INTERVIEW: Laura Louise
It can take a lot to weather the storms both in everyday life and the whacky music industry, but one artist who can well and truly handle the ups and downs with wistfully graceful charm is emerging Brisbane singer-songwriter Laura Louise.
Officially unveiling her debut single 'Storm In A Teacup' last Friday, there's little surprise this indie folk pop powerhouse has a few stories and incarnations up her sleeve - growing up in country Queensland and spending six years playing as a duo in Bamford Cook , Laura has since steadily worked towards a solo career for just over twelve months, and the first adventure is a bittersweet delight.
Wielding the folksy charm of Missy Higgins and 'Fearless'-era Taylor Swift with a pop soul, there's undoubtedly a lot more to come for Laura Louise following her recent debut, and before the next adventures, we grabbed a few moments with the loveable lady herself to chat honesty, history and (of course) tea! Interview below.
TIANA SPETER: Hi Laura! Thanks so much for chatting, it’s been a pretty eventful year for you so far, and just became even more so with the very recent release of your debut single ‘Storm In A Teacup’. How does it feel to finally be arriving at this next phase?
LAURA LOUISE: Hello! Well, being a solo artist has been a long time coming and I guess it feels exciting but super scary all at the same time! I’m glad it’s here though and I can’t wait to finally get something out there and be able to continue to release music. I feel like this is just the first little step to get the ball rolling.
TIANA: And from the title, it’s pretty clear there’s searing honesty coming at us with this track. Can you talk us through what inspired the track?
LAURA: Haha, yes. Well I’ve become a little more honest with my songwriting these days which can be really cathartic. I’m sure Nick (my partner and songwriting partner) won’t mind me saying…. but it was actually inspired by him. We were going through a shitty time in our relationship where we were just bickering all the time. We were lying in bed one morning and he said to me ‘it’s like we’re a storm in a teacup’, so then I wrote a song about it! Haha. It’s basically about the trials and tribulations of a relationship, being stubborn and knowing that you might be wrong or hurting the other person but you can’t help but push forward with your own agenda anyway.
TIANA: Not only have you just unveiled the new track, but there’s a whole lot more to come, including a snazzy music video on the horizon as well! Was this an enjoyable process? The sneak peeks on your socials certainly look divine!
LAURA: Oh why thank you! I’m planning to release the video clip early November. It’s been a pretty intense process. Nick and I have done everything ourselves, we spent days storyboarding, finding outfits, backdrops and developing the scenes. Nick is also a photographer so we’ve got all the tools, it’s just been a huge (but wonderful) learning process trying to piece it altogether and make sure it doesn’t look too amatuerish! It was super fun to film though, there were a few tough scenes ie. standing in my garage soaking wet from the hose whilst trying to appear sexy but really freezing my butt off!
TIANA: And while ‘Storm In A Teacup’ is your debut, you’re by no means a newbie when it comes to music – songwriter, performer and a whole lot more, what prompted the shift into this solo project as Laura Louise?
LAURA: Well ever since I figured out I was alright at singing I’ve wanted to pursue a career in music. I never learnt an instrument and only dabbled in guitar playing (enough to write a quick tune with some basic chords), I always felt held back by that. I never thought a solo career was on the cards because I couldn’t back myself instrumentally….until I met Nick. He made me realise that some of the worlds most influential artists don’t play their own instruments! You never see P!nk touring and just rocking it out on the guitar for her entire show….. As soon as I realised that, there was no turning back!
LAURA LOUISE//pic by Bobby Rein
TIANA: Has music always been a large part of your life? Was there a significant moment when you realised it was something you wanted to pursue professionally?
LAURA: I was mostly a dancer….. I started dancing when I was 5 years old (Ballet, Tap, Jazz) and actually have my teachers certificate in tapping! When I was about 12 my dance teacher (Miss Marguerite) heard me singing in a song and dance number and was like….. Laura, you can actually sing. So from then I started doing song and dances at our eisteddfods. I guess it took a few years after that for me to realise that singing was a passion. My brother (Sam) got a guitar for Christmas or his birthday one year, he’s a lefty so it was a left handed one and that’s when I picked it up and started playing some basic chords. I wrote my first song when I was about 14 I guess, I used to play it with my old duo ‘Bamford Cook’. I had some success in my school talent quests, wrote our graduation song for our senior year and won a songwriting competition in my hometown - Boonah. I also met Adam Thompson (Chocolate Starfish) when I was about 14 and took part in his Muso Magic workshops. He ended up becoming sort of a mentor for me and gave me the belief that I could pursue the dream. So - I guess music has always been a part of my life but it wasn’t until I was a teenager that I realised it was what I wanted to do!
TIANA: You’ve described your music as sounding like “Missy Higgins & a young Taylor Swift took an Uber to the country to sit around a campfire and write songs with P!nk and Meatloaf”. Firstly – take me with you. And secondly, does this pretty much capture your influences and your mission statement with this project? Are there any unexpected influences or inspirations beyond that list?
