Once in a blue moon, you come across a voice that you simply can’t ignore. Laurel possesses one of those voices.
The Southampton-born singer/songwriter is only twenty two-years old, yet she’s exuded wisdom far beyond her years in the form of alt-pop gems like “To The Hills” and “Life Worth Living.” The latest in the bunch is “San Francisco,” chronicling the harrowing tale of a lover relocating to San Francisco written, produced, mixed and mastered all by Laurel herself.
Today, we get a deeper understanding of “San Francisco” with the music video debut as well as commentary from the songstress herself on the making and meaning of the track. Read more about Laurel’s approach to songwriting, the artists on her Ones To Watch list, and where you can find her roaming when she’s not in the studio.
OTW: Let’s start with new music video for “San Francisco”—it has a very nostalgic essence about it. Tell us more about the creation process for the video?
Laurel: Me and my friend Katie Silvester, who I shoot a lot of my pictures with, just thought it would be a fun idea to muck about with our iPhones and make a video for the song. There was no huge big concept and lead up–we just thought it would be fun and the style kind of fit the song really well. A lot of the time, with creative stuff, I like working just on my own or with friends. Gives it that genuine vibe art should have. Meant I had a chance to edit my own video too, which I’ve always been interested in. Luckily I already had a trip to San Fran in the diary so all worked really well.
OTW: What was the inspiration behind these visuals and what message are you trying to convey?
Laurel: For me I think it is quite carefree–I wanted to give across the message that everything doesn’t have to be so shiny and serious and have fuck loads of money behind it. The song is about lusting after someone that isn’t there; they’re in a different country–it shows me roaming London in what I feel is a sort of limbo land I between both countries but not really present in either.
OTW: How about the lyrics of the song itself? Did they come from a personal experience?
Laurel: Yeah, quite recently I kind of lived the song out for a while. I’d been thinking about writing the song for quite a while and then one day it just came to me fully, and I had written and finished it within 2 hours–it had been stewing I guess.
OTW: What’s your fondest memory in the city of San Francisco?
Laurel: The first time I went there was only last month. I loved it, though. I did all the touristy things but my favorite part was just hanging out with some of my friends in Mission–got some sick stuff happening down there.
OTW: You’re so young and yet your lyrics give insight into hardship and wisdom gained from past romance. How do you approach songwriting and from where do you draw inspiration for your songs?
Laurel: They are all very real stories, unfortunately. I guess I feel quite hard..I reckon a lot of musicians do–those feelings have got to go somewhere so you just put them into music.
OTW: Backtracking to the beginning—what sparked your interest in music and how’d you go about pursuing it as a career in the early stages?
Laurel: I’ve always wanted to do this really. I’ve always loved singing since I was real young and then later I got into writing and realized I liked that even more. It was my mum who actually pushed me to try doing it seriously and after college, I moved straight up to London to try it out.
OTW: Aside from music, what can we find you doing on the weekends? What’s your favorite place to eat, favorite fashion brand, any other particular interests?
Laurel: On the weekends, I just love having no plans and floating around London. I rarely do anything music-related on weekends at the moment as I kinda need those two days to recharge with my friends. I usually just spend the day walking all over east starting at mine and ending up in some sort of establishment serving wine. We’re so lucky in this city–almost anywhere around this end of town you can go and be all cosmopolitan and it’s fancy. Now my favorite is the old Shoreditch station, or wringler & Mangle. I love fashion too, although as a somewhat struggling musician I can’t really go on shopping sprees quite yet, but if I could afford it I’d probably wear Au Jour Le Jour all day long, or Gucci, Prada & LV mixed in with your classic vans and converse.
OTW: Who are 3 artists on your personal Ones To Watch list & why?
Laurel: Black Honey are sick, Girl Band and Alex Calder. They all just seem to have some serious balls to them. There’s so much nice music around at the moment–it’s either electronic and indifferent or acoustic and sweet as hell. I think these guys are the opposite, which is refreshing.
OTW: What’s in the works in the coming year? Can we expect another album and/or touring?
Laurel: Yeah, debut album is on the way! Be out late this year or maybe the start of next. Probably should stop wandering the London streets on the weekend and get down to the grind.
OTW: Anything else you’d like to share with fans?
Laurel: I reckon I’m gonna do a mini-tour soon, so let me know what cities I should groove on over to.