IT has been really interesting learning more…
about the incredible songwriter Laura Pieri. She has been telling me about her debut single, I Will Follow You, and filming an acoustic video for it. I ask about her Brazilian roots and what it is like living in New York; Pieri talks about the vibe in the city and what comes next for her – she discusses her studies and whether she gets time to relax away from music.
Pieri recommends a rising artist to watch and tells me what she hopes to achieve before the completion of 2018; which three albums mean the most to her; the advice she would give to artists coming through – she ends the interview by selecting a cool new song.
Hi, Laura. How are you? How has your week been?
Great! Excited to be back in Los Angeles!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
Well. I am Laura Pieri; singer and zombie college student.
I Will Follow You is your debut single. I believe the need to end gun violence is at its heart. Was there a news report or moment that made you write the song and get the message down?!
The song itself was not originally connected to the gun violence cause. When we shot the first version of the music video, there was a bank robbery scene. After the events in Florida, that same scene took on a different meaning and symbolism for me.
I really did not want to be romanticizing gun violence at all and I felt like I was doing exactly that. It was important to me to take a step back and re-evaluate.
Do you think gun violence in the U.S. has reached a level where it is hard to control things?
I think gun violence is definitely at an alarmingly high level, yet the issue itself is one that is hard to control. It involves so many different variables, from politics to mental-health. I believe that talking about it is a good place to start, though.
What was it like putting together the re-launched music video for I Will Follow You?
Nerve-wracking! It was an important thing to do, but it was also being my debut...it made me anxious, to say the least! I was nervous because it wasn't anything particularly new, but the song was a little different! It paid off!
Tell us about your new acoustic music video for I Will Follow You. What was that like to film?
I wanted to show a more intimate and stripped-down version of I Will Follow You. The acoustic video did exactly that. It was like a different side of the song.
Is there more material coming? Might we see an E.P. next year?
I am currently focusing on making more and better music. I have a very holistic approach to it all, and so when it's ready it's ready! But, yes, there is definitely more coming and you can be sure to expect a lot of new music.
You are Brazilian-born but reside in New York. Do you think you blend the sounds you grew up around with where you are now? How much of your home nation do you put into your songs?
Well, here's the thing. So much about the way I grew up is an important part of who I am today. The rhythm; the music the energy - everything ties back to Brazil when you boil it down. It's hard for me to disconnect from home so I don't do it. We are also living in a day and age where everything is very global, so my own upbringing was influenced by American culture. I just hope I can represent my country accurately.
What is it like studying and living in New York? Do you get inspired by the people around you?
It’s chaotic! Studying in New York is a whole different game than making music in Los Angeles. It’s why I moved here in the first place: to go to college at New York University. It’s a dream that I’ve always had. I love going to N.Y.U., honestly, but it’s not easy. It’s a very demanding school that takes up a lot of my time and dedication. But, it’s so rewarding. It’s ridiculous how grateful I feel just to be there studying.
What inspires me most about New York and N.Y.U. is the sense of purpose I feel. Being at Gallatin, the program that I’m in, everyone has a different Major but they’re all so interesting. I know a guy who is studying love and how humans love. A conversation with him is so enlightening and inspiring. That’s really how New York inspires me.
What do you hope to achieve by the end of 2018?
I definitely want to release more music.
Will there be any tour dates? Might you head to the U.K. at all?
Nothing certain yet but I would love to go to the U.K. soon!
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say?
Easy! Michael Jackson – Bad; Beyoncé - I Am…Sasha Fierce. Lastly; Back to Black - Amy Winehouse.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Trust yourself, trust your gut and trust your mind. Before anyone else will believe in anything you do, you need to believe it first.
IN THIS PHOTO: FINNEAS (Finneas O'Connell)
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Well. I am currently really listening to Finneas O'Connell (FINNEAS). His writing manages to say a lot of what my words can’t.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Because I go to college, I don’t actually have any downtime for myself. The only way I manage to unwind is right before bed or in the bathtub. I need to physically put myself in a situation where I cannot do anything else but relax. The best way that I’ve found right now is to listen to podcasts. My go-to is My Favorite Murder - but Lovett or Leave It is a close second.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
you should see me in a crown - Billie Eilish!
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