Recently I had the chance to talk with Lauren Marsh, a singer/songwriter based out of New Jersey  whose new EP, Veracity, was recently put out. We talked about her music; the meaning behind some of her songs, her inspirations, and her process on creating the sound some of us have grown to really appreciate.

I went back and listened to your whole discography and on each EP, I narrowed my choices down to a single track, the one that stood out to me the most. On The Incurable Heart, Honey Blue was a highlight. I’d like to know, what was the process for you on writing that song? What inspired it?

I wrote the lyrics and melody to Honey Blue first. I was driving around in my car and I’ve always liked the idea that you never know when you’re going to meet someone that you’re just going to have an immediate connection with. It’s moments like those when we should never be timid; you never know what something could turn into. Taking a chance on a gut feeling is always worth it to me.

Once I had a good amount of the melody and lyrics sorted out, I sat down at the piano and got a bass line going for it. From there I decided overall production wise that I wanted it to have an acoustic guitar feel and really focus on that upbeat element of the song. It’s very much a fun loving song and I really love performing it live.

 

On Ready for Takeoff, Man’s Land was the track that I repeated several times. It’s a ballad. It feels emotional. I read the lyrics. With music, the listener sometimes interprets the song differently or incorrectly from its original meaning. What is the meaning behind that track?

My initial intentions with my song Man’s Land, was to write about how we can all feel so alone even though we’re surrounded by people. I got the idea for the title from the term, No Man’s Land, which was brought forth during the First World War and is the land between two parties at war, disputed ground that is unoccupied.

Sometimes what I love most about being a songwriter is how my own songs can change meaning for me over time. Looking back and listening to Man’s Land now feels like a song about finding oneself. Taking that uncertainty and learning to live with that feeling and knowing in the end everything will be okay.

 

Your most recent Ep, Veracity — that one was a little harder to narrow down. I was stuck between “We Hit the Ground”, “Never Let You Go”, and “Dear Love”. What caused you to write “Dear Love”? It is my favorite track on that record.

I wrote Dear Love about learning to stand on your own without that meaning that you are alone. We all have incredible inner-strength and whether we find ourselves alone in situations in life or not, there will always be the people who are there for you reminding you that you are more than capable of taking on what life gives you. There are not many things in life that are definitive if you don’t give them the power to define you.

 

I have been following your tours, always seeing if you are close enough for me to hop on my bike and ride to one of your shows. How was your last tour? What are some things that you are accomplishing that you had previously only dreamt? And how does it make you feel seeing how far you have come?

Touring is always a great time; traveling around, meeting people from all over and performing music. One of my favorite experiences was performing at the RedGorilla Music Festival down in Austin, TX (during SXSW). Past performers of the RedGorilla Music Festival includes: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Imagine Dragons, Foster the People, Allen Stone, and many more. Getting the opportunity to perform at a Music Festival that has showcased such unbelievable artists and bands was something I had only dreamt of, making that a reality is something I’ll never forget.

 

What is your least favorite thing about touring and what is your favorite?

My least favorite, or at least something that I find a tad stressful is making sure I keep my energy up. I want to conserve energy for the show and fans, but it’s hard between driving, long car rides, hotels, early mornings and late nights.

My favorite is definitely the performance aspect. It makes all the long driving and car rides worth it. I love getting to perform and I love meeting everyone who comes out to the show. Always an adventure!

 

What song do you most enjoy performing live?

It’s been a really touching experience to perform my original song Dear Love live since Dear Love was featured on NCIS: New Orleans this past February. It always receives such a great reaction and it means so much to see how audiences connect with it after receiving national recognition.

 

How would you describe your sound? Who are some of your biggest influences?

I describe my sound as: alternative singer-songwriter. Some of my big influences include Sara Bareilles, Florence + The Machine, Adele, Led Zeppelin, Ella Fitzgerald, The Beatles, Dave Matthews, and many more!

 

How old were you when you started playing an instrument?

I was about 12 or 13 years old when I started taking piano lessons. I wanted to learn how to play piano so that I could write songs. I started learning ukulele when I was 19 and in college. After performing at so many open mics, I wanted to learn an instrument that was easier to travel with than a keyboard.

 

How many instruments do you play?

I play two instruments: Ukulele and Keyboard. But occasionally I dabble on bass and guitar.

 

Which artist/producers would you like to work with?

I would love to work with Sara Bareilles, her songs and her voice are so inspiring and transforming; one of my true idols.

 

Do you have a mentor who has fostered your love for music? Or if not, someone who inspired you to go into music?

My family has always inspired, fostered, and supported my love for music. My dad has been playing guitar since he was very young and my mom has been a singer all her life. Growing up with parents and a brother who have always had a real love and passion for music was inspiring and allowed me to discover where my passion with music could go.

 

What plans/ hopes for the future do you have for your music career?

Onward and upward! I really want to be able to share my music with anyone who connects with it. I love how music has a way of connecting us all on a human level. You can be in a crowded concert hall, not know anyone else there and yet understand each other through the music.

