INTERVIEW: Lauren Davidson’s Big Plans and ‘Live Laugh Love’
When you listen to rising country artist Lauren Davidson, you’ll notice that her sound stretches well beyond the confines of traditional country. Davidson’s music incorporates an edgy rock and roll demeanor, and her lyrical storytelling ability draws influence from some of history’s great singer-songwriters.
The latter can certainly be attributed to growing up in a musical household. Davidson’s father – a musician in his own right – would pick up his guitar and sing her to sleep as a child, which filled her earliest memories with a deep love and appreciation for music.
“I would say I could sing before I could speak,” Davidson remembers.
It was at home where Davidson was introduced to artists like Billy Joel, Carole King, and Fleetwood Mac, whose brilliance serves as the inspiration behind her songwriting.
“That’s a genre that has kind of died out, and country music has taken that over,” Davidson notes about the shift in mainstream attention. “It feels really fitting to see it all come together, in that way.”
The ‘urban country’ movement
Davidson has parlayed her love of songwriting into success. The singer-songwriter has become a rising star in country music’s ascension to prominence in perhaps the most unexpected of places: New York City. A New Jersey native, Davidson has witnessed the genre’s increased popularity in the Big Apple over the past several years, both in the mainstream and among independent artists.
“I feel like I just blinked and there were all these people saying, ‘I love country music,’” Davidson states, giving credit to radio stations like New York’s Country (formerly Nash FM) for bringing the genre to the forefront. “We have this hub in the middle of New York that’s bringing these big-time country artists and music to New York. That means people are touring through there, and there’s a presence. Then, there are independent and local artists like me, who are riding the waves of having the attention on the genre. It gives us this forum that maybe we wouldn’t have had.”
Each of these fresh faces brings his or her own influences into the mix, making for a vibrant “urban country” community where each artist has found a niche.
“The genre, as a community, has become so open and accepting of different styles,” Davidson notes. “There was a time when country music was only considered one thing, and now it’s considered so many different things, and it’s all acceptable.”
The pipeline to Nashville
Even with her big city roots, Davidson has a love and appreciation for Nashville, still widely considered to be the central hub of country music. Davidson makes frequent trips to Music City, having built relationships with artists and songwriters over the years, by way of performances and other networking opportunities.
“I do a lot of writing (in Nashville) now, mostly with the same people, because once you get into a vibe with someone, you want to keep doing that,” Davidson said. “Coming to Nashville is such a good way to branch out and network with new people; to get into a room and see if anything comes of it, or to connect with someone that maybe you haven’t connected with before.”
Davidson’s focus – whether on writing, recording, or performing – may vary from trip to trip. Whatever the case, establishing and building relationships in Nashville has helped her grow as an artist in both locales.
“A lot of the labels in Nashville also have offices in New York, and a lot of the artists come to New York,” Davidson said. “So, it’s cool to be present in both places.”
The making of ‘Live Laugh Love’
Davidson’s latest single – the sassy “Live Laugh Love” – was released on Friday, May 17 after a year-plus of preparation. Davidson was approached online by Jason Hamor, a Nebraska-based country songwriter who expressed interest in collaborating. From there, the duo sought out the expert guitar services of Cristian Camilo Castro, and the trio connected to write the song in one sitting.
“I love that it’s a common phrase, but we put our own spin on it,” Davidson says of “Live Laugh Love.” “I’m going to live, laugh, and love, and then I’m going to leave. We decided to leave the word ‘leave’ out of the title, so it comes as a surprise.”
Hallmarked by steely guitars and rock and roll attitude, “Live Laugh Love” features a big-time chorus and a bridge that punches hard, driving home the point of a country singer scorned.
“It’s about somebody trying to get their one night of revenge on somebody who’s done them wrong,” Davidson states. “I like that it’s strong and powerful, and I think there’s some way for everyone to relate. I think that everybody has wanted to say, ‘I’m out of here!’”
Making big plans
Davidson celebrated the release of “Live Laugh Love” with a set at Sayreville, New Jersey’s famous Starland Ballroom on the night of its release. More big shows are on tap this summer; she’ll be opening for Thompson Square at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, NJ on June 15, as well as for Marshall Tucker Band in nearby Huntington, NY on June 27.
After that, Davidson will hit the road, performing at the Lycoming County Fair and Musikfest in Pennsylvania later this summer, before embarking on a mini-tour which includes dates in South Dakota and Texas.
“It’s going to be really cool to share this song, and we’re working on other new music to hopefully get out, sooner rather than later,” Davidson anticipates. “We’ll be sharing some of that, as well.”
For more news and updates on Lauren Davidson, be sure to visit her online. To hear the new single, “Live Laugh Love,” look out below!