LAURA: Haha - Sure! Everyone’s invited! Yeah, they’re probably my biggest influences but because Nick and I write most of the music together some of his influences come to the party as well, people like Billy Bragg, Brandon Flowers, Paul Kelly & Neil Finn. I’m finding new influences and inspiration everyday! I find it really difficult sometimes to cut through that and really hone in on what it is that I want to write. That’s been a tricky transition for me, backing myself really haha. I think my music will constantly be changing and evolving as I carve out my sound. The most important thing for me is that it stays honest and true to self (as corny as that sounds).
'LANDSLIDE' (STEVIE NICKS COVER BY LAURA LOUISE)
TIANA: There’s talk beyond this year of another single dropping early next year…how many songs have you got hidden up your sleeves and how has the selection process been to choose what you unleash to world first?
LAURA: Yes! Excellent question! Well the selection process was sooooo difficult! I think we ended up shortlisting about 10 songs, we cut that down to 8 and then ended up choosing 5. We recorded an EP worth of material. I guess I chose Storm in a Teacup mostly based on its commercial viability and I got some advice from a good friend that it was a good song for radio. Plus out of all the workshops/seminars I’ve done everyone says not to come out of the gate with your best song! (Which is lucky for you guys haha). So in answer to your question, I think at last count there were about 30 completed songs that we’ll play at live gigs. But there are hundreds of ideas floating in the depths of Logic, voice memos and Google docs! I’ve got 2 or 3 songs that I’m eyeing off for the next single and none of them are the ones we recorded for the EP - (I like to do things the hard way….). But I just think I’m starting to get the hang of my style and the way I’m writing and what I want to present to the world.
TIANA: Your style falls into the indie/folk/pop world, and alt-country certainly seems to be having a moment right now. But what bands or artists would we catch you listening to in your downtime, do you have a couple of go-to favourites?
LAURA: We have a very eclectic mix of music playing in our house! I do have a bunch of go-to’s that I’ll listen to on rotation….. Ray LaMontagne if I’m feeling like I need to chill or I want a good cry, Meatloaf of course, Gin Wigmore, P!nk (but I’ve listened to her on high rotation for a number of years now so she’s kind of taken a back seat) however I do love the You+Me album she did with Dallas from City & Colour and then I love to mix it up with some Spotify playlists, I love the Coffee & Chill playlist and the Aussie curated playlists, like the one made for BIGSOUND and Gyrostreams curated list. There are so many artists I listen to and love - I’d fill your whole page if I listed them all!
TIANA: With past projects you’ve shared lineups with Sarah McLeod, Chocolate Starfish and more…are you excited/nervous/ambivalent about performing as a solo act now?
LAURA: Oh yeah I’m excited! I’m so much more confident performing live these days! I’ve let go of alot of the fear and nervousness about being judged and people not liking me. I tend to just go out on stage and have the most fun I possibly can - chat to my audience as if they’re in my lounge room. After all, I’m just a normal human! I think it’s been generally well received and I much prefer to be able to feel comfortable with my crowd. I know people won’t like me and that’s still hard for me to deal with (I’m a people pleaser by nature) but I’m getting better at it. I will always have a band/guitarist with me anyway so I’m never truly alone! haha.
TIANA: So your upcoming single is called ‘Storm In A Teacup’ – what’s your advice for letting go and not sweating the small stuff?
LAURA: Haha - I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this question! I think at the end of the day we’re all human, we all make mistakes and the ability to let them go, learn and move past it is what creates who we are as people. I’m a bit of a stress head and a workaholic, I don’t let go easily and I do definitely sweat small stuff! But when I do get worked up I’ll normally chat to Nick about how I’m feeling, or make myself a cup of Licorice tea and pat my cat, Kevin Bacon OR do some mindfulness.
TIANA: And what’s your favourite type of tea to unwind with after a long day?
LAURA: I have a few go tos! I love Licorice tea at night, earl grey in the afternoons, tetley in the mornings and green or lemon and ginger tea during the day!
TIANA: And finally, what else can we expect from Laura Louise beyond the next few months?
LAURA: Well we’re heading to Ayers Rock over Christmas to entertain at Sails in the Desert for the holiday season as well as playing some local gigs around the place, Ballistic Brewery, Salisbury Bowls Club and a few others. I’ll be releasing the Storm in a Teacup video clip early November and we’re doing a live social media gig to celebrate the release of it as well! That’s happening on the 29th October, 9pm - Facebook event coming soon! We’ll play an acoustic set with some of our newer songs. And then I’ll be back in the studio later this year recording the single to release early next year. Aside from that I’ll be working with indelabilityarts (a theatre company who provide employment for people with disability), hanging out at home writing and patting my cat and probably heading to the beach with my dogs - Eddie and Murphy.
'Storm In A Teacup' is available on all the digital platforms now, plus next Monday 29th October Laura will be hosting a live online PJ party to celebrate the release from 9pm.
Head HERE for more info!
BY TIANA SPETER