It’s safe to say writing over 300 songs a year can exhaust one’s fodder for material. So like any prolific artist that has recently moved to the mecca of dietary consciousness, Laureli chose to pen a summer jam about something devastatingly personal yet vastly relatable… her gluten intolerance.
Teaming up with fellow Seattle producer, Samurai Del, their new single “Donuts” is also sonically indicative of their relocation to Los Angeles. With an ease and breeze in tow, the single is the perfect kick off to LA’s sun baked season as Spring saunters into Summer.
“Since the Seattle music scene is so tight-knit, as soon as you present yourself as a musician you end up following or knowing of almost every other musician.”
Laureli says with pride of her home city scene. A scene she’s been dreaming of participating in since she started writing songs as a toddler.
“My mom used to leave her phone recording during car trips to catch all the songs I made up just babbling as a 3-year-old.”
But while her love of the city’s history is tangible, she also warns of the inhibiting nature…
“At the same time though, the Seattle music scene is definitely still reminiscent of that era of indie or alternative artists or bands, intimate venues and local support. As a result, it definitely feels a bit lacking for anyone making Pop, Rap, or anything more mainstream nowadays.”
And so Laureli picked up, left her family and headed south where milk and honey floweth, just a couple states below-eth. We caught up with Laureli and learned about her discipline as a songwriter and her transition into becoming her own artist in a new city. And she is ready to embrace all it’s delectation… just by God hold the gluten!
You’ve been a prolific songwriter from a young age. Writing up to 300 songs for customers on Fiverr.com and even more for yourself! At what age did you start writing songs and how did music come into your life in such a big way?
I started writing songs as a toddler. I was singing and making things up since I could talk. My mom used to leave her phone recording during car trips to catch all the songs I made up just babbling as a 3-year-old. I feel like music has always had a huge influence on me, I was just sure one day I would be an artist and the world would hear my songs. I used to lay awake thinking about playing stadium shows.
Can you tell us a little bit about how you started writing songs for other people? And do you notice a different headspace when you’re writing for yourself?
It was a pretty gradual thing. When I started getting serious about myself as an artist and my style I realized I had a ton of songs that didn’t fit. I thought they were good, but I just knew I’d never use them. So when I heard about Fiverr, and that people were songwriting on there, I knew I could do that. Now, it’s much more intentional. On Fiverr, it’s pretty small, new artists so I mostly try to do my own thing based on what they want, but with demos and bigger artists, I take time to listen to their popular songs, their new songs and get a feel for what they write about and their world perspective. That’s definitely a different headspace for me, but I also don’t want to remake songs they already have, so I don’t focus too hard on getting it exactly perfect and in line with every single aspect I hear in their music.
Being from Seattle, rich with music history especially in the last 30 years, do feel a sense of pride in that history or does the 90’s grunge era feel like a relic of the city’s past now?
I definitely feel proud to be from Seattle. I love the city, and I feel lucky to have grown up in such a creative, supportive, and somewhat progressive place. At the same time though, the Seattle music scene is definitely still reminiscent of that era of indie or alternative artists or bands, intimate venues and local support. As a result, it definitely feels a bit lacking for anyone making Pop, Rap, or anything more mainstream nowadays. It can feel hard to avoid falling into the “Seattle Artist” trap, rather than feeling like you can be known on a bigger scale. I think it was a great starting point for me to grow and learn the music, and then branch out to bigger things.
Your new single “Donuts” is actually an inside joke you had with a friend. Is that something you can share or do you like to keep those things private when writing music and let the audience form their own conclusions?
Yeah! It’s an idea I had a long time ago that I wrote down in my notes app; I just got this idea to write a song that seems like I’m talking about a relationship, love, breakups, but in reality, the lyrics are very literal about my allergy to gluten.
I write a lot of my songs that way, from little concepts on my phone. I’m constantly thinking of lyrics, titles, so weird ideas that I want to incorporate into something in the future. I love to share things like that and have these little twists in my songs that you’d have to talk to me about in order to figure out. Maybe it’s for my future self, getting ready for those Genius Lyrics interviews.
How did you and Samurai Del come together to form this musical partnership?
Since the Seattle music scene is so tight-knit, as soon as you present yourself as a musician you end up following or knowing of almost every other musician. So we followed each other on Instagram a couple of years back and talked about making something together. One day he sent me a beat and I immediately had the idea for our first song together, Forgive Me. We ended up shooting a music video for it, and just clicked and got along really well. A while after that, he asked if I wanted to make a joint EP, and I guess the rest is history!
Can you elaborate on the process you two have when writing together?
It’s really fun to work together. There was a mix of him sending beats and me telling him the type of feeling I got from it, as well as going over to his house and starting something together. I’m not much of a producer, but my partner, Moses Ray Walker, who helped mix the EP, definitely is. So the three of us would just get together and start something. The two of them would talk about the groove and I’d listen along and see what I could write to it. While my part was definitely more lyrical and melodic, Alex helps to figure out the structure of each song, and some harmonies as well.
What has been the best thing about moving to LA and what do you miss most about Seattle?
The best thing so far has definitely been the sheer amount of things to do. We’re going exploring every day, meeting up with other artists that we’ve been wanting to meet for months, my manager Austin is here. It’s just been nice to be able to network and make friends and have all these internet relationships and plans come to life. I do miss Seattle though, I’ve been there my whole life so my friends are there, my family is there. I definitely miss knowing my way around and understanding the layout and neighborhoods. LA is massive! I think it’s going to take me years to get oriented. There is also a strong community in Seattle, whether that’s because I’ve been there longer, or there are just fewer people making music so you get to know them. Almost all the artists we’ve connected with here so far are also from Seattle.
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photos / courtesy of artist
story / Chris Hess