Lauren Ray is best known for her soft acoustics and melancholy pop sound, and after spending the past few months touring and writing new music, she is ready to release her second album. However, thanks to the collaborations with producer Julian Emery and having been mixed by Cenzo Townsend (who has also worked with George Ezra and Florence and the Machine) the taster from her new album is more upbeat pop and electro her fans are used to. But the outcome cannot be missed. Lauren Ray spoke to us about her new track, touring and what her music means to the world.
Tell us a little bit about you and your music?
I am a singer and a songwriter living near London. I write songs at my piano about my experiences with romantic, platonic, family, lost, unrequited and toxic love. I write as honestly and openly as possible. I absolutely love touring and luckily don’t seem to mind my own company for hours on end, so this seems to be a pretty OK job for me. I find human beings fascinating – probably why I enjoyed studying Anthropology at Uni so much - but also why I love meeting so many new people on the road and seeing how my music resonates.
What makes you stand out?
I think the beauty of being an artist is that my voice is unique and the stories I tell are unique to my experiences in the world. I think any artist who is presenting themselves completely honestly will stand out in their own way.
What were your first thoughts this morning?
I love my bed.
Tell us about your new track Irreplaceable?
This song is about two relationships; one with someone who makes me feel completely irreplaceable and another with someone previous who made me feel otherwise.
This track’s much more upbeat than the rest of your music. Is there a reason for the change in tone?
It was important to me that my second album didn’t sound like a continuation of the first and I really wanted to push myself as a writer and present my stories and ideas with a different and new energy. For this track in particular I was really keen to have an upbeat energy for so that the positive message in the lyrics was captured.
Who influenced you in your experimentation with more of an electronic and pop style?
I listen to a lot of different artists and genres but for this song I was inspired by some of the songs by Emilie Sande. I love how she blends together really raw and personal lyrics and melodies with a pop production.
What can we expect to hear from the rest of the album?
The whole album definitely has more of a pop production compared with my first album, but you’ll still get really honest and raw lyrics from me. I tackle stories of love, loss, death and infidelity in ways that I hope speaks to those that listen.
What is the message you try and get across in your music?
I just write what I know and hope that it can mean something to someone else – I would love for other people to feel something in my music the way I do with songs from artists I love.
What was it like working with Julian Emery as a producer?
I’ve wanted to work with Julian since I heard Lissie’s debut album 10 years ago, so it was pretty amazing to have the opportunity to work with him on my own music. He completely respected my ideas for each of the songs and then brought so much of his own vision to the table that these songs became so much more than I could have imagined on my own.
You are currently touring the UK. What are the highlights and lowlights so far?
I just love getting to perform my songs at these incredible venues and then also getting to see so much more of the UK. I’ve lived here most of my life and yet I only really feel like I am seeing the whole country now that I’m touring.
Where are you most looking forward to going on the tour and why?
London Palladium is an absolute dream venue so I can’t wait for that one, but I also love driving around Scotland, so I am looking forward to the Perth, Edinburgh and Glasgow shows for those reasons.
You did an extensive tour with Anastasia across Europe last year, which was the best place you went?
I’d never been to The Netherlands before, so it was a great opportunity to perform and travel there a little it. I have to say though that the audiences in Germany in particular were incredibly supportive, so I really enjoyed all the shows there. I’ve always liked Germany and recorded my previous EP ‘Inside This Silence’ there.
What is your survival guide to life?
Family, friends, good food and water. After that - be present and grateful.
What ideas have changed your life?
Asking people for help. It’s so simple but I never used to do this because I assumed I would be a nuisance or this somehow would devalue my own efforts if I didn’t do something alone. But without the help of friends and even just random people I’ve met, I wouldn’t have achieved half of what I’ve achieved.
What does 2019 hold for you?
A whole lot of talking about my new album and a whole lot of touring. I’d like to write for more artists too as I really enjoy the creative process writing for and with someone else.
Lauren’s full album, Woman In The Arena, comes out this May. But until then, check out more of her music on Youtube and see what she is saying on Twitter and Facebook.