 

Which countries would you like to tour?

I want to bring my music to any population and any country that connects with it. I think it would be a special experience to tour countries my family originated from like Scotland, Ireland, England, France and Germany, to think about returning to a place my ancestors use to live, sharing my art and learning about their culture. But overall, I love connecting with people through music, and that’s something I would want to bring anywhere and everywhere.

 

What state in the U.S. do you most enjoy performing in?

I don’t really know if I could have a favorite. There’s always something truly special about performing for states I’ve lived in and near like New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, or Pennsylvania. However with that said, I love touring and I love seeing just how relatable we all are whether we live in California or New Jersey, we can all relate through that American experience and bring something really unique to a concert event.

 

People often forget that musicians are humans too! Men and women who had to work hard to get to where they are at. What was the worst job you have ever had?

I wouldn’t say it was the worst job I had, but my first job was working at Dunkin Donuts in high school. Like all jobs it definitely had its ups and downs, but overall I really enjoyed the experience. I worked the drive through and really loved it. Not to mention the donuts and muffins were always out of this world amazing and working there was also how I discovered my love for coffee and all caffeinated beverages.

 

I notice you’re on Spotify and on iTunes. Do you think that digital music streaming services have been helpful or hurtful to musicians?

The music streaming services conversation is very complex and always evolving. For independent artists there’s this opportunity to have people listening to your music and sharing it instantly. This is essential to getting one’s music out there and heard.

 

What emotions do you want your music to elicit when people listen?

I would hope that anyone listening to my music would feel free to have any organic, emotional response. However, I hope that my music projects honesty and sincerity; some form of understanding, love, and positivity.

 

What is the best compliment regarding your work that you’ve ever received?

This is one of the stories I tell often. I had just started out and was performing solo acoustically on a slow night at a bar in rural western New Jersey. I performed many of my original songs, including one of the oldest songs in my set, a piano ballad, For A Moment. After my performance a father and son who had been sitting at the bar walked up to me and the father said he had recently lost his wife and hearing my performance of my original song For A Moment really meant a lot to him and made everything he was going through just a little bit better.

Being able to give someone something like that during such a hard time in their life is one of the best compliments I can ever receive.

 

Which platform do you use the most to stay connected with your fans? Why?

I don’t really use one specifically or more than any of the others. I would say I really love staying connected on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but I love connecting with fans on any social media that they feel most comfortable reaching out to me on.

 

What advice would you give to others, particularly young women, who are interested in pursuing a career in music?

Go for it and always put 110% into what you’re doing. Whether there’s five or 5,000 people in the audience, give it everything you have. You never know who’s in the audience or what kind of difference you could be making in someone’s life. So go for it, give it everything you’ve got, and stay true to yourself. Never settle for less.

 

What do you consider your biggest career break? What about greatest achievement or accomplishment?

This past February my original song Dear Love was featured on the hit CBS drama NCIS: New Orleans, Season 2 Episode 16: Second Chances. It was just a really exciting and humbling experience to have my original song recognized on a national level. It’s been amazing having people reaching out after seeing the episode and hearing my song, how people have really related and found sincere meaning in my song.

 

How easy or difficult do you find songwriting? Does it depend on the time or circumstances?

My experience with songwriting is always different. Certain songs come together in ten minutes and other one’s can take years. It all depends. Sometimes I’m more certain of what I’m specifically trying to say with a story and other times I’m still searching to nail down the feelings I want to portray. It keeps everything about songwriting exciting; it’s always a new kind of self-discovery.

 

What’s one thing you would like your fans to know?

Well first off, I love them! I continued to pursue my passion for performing and songwriting because my fans have always been so supportive. It was their encouragement and love that got me here and why I’m still here creating. I love connecting with them through my music and feel really lucky to be able to do so.

I also want to return the favor, I want them to know they should always believe in themselves and their own abilities to do anything they want and desire.

 

Singer/songwriters are often regarded as storytellers. What kind of stories do you most enjoy telling through your music?

The stories I tell are always inspired through life experiences, whether that be friends, family, life events or relationships, there’s always a certain emotion or story that I’m inspired to tell, derived from a life experience.

I think I’m most passionate about emotions and stories connected to relationships that really shape who we are as people. These relationships have such a significant effect on who we are and how we live our lives. Those emotional connections and bonds are so strong and inspiring.

 

A woman once said this to a friend concerning her husband, “If John had read a different book at the right time of his life, maybe he would have been a different man.” With me, I read “Women” by Charles Bukowski. It changed my life. After I read that book, I knew I wanted to be a writer. For you, Lauren, what song, what album or book did you read or listened to that had a great impact/influence on you, your goals, and your aspirations? Because I know music and literature has the ability to change the fabric, the direction of one’s life.

 

I think Adele’s album 19 was a bit more life altering for me. At the time I didn’t think there was much of a place for the songs I was writing at the time. Hearing that record and watching it become so popular and loved by so many made me feel like my music could have a place and an audience.