Interview: Poignant Songwriter Laura Warshauer on Musical Influences and More.
by Daniel Haim
Laura Warshauer is a storyteller first and foremost. Through her music, she examines loss, love and life. The 24-year-old New Jersey native crafts sonic gems, through combining massive pop melodies and flourishes of folk. Her lyrical sensibility hearkens back to song smiths like Joni Mitchell and Fiona Apple, while the music possesses a pop rock passion a la U2. Laura wants to take listeners on a journey, and her music’s the perfect vessel. “Convince Myself,” “December Night” and the first single, “Sweet 17” are entrancing, soothing and infectious. She’s paved her own path, and the ride has just begun. The other day we caught Laura down on Houston St in Manhattan with an acoustic guitar performing an exclusive show for friends. Make sure you are not missing Laura as she might be playing in your area! Click here to view the tour dates.
Laura: “I have been singing for as long as I can remember and I’ve been a singer-songwriter since I was 14. When I was first writing songs I began performing at open mics in Red Bank, New Jersey and New York City. I looked for a recording studio in the yellow pages and found Shore fire in Long Branch, New Jersey. $50 in hand I went to record my songs. I remember walking up two flights of stairs. The smell of cigarette smoke, the Gatorade and pretzels that my Dad would bring when he would pick me up.My grandfather gave a cassette tape of some of my first recordings to his neighbor, an entertainment lawyer in New Jersey. He then gave the cassette to his friend, an entertainment lawyer in New York City, who was one of my first contacts in the music industry.”
Daniel: Who inspires you to write? What are your influences?
Laura: “Songwriting comes naturally to me. Oftentimes, I come up with ideas when I’m just walking around. I enjoy getting coffee in the morning and ambling with no particular destination in mind. This is a favorite time for me to come up with lyrics for unfinished songs or ideas for new ones. There are many artists I look up to. Among them are Patti Smith, Stevie Nicks, Carole King, Peter Gabriel and U2.”
“Sweet 17″ highlights Laura’s unique voice and her knack for a big hook. “My Fault” further showcases her diversity. The slow and heartfelt song explores abusive relationships intimately. “That song is especially poignant for me. I love to be involved in organizations that speak out against domestic violence. People can relate to this song if they’ve ever been in a relationship where they’ve lost themselves. ‘My Fault’ captures what it feels like to be in an abusive situation.”
Daniel: Could you tell us what is the story behind your song Sweet 17?
Laura: “Sweet 17 is about finding love and losing it, wondering if it was really there or something that only existed in your head. A lot of my songs come from that in between place of all that was and all that could have been. It is nostalgic, a longing for a time that has passed and the feelings that went with it.”
Daniel: A little bird told me that there’s a fascinating story behind the merchandise that you’re selling. Tell me what’s that about
Laura: ”I have shirts designed in the style of vintage baseball tees. They say “Warshauer since 1954″ on the front and have a ”50″ on the back. The family business is an electrical supply company called Warshauer Electric that my uncle took over from my grandfather. My uncle had these yellow colored tee-shirts pressed up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company. I liked the shirts so much I asked my uncle if I could use them as merchandise.”
Daniel: About 4 years ago, you have released an album all by yourself. How musically have you grown between now and then?
Laura: “I have evolved as both a singer and songwriter. The actual sound of my voice has matured, and my perspective has broadened, offering more depth as a writer.”
Daniel: Nowadays there are many changes in the music industry. As a new artist signed to a major label – what unexpected hurdles have you come across?
Laura: “While there are many changes in the industry, I see this as a time for great opportunity. Progressive ideas are especially important when it comes to ways of getting the music heard. In my mind, though technology has irreversibly altered the ways in which people interact with music, the need for great songs in peoples’ lives is every bit as important as it ever was. There is something timeless about the relationship between artist and audience. The greatest challenge right now is to get the music out there. And the exciting part is to figure out how to do this. Whether awareness comes from a licensing opportunity, partnering with a like-minded brand, or something that has yet to be thought of, there are multitudes of exciting possibilities when it comes to reaching audiences.”
Daniel: Has the music industry changed you as a person?
Laura: “No, I don’t think I have been changed as a person, but I have definitely been shaped by the many experiences I’ve had in the music business. What is important for me as an individual is to find my own place within the industry where I can be myself both as a woman and artist.”
Daniel: Where do you want to see yourself in the future?
Laura: Performing, writing, recording. My goal is to build a sustaining career. This is a constant and ever-evolving process. With each opportunity, I just want to keep moving forward. Every song, every show, every day is another chance to reach people.
Rick Florino says, in addition to an escape, Laura wants to give audiences something they can truly connect to. “People respond when you’re honest in your art. I love it when people get a sense of something real, organic and human from my music. I want to make my music mean something, and I want them to feel an emotional connection. I also want to bring them on some sort of ride.” It’s going to be the ride of a lifetime, and Laura’s driving.”