Introducing Los Angeles based singer/songwriter Lindsay Lawrence aka LILAW recently debuted with her single "Ninety-Five", a song that shines with all the sky-scraping ambition of XYLØ and soaring vocal gravitas of VÉRITÉ, and establishes LILAW as one of LA’s brightest new hopefuls and one to watch in the months to come. I got a chance to chat with my fellow Los Angeleno about some of her musical influences, what music means to her and what we can expect from her in the coming months which you can read about below:
MHB: How long has music been a part of your life and how did it come to be a part of it?
LILAW: Music has always been a huge part of my life. I grew up surrounded by a family of musicians - my dad a bluegrass guitarist, and my grandfather a Peabody-trained concert pianist. I've always loved to sing and have been in choirs my entire life. As far as instruments go, I started violin lessons in the 4th grade, and out of boredom taught myself how to play piano, mandolin, and some banjo and dobro as I grew older. Internet wasn't really allowed in my house growing up, so I had to find other ways to entertain myself after school. I've never been very athletic as hard as I've tried to be, so I spent most of my time listening to or playing music, sketching, and reading books. I was definitely a part of the artsy/nerd crowd.
MHB: How old were you when you discovered you could sing? Did you always want to be a singer?
LILAW: I've wanted to be a singer ever since I was young. I think it's definitely an over-romanticized fantasy for kids, especially young girls, to want the popstar life. I was obsessed with Britney Spears from the time I was 4 or 5 years old, which I think was really the start of it all for me. Then just growing up and having music be such a huge part of my life made me want it even more. I listened to everything I could get my hands on, watched the Music Choice video channel religiously when my dad wasn't home, wrote songs, and danced around my room singing into a hairbrush well into my teens. It took me a long time though to admit to myself and to others, that being a musician was what I really wanted. It's an incredibly tough and competitive industry to try and break into and sustain success in, especially as the industry as a whole is dying. To those around me music was never really a serious option, despite my love and talent in it, because it was too big of a risk to take. I was young and smart so I went to college to study to become a doctor. I listened to others and took the safe route up until my sophomore year of college, when I quit biochemistry to study literature (great for songwriting). I'm not exactly sure what triggered the change in my mentality, maybe just the accumulation of little moments over time that slowly built up strength and triggered an epiphany, but all of the sudden no one else's opinions or goals for me mattered. Music was it. It always had been and I finally had the courage to pursue it seriously.
MHB: Who were some of your biggest musical influences growing up?
LILAW: My musical taste was very scattered growing up. I went through phases. Pop/Contemporary-wise I've always loved Britney, Michelle Branch, Hilary Duff, Anna Nalick, Norah Jones, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5, and on the alternative side Paramore, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Lana Del Rey, and Ryn Weaver. I also listened to a bunch of bluegrass/rock/and folk music from artists like Alison Krauss, Mumford & Sons, Don McLean, The Beatles, Queen, Jimi Hendrix, Peter, Paul, & Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, Gabrielle Aplin... I could talk about the musicians I love for hours, honestly, but this is the short list.
MHB: If you were given the chance to go back and see ANY artist throughout time perform live who would you choose?
LILAW: Ooh I love this question because I've actually spent a lot of time thinking about it, and I have a kind of specific answer. If I could, I would love to go back in time to 2010 and see Mumford & Sons perform "The Cave" live at Reading Festival. There's a video that circled around on the internet titled "the exact moment when a musician realizes he's made it" and it's of Marcus Mumford during that performance. It's one of the most beautiful and inspiring things I've ever seen - the energy of the band and the crowd - it always makes me tear up watching it. They're also my all-time favorite band so there's an added layer of personal connection to it. Seeing that video might have actually been what triggered my dive into music, as I think I first saw it right around the time when I quit biochemistry.
MHB: What genres of music do you enjoy most & who are some of the current artists that you are listening to?
LILAW: Right now I'm focusing on trying to find my niche within my genre, so I've been listening to a lot of female alternative pop artists. My current obsession is this song called "Au Volant" by a Norwegian pop duo called Elsa & Emilie. Their voices are gorgeous and I absolutely love the production on the track.
MHB: What is your creative process? Where do you find inspiration to write?
LILAW: Music is actually a coping method for me. Whenever I'm feeling really emotional - happy, sad, angry, etc - I'll sit down at my keyboard or with my guitar and just play. I write what I feel the majority of the time. If I'm inspired by something like a film or story, I'll sometimes write about that as well. Music is a release for me and extremely therapeutic for the daily chaos and drama in my life and in the world. My favorite times to write are right after showering (I'm usually bursting with ideas) or either extremely late at night or very early in the morning. I've found that as much as I'd like to, I can't force the songs. I wait until I physically need to sing and play and get the emotions, thoughts, and words out of my head and into melodies. The songs are always better anyway when they come naturally.
MHB: What are you currently working on? Do you plan on releasing anything(i.e., EP, etc) and if so, when?
LILAW: I'm currently working on a few things. I would love to release an EP, but don't think I am quite ready for it yet. I will probably do another single or two before that. I've been so lucky to have such a positive response to "Ninety-Five" and am focusing on just keeping the ball rolling. I'm hoping to have my next single out before December.
MHB: How would you characterize your sound & what would you say makes your music unique?
LILAW: I think I'm still finding my sound so I can't really comment on that, but as far as what makes my music unique, it is that it comes from me. I know that sounds a bit silly, but I think there is real value to a person's individual perspective and experiences in the world. What I have to offer to my listeners and fans is me. Just like them, I am unique in that I am the only one of me. And I'm trying really hard to give them the most genuine and transparent version of myself and my stories. I think it adds a sense of integrity to my words, music, and performances, and I think in the long run really does make a difference.
MHB: What can we expect from you in the coming months?
LILAW: Growth. As a musician, businesswoman (#GirlBoss), and person.
MHB: What is the ultimate driving force that gets you up in the morning?
LILAW: My passion for and belief in what I am doing, my drive to succeed, and the music itself. I have so many songs I want to share with the world, so I'm just working daily to try and create them the way I hear them in my head, and to put them out in a way that they can be heard by the people who may need them.
MHB: What does music mean to you?
LILAW: Music means expression. Every single emotion possible. And connection. I've never seen anything more powerful. It can bring so many people together in such a beautiful, positive, and empowering way. It can change lives and worlds. I just want to be a part of that.
Check out her single, which happens to be a current favorite of mine, "Ninety-Five" below: