FYIG Chats With Singer/Songwriter Lauren Lakis

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Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m originally from Baltimore, MD and have been an artist my entire life, albeit the mediums have shifted and evolved. I started out as a photographer and then moved into performance art/acting, which then transformed into writing music. I would play guitar in my room as a teenager, but never had the self-confidence to do anything with it at the time. I’ve experienced a lot in a pretty short period of time, purposefully. Growing up in Baltimore fostered a courageous spirit within me, and I hope to see the world before my time here is through. I love to travel and lived in Prague and then Tokyo, before moving to Los Angeles.

You have lived a very full and sometimes challenging life at times. How has that influenced your music?

My music is really the product of every single experience I’ve had in this life; every emotion and relationship and struggle is injected into the music. Especially the struggles. Pain is the primary catalyst for growth for a lot of people, and I’m definitely part of that group. Every uncomfortable situation, or person I’ve been in love with, or moment of self-doubt, is part of the music that comes out when I sit down and write. Music is a reflection of the life I’ve lived.

How would you describe your musical style?

My drummer recently described it as the love child of Mazzy Star and NIN, which I love! I would describe it as shoegaze/dirty dream pop…lots of reverb, gritty guitars, and raw emotion. 

You recently released a new single called, “Right Now”. What can you tell us about this song?

I wrote “Right Now” while on tour, in a firehouse on top of a mountain in a town called Cle Elum, just outside of Seattle, sitting in the stairwell of a dungeon. MRK (fellow LA artist) and I had a “seance” on our off night, and she left her looper pedal on when she walked upstairs to take a break. I started playing guitar over the looper, the words came out, and the final product is not very far from what I wrote that night. We even incorporated the looper sound from a voice memo in my iPhone into the actual track. 

It’s about the heaviness of the present moment, the constant energy required to operate in the here and now, how simply existing can be such a struggle sometimes. “Malaise” is the word that probably best describes that feeling. But it’s also suggesting that it isn’t a solitary experience and that we can find comfort in each other.

That single is off of your upcoming EP (4/5) called, “Sad Girl Breakfast”. What can audiences expect from this set of songs?

All of the “Sad Girl Breakfast” songs were written exclusively on my baritone guitar and they have a much deeper, darker, tone because of it. They originated as super stripped-down guitar & vocal tracks, and my producer Billy Burke (who also produced my debut full-length “Ferocious”) wrote beats to accompany. It was highly collaborative between the two of us. 

The overall feeling behind these songs is the resignation that comes with realizing the cyclical nature of existence. Time passes, life changes, relationships come and go, and it just keeps happening in this perpetual dance until we die. It might seem like a bleak outlook, but for me, it’s liberating because nothing that happens to us needs to carry so much weight. “Ferocious” navigated overwhelming grief and extreme heartbreak, it carried a LOT of weight, and “Sad Girl Breakfast” is more detached and pensive – written from a place of acceptance in all things, acceptance in the myriad ways life manifests itself, with a tinge of melancholy.

“Sad Girl Breakfast” was written exclusively on your baritone guitar. What advantages does this give you and how challenging was it only using that guitar?

Baritones are beasts! My fingers accepted most of the challenge, haha. The strings are thicker, the guitar itself is huge (the neck is longer than any guitar I own or even my bass!), and it’s quite a manual workout to sit and play it for a prolonged period of time. But it’s so worth it. The advantage comes through in the tones I was able to achieve; baritones are so deep and you get these super pretty harmonics that are naturally ringing as you play. It’s beautiful and very emotional. 

How have you evolved since your debut full-length album, “FEROCIOUS”?

I learned SO MUCH recording and releasing ‘Ferocious”, from both the creative and business perspectives. I didn’t know what I was doing when I wrote “Ferocious”; I just wrote what sounded good to me without having any second thoughts. My guitar and vocal technique is much more developed now, and I understand the process of properly preparing for a release – from PR to radio mailings to booking tours – you name it – I did it all and made loads of mistakes in the process, which has really only helped me. 

What advice would you have for aspiring singers/songwriters?

As with most endeavors, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You have to enjoy the process. You have to feel proud of your creations and find satisfaction in the simple act of creating, regardless of external approval or accolades. Find your people, find those who get you and support you, and hang on to them. Support each other. It’s tough for artists, we’re all struggling and trying to keep our heads above water, so don’t be a dick. 

What’s your life like outside of music?

I’m also an actress so I spend a good amount of time auditioning and working (if I’m lucky). I work part-time at M:M Music, an independent radio promotion company, and I work with an autistic man on the weekends. I also try to go to as many local shows as I can swim most mornings, and travel whenever possible. 

Let the readers know where to find you online

You can find me on all streaming platforms by searching “Lauren Lakis” and Instagram is where I’m most active as far as social media – instagram.com/laurenlakis