Lauren Dair shares new pop single “Lines”
Open Labs is very excited today to be catching up with Lauren Dair to discuss her musical journey since winning the Stagelight contest and hear some brand new music.
Lauren, it’s been a bit since we’ve caught up with you. For the people that are new here and reading this, let’s set the scene. Just over five months ago, you were at Red Bull Studios in Los Angeles, CA as the grand prize winner of the Stagelight Monthly Music Contest II for a songwriter mentor session with the guys from Linkin Park. From this songwriting session came an emotional and inspirational song called “Every Little Light,” which was co-written by you, Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson of Linkin Park.
What was that experience like for you now looking back?
Lauren Dair: Looking back, I think that the studio session with Mike and Brad is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had to date. People ask me all the time what it was like, and it really is indescribable. I learned a lot from them and feel like I’ve really been able to apply their advice to the current songs I’m working on. Red Bull Studios was absolutely incredible and just the opportunity to work with the guys is something that I will remember for a long time. It’s still weird to think that they have actually heard my music let alone the fact that we wrote a song together!
How did your fans and the Linkin Park community react to “Every Little Light?”
The reaction to the song has been incredible. The Linkin Park community really has welcomed me with open arms. I was nervous to release the song because I knew so many people had high expectations. However, I think people have really connected with the song in a variety of ways. I’ve had so many people reach out to me and tell me how much the song means to them and their own personal struggles with depression. For some people I feel like it’s a form of closure, others think that it describes everything their afraid to say. But the fact that people say that this song has helped them get through their rough days is all I could have ever asked for.
Lyrically, “Every Little Light” was such an emotional song and also one of your most successful as well. What did you learn from putting out that release?
Well first of all, I learned a lot about releasing a song on a larger scale with an audience actively waiting to hear it. I also learned that if you speak your truth, people will listen. I think that in the end, as long as you are honest, people will connect. There’s something scary about being so vulnerable, but you have to remind yourself that every person on their earth has probably felt that same way at some point in their life. Honesty equals power and I think that people really connect with that.
Without getting too personal, from where do you draw inspiration for your song’s lyrics?
For me, everything that I write (song wise) are things that I’m too afraid to say in real life. So everything for me is inspired by the relationships I have with those around me and with myself. While “Every Little Light” was influenced by other factors, it still came from real feelings that I’ve had. I find a lot of comfort in writing, so you could almost view my songs as a journal of sorts. Sometimes it can take months to finish a song, and other times it feels as if it just flows out. It’s all a process!
You have a new song called “Lines” which just came out a few weeks ago. Congratulations! Let’s talk about that song. To me this feels like a complete 180 from your last single. What’s the story behind this one?
Thank you so much! You’re right, it is a very different direction from “Every Little Light” for sure. As I said before, all my songs come from a specific event or feeling. So without giving too much away, “Lines” is a song about two people who really love each other but will not admit it because they are afraid they’ll ruin their friendship. We’ve all had that person that we’ve wanted so bad but just couldn’t have. Earlier I said that sometimes songs just flow out, this one came together in about 30 minutes or so. This was a song that I’ve wanted to write for a long time and finally found the right words to put it all together. I also wanted to do something that was more fun musically, so this definitely is more pop than things I’ve done in the past.
Listen to “Lines” Spotify HERE
The artwork for “Lines” fits perfect for the music. Did you draw that yourself?
Thank you! I wish that I drew it, but I’m not artistically talented (when it comes to art anyway). I found a fantastic artist online and he did a custom piece for me. He really captured the song perfectly!
Can you briefly describe your ‘concept to reality’ workflow when it comes to capturing your words and music?
Great question. It really varies by song, but I can give you a general overview. For me, lyrics are almost always where I start and I don’t introduce music until later. A lot of times it just starts with an idea or a concept; a “what if I wrote a song about this?” type of thing. I also write a lot of poetry, so sometimes it starts as a poem and evolves into something more. As funny as it sounds, I write a lot in the car (some days I spend up to four hours in the car) and have a lot of time to think. So I’ll come up with a melody line and start putting words with it. I use A LOT of voice memos, they are a lifesaver. Then once I get at least a start to the melody, I’ll figure out the music that goes underneath it. Then I keep adding on until the song is done.
Once I have the song finished, I put together a rough demo. This give me the opportunity to start putting together how I sonically want the song to sound. Then I will often go in to meet with my producer, Anthony Mazza, and will play him the song in its rawest form (often just piano and vocals). If we feel like this is “the song” then we start talking about production. I’ll play him the demo that I came up with so that he can get a feel for what direction I want to go in. Then from there it is a collaborative effort to create the music behind the song.
Regarding music technology, can you explain how you’ve used music software like Stagelight to capture your musical ideas?
For me, Stagelight helps me take the ideas I have in my head and actually bring it to life. For me, write lyrics and chords is the easy part, but it’s filling the space around it that is the difficult part. Stagelight makes it so easy to pull it all together!
Stagelight 4 is here. What has been your favorite feature to play with so far?
As someone who normally uses my laptop for production, I love using Stagelight on my iPhone! It’s so convenient and easy to use on my phone and lets me make ideas on the go. I also think the loop recording is super cool, I love having the ability to build on to a track as I go. It allows me to explore more complex ideas without having to worry about perfectly executing it in one run.
Would you recommend Stagelight to someone just starting out in music production?
Absolutely! For someone who is just starting in music production, Stagelight is the perfect place to start. There are tutorials on how to use it and easily explains each feature. No matter how much musical experience you have, you’ll be able to start creating your own songs in no time. You also become part of the Stagelight community, getting to hear music from other community members and getting to share your own work.
What advice can you give the next generation of musicians and artists?
One of the best pieces of advice that I can give is “don’t stop.” There are going to be times where you are going to want to quit or think you’re not good enough. Those moments will pass. Keep creating. You will write a song that you think is awful and you won’t want to finish it, finish it. The more you create, the easier it will get. Just. Keep. Creating. And my other piece of advice, be authentic with whatever you create. Speak your truth and people will listen. If you love it, people will know; if you’re faking it, people will know.
Last question, what’s next for you on this musical journey?
More music! I’ve taken a little break to focus on school, but am now working on new music in full force. I’m just beginning work on a new EP which will release at some point next year. I’m also working on booking more shows for 2019. I can’t wait for you all to hear what I’m working on and get another glimpse into this crazy life of mine.
Thank you so much Lauren for doing this. It’s always amazing to catch up with you.
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