we met. She inspired me to reach new levels in my music and to not be afraid to show the world who I was - to really be a confident woman.
Why did you decide to highlight suicide through song? Was it emotionally challenging putting it to paper?
This song actually took years to be completed. I had this guitar-riff that I had been playing for years…I had even played it for my friend. I just wasn’t able to put lyrics down and it was really bugging me that I had this music with potential - but I didn’t know what it was about yet.
When Naghmey died; I just started writing down my anger, my frustration and my love for her. It was a big let-out for me.
The video seems to capture urgency and emotion. What was it like shooting the video?
I didn’t really know what direction the shooting was going when we started but I had worked with Clarence Tokely before - and he is a great coach and director; he really brought me back into the heart of the first emotions that I felt when I learned that she was gone.
I fed off of that and just let the performances become a celebration of life…of her life.
What has the reaction been like, so far? Do you hope the song helps change opinions and raises greater understanding?
Most people wonder why the colored powder, and for me, the color really represents calling out for help and allowing ourselves to express our feelings. Violence can sometimes be the result that our emotions make us go through. For me, the important thing is just to allow ourselves to share, talk; live, exist the way we are…
Nobody is perfect.
The song was produced by Charlie Chastain. What was it like working with Charlie?
Charlie is an amazing producer and artist...
He is a great listener and really brought me to a new level of creativity during the sessions. Inside Out was one of the first songs I recorded with him for this album - and he had a vision that the video for this song should just be contemporary dancing.
That idea stayed with me for a long time - and the result is this video.
You are from the shores of Lake Michigan. You seem more at home in Paris. What compelled the move and what are the differences between the music in Wisconsin and Paris?
Good question! I was born and raised in a small town; really quaint and full of nature. When I think of Wisconsin, I immediately go back to walks in the woods; sailing on the lake and campfires in the backyard. Wisconsin is my Folk/Acoustic music side (of me).
Paris is a completely urban setting (I actually live in one of the only parts of Paris where high-rise buildings are) and, here, I am stimulated by a totally different atmosphere - Rock and Roll and music from all around the world.
As a little girl, I dreamt of making it in a big city. I made it Paris and ended up staying.
It seems your music is influenced by France and its classic singers. Was it a quick thing for you – bonding with the nation and people?
I really just fell in love with France; long before I had travelled here.
I studied French in school before and once arrived; saw the real beauty in their ‘traditional’ culture, revolving around meals; respecting the arts and revolution! The country of France certainly has a strong cultural identity - and it was so inspiring to become a sort of chameleon and camouflage myself in their world.
Digging Deeper, released last year, tackled everything from war and love to living in a media-driving world. Do you think you captured everything you wanted to in the album – or are there songs/topics you still want to address?
No. There are certainly so many more areas to talk about…sing about. Digging Deeper was/is a snapshot of what I was feeling about the world at that time - and I certainly hope that I will continue to try and represent other areas that need the spotlight on them in the future.
Will we see a new E.P. or L.P. next year?
2018 is going to be a year of writing for me, for sure! I do hope to release something new in the near-future.
Are there going to be more tour dates before 2018? What are your plans for Christmas?
I am currently looking at a quick tour in the U.K. for late-fall and Christmas time - will bring the release of one more video before the end of the year.
Who are the new artists you suggest we check out?
Definitely worth the listen.
If you had to select the three albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
I would select Rumours by Fleetwood Mac
For its authenticity and amazing songs.
Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill
Because its lyrics and music really represent a time-frame of rebellion in my life - and singing my heart out until I couldn’t anymore.
Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black
An album that revealed, so candidly, the woman that she really was - and the love stories that brought her voice known more largely to the public.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
I think this is more and more the case with the younger generation…but, just BE YOURSELF. Authenticity is YOU. Don’t waste time trying to become original.
Just be yourself - that is as original as it’s gonna get.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Fleetwood Mac - Don’t Stop
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