Lauren Pritchard Interview - 17th March 2010

Lauren Pritchard is one of Island Records’ latest signings.  Hailing from small town Jackson, Tennessee she’s been penning her own songs since the tender age of fourteen.  After moving to LA at just fifteen in order to kick start her career in music she landed a gig playing keyboards and singing backing vocals for a reggae band and hit the musical theatre audition circuit.


After finding herself suddenly broke and homeless, she was thrown a life line by her friends mother, Lisa Marie Presley, who gave her a place to stay until finally landing the role of llse, the '15-year-old runaway outcast kid' in the super successful New York stage show Spring Awakening, where she stayed for two years until 2008.


After a false start with a record label who’s plans for Lauren’s future were very different to her own, she met Eg White who was signed to the same publishing company and loved her version of his song ‘Who I Am’.  After further collaboration with Eg and several trips to London, she was picked up by Island Records and signed in spring 2009.


Ahead of her UK tour to promote her debut album ‘Wasted in Jackson’, I chatted to Lauren about leaving the security of home in Tennessee and how her home town and moving to London have influenced her music


MU: Being so close to towns that have spawned some of the best known and best loved music, growing up in Jackson must have been a huge influence on you musically


LP: It’s a funny situation growing up in a place that’s really close to Nashville or Memphis.  Jackson is right in between: it’s two hours from Nashville and hour from Memphis and the interstate, which is interstate 40, the piece that goes between Nashville and Memphis is called Music Highway so it is a funny place to grow up because there’s a lot of music going on and the other thing that’s really cool about it is that, in Tennessee, they never stop reminding you of the great artists that have made Nashville and Memphis famous for what it is.

They always give credit to those people so it’s a cool thing to grow up around.  There’s a massive appreciation about it without having a big ego about it.  It’s more of a humbleness and an appreciation for the music and the people and I think that’s a good environment to grow up around and for me to have even a quarter of what those people have accomplished would be great.

With such a vast catalogue of music coming out of Tennessee, what particularly inspired and influenced you?


I grew up listening to a wide variety of things.  My dad was really in to the Eagles and Steely Dan.  The first two songs I ever learned all the words to were ‘Black or White’ by Michael Jackson and ‘Black Cow, by Steely Dan, ha ha!  My mother was like a massive Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson fan and the Who, she loved The Who, so there was quite a lot of that going on, and then there was always Refeer playing in the house and Al Green and Hall and Oats but then I loved bands like the Spice Girls and N Sync and Britney Spears.  I definitely went through my pop music faze growing up so, I don’t know, I always listen to everything, I mean literally everything.  I was always really in to classical music growing up too, I danced ballet ‘till I was fifteen so always had a love and appreciation for that as well.


What actually got in to writing music?


I guess what actually started making me write music was listening to a box set that my mom and dad bought off the TV of the greatest hits of the 70s when I was like twelve and I spent three months solid, like I just stole them, well, not stole but they weren’t allowed to listen to them: I had them in my room on lockdown on constant repeat. 

I was listening to these songs every single day, all day, all the time and it was about then that I realised these were artists writing music and singing songs that they had worked on; that they had written; that they played and that’s what they were doing for a living and I think that’s when it really began to click so I would credit the 70s CDs that my parents purchased and let me steal for several months as the jump start for that.


Then, when I was about fourteen I wrote my first song and I went “mom, I think I wrote a song” and she was like “really” and I said “Yeah, do you wanna hear it?” ha ha ha, she was like “OK” and when I finished playing it she said “you did write a song and it wasn’t half bad actually” ha ha, so that kind of started it all.

So is there anything you wrote back then that you still play now?


There’s always been a couple of songs that have over time stuck with me.  When I first moved to LA, all of my friends that I made out there were amazing for the simple fact that every single one of them had a piano or a keyboard at their house and I would just sit around and just tinker at the piano and one day it just got out that I sang and they were all like “sing us a song” and it would be at someone’s birthday party and would be like “do you want me to sing someone else’s song or do you want me to sing a song that I’ve written?” and then I did and they were like” oh! that’s really good” and then any time we’d go anywhere and there was a piano I got roped in to singing all the time, ha ha, which was good, it was really good for practice.....    More....




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