Whether it was the way that Taylor Swift paved for young women like herself in music with inspired storytelling or the way indie musicians like dodie and Orla Gartland moved her to explore YouTube, one thing’s for sure – music has always been it for Lauryn Marie. She admits that being another career was on her mind for maybe a second but well, she’ll explain it better than me. A student at the moment who’s currently abroad, Lauryn Marie was nice enough to share about her record, ‘Lifetime,’ her mixtape dreams, and more in this back and forth exchange.
Kendra: Doing the math, which I’m terrible at so correct me if I’m wrong but you were around 12 or 13 when you started uploading music to YouTube, right? Was your mind set on being a musician at that point…like there was no reason to explore any other path in life?
Lauryn Marie: Yes, I was about 13! Originally, I only uploaded private videos for my family and friends, and I started posting publicly at 15. I was pretty set on being a musician already. Growing up, I considered being an author, but I always kept coming back to music. I’m so grateful that I’m still making music and in love with it!
Kendra: I’m from the generation right before you that rode the line between a pre and post-internet world, but I even find myself imagining life in like the ‘80s or ‘70s because I think in many instances we romanticize the past. With that, I was wondering since you grew up in a very internet dominant age if you’ve ever romanticized the past in regards to how the music industry used to be with the whole, making a cassette to be “discovered,” listening for your song on the radio, record stores…
Lauryn Marie: I definitely romanticize the pre-Internet music industry sometimes! One of my dreams is for someone to make me a mixtape on a cassette…I don’t actually have a cassette player, so I don’t know how that would work, but maybe one day.
I think the main thing that frustrates me about the industry right now is how much social media plays into it; I don’t really like having to constantly be putting out “content” in order to keep an audience. There’s a lot of pressure to advertise yourself and your music constantly on TikTok and Instagram when sometimes all I want to do is drop my songs and run!
Kendra: So back to the present, because again – you’re studying songwriting at the moment in Nashville. How was the adjustment going there from California…during um, quite an interesting time in our history?
Lauryn Marie: Interesting is a good word for it! It’s hard navigating college in a different place during a pandemic, but I’ve been lucky enough to find a really lovely community of people that have made the adjustment easier.
Kendra: Are there any aspects of songwriting that you’ve learned thus far that you feel you wouldn’t have known otherwise, or perhaps as soon if not for the educational setting?
Lauryn Marie: My songwriting classes have really helped me learn how to be a better co-writer; before I came to Belmont, I hadn’t really written with anyone else before. Now I feel like I have more of the vocabulary to articulate what I’m looking for while writing. I feel a lot more secure in my abilities as a songwriter after getting to work with and receive feedback from other writers that I admire, and I know I’m just going to keep learning more!
Kendra: You dropped ‘Lifetime’ this year, and at 19 you still have so much more to go but if we were to look at life as a book, what chapter do you think ‘Lifetime’ would be for you?
Lauryn Marie: ‘Lifetime’ would be a chapter of self-discovery. I wrote all of these songs during my freshman year of college; it was my first time living away from home and experiencing life as an adult. It’s a chapter that includes some insecurity, difficult experiences, and unrequited love, but it’s also full of self-acceptance and hope for the future. The EP ends with the line “I’m just barely beginning my lifetime” and I think that sums it all up.
Kendra: There’s a song on ‘Lifetime’ called “Walk,” and I wanted to know is there anywhere in Nashville that you walk that feels you with creativity and/or drive?
Lauryn Marie: I love walking around Belmont’s campus! It’s really beautiful, especially during the sunset. I’m actually studying abroad in Belfast, Northern Ireland for the semester, and I’ve gone on lots of inspiring walks here! I especially love strolling through the Botanic Gardens, which are right next to Queen’s University, where I’m studying. It’s a lovely place to get out and find things to write about.
Kendra: With it being March, I’d love to know what song you feel lucky enough to have heard in your lifetime? Like, what’s a song you’re thankful has existed while you’ve been here?
Lauryn Marie: Oh wow, there are so many songs I’ve been thankful to experience! One that I’ve felt that way about recently is “happiness” by Taylor Swift. I listened to that on one of my walks the other day and just felt so much peace wash over me; the lyrics are incredibly wise and Aaron Dessner’s production is gorgeous. I’m so grateful for all of the songwriters and artists that are bringing so much joy and comfort into this crazy world; I hope that I can bring that to people through my music too.
Kendra: Lastly, with ‘Lifetime’ out now – what can fans both new and old be on the lookout for from you in the coming months?
Lauryn Marie: I’m using my time in Northern Ireland to write lots of new music! I’m hoping to record and release a couple of singles later in the year, but until then, I’ll be posting demos and covers regularly on my YouTube channel. I’m really excited for what’s to come and I can’t wait to share more songs with everyone.