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A Dirty Dozen with LAUREN CALVE – July 2020


According to a recent press release: “Storyteller, singer, and songwriter Lauren Calve releases her Wildfire EP today, June 23.  Calve’s musical compositions blend blues and Americana, guitar and lap steel, but their strength lies in how they go beyond tradition into innovative melodies, structures and arrangements that define their originality.  Her lyrics, intonation, and songwriting resonate with the listener leaving them to ponder what they’ve just heard and wanting more. On Wildfire, Calve delves into interesting territory as she uses memorable imagery and meter to write about complex issues. Tracks like “On And On” with its Wilson Pickett style, was inspired by the documentary Muscle Shoals, and is an anthem for anyone who has witnessed a loved one stuck in a vicious cycle.” We get Lauren to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

Photo Credit: Shane Gardner

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

That’s a great question!  One thing I don’t think many people know is that my vocal and guitar tracks were recorded in a single take on “She Loves Waterfalls,” the last song on Wildfire.  The producer I worked with thought the single take would best capture the song.  I don’t disagree with him.  It turned out to be advantageous having an objective producer in the room.  I wouldn’t have made that decision out of fear; I needed someone to make a suggestion like that to get me out of my comfort zone.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Growing up, music was always playing.  Constantly hearing music in the house innately drew me to express myself through music.  I didn’t realize I wanted to be a musician and pursue music as a career until I was in my mid-20’s. The moment I had this realization was probably after I wrote my first song that I didn’t hate.  It was a profound feeling to have finally found my “voice.”

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

When I wrote my first songs, I was mostly listening to roots-oriented singer-songwriters.  Patty Griffin was, and is still, a favorite.  I’ve always loved how she incorporates the full spectrum of American roots music into her songs while making them her own.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

My five main musical influences would be the blues, specifically Delta blues, powerhouse female vocalists, slide guitar in all its forms, Neil Young, and pop/rock music from the 90’s/early 2000’s.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I would love to collaborate with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco.  He has such a unique, creative approach to songwriting that I find really inspiring.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

To someone who has never heard my music, I’d say that it is thoughtful roots rock music with engaging arrangements and production.  One comparison that made me cringe a little was when someone told me my voice sounded like Alanis Morrissette’s.  I grew up listening to her and even love some of her songs, but the vocal comparison was not appreciated.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

As a singer-songwriter, I don’t really have a steady band.  I’ve probably played with two dozen musicians in a half dozen iterations of my full band.  Therefore, when we’re together, it’s usually to rehearse and/or play a gig.  Although, I’ve had the good fortune to play with great people with whom I’m great friends!

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

The last time I was starstruck was when I saw Will Ferrell in the Boston airport many years ago.  He was getting dropped off in a big black SUV out of which his kids got out to hug and say goodbye to their dad.  It was such a normal situation for a huge celebrity like him to be in that it struck me as especially tender. I think I was staring too much, though.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

For me, the best part about being a musician is having the outlet of songwriting to work through life’s ups and downs.  If I wasn’t a musician, I’d love to be an art therapist.  I was an artist before I was a musician and I like the idea of consciously incorporating therapeutic practices with art.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

One question I’d like to be asked by an interviewer is, “Would you like to hold this adorable puppy while I conduct the interview?” Holding a puppy would automatically make any interview better.  I’m pretty new to interviews as Wildfire is the first of my EP’s that I’ve really promoted, so I’m not tired of answering any questions!

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

Looking back on my career, I wish I hadn’t worked with a certain person who I believe took advantage of my naivete when I started my career as a musician.  He was much older than me and tried to influence my decisions and songwriting in order to coax me into a dependent relationship with him.  It was incredibly toxic.  I wish I could’ve met this person now that I’m more confident in who I am and what I do.  His tactics would seem so pitiful to me now.  Oh, the joys of being a young woman in a male-dominated industry!

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’d love to be a part of the recording sessions for Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde.  I’ve seen Rolling Thunder Revue and was struck by how informal and playful the writing/recording sessions were.  Blonde on Blonde is my favorite Dylan album so I’d like to be in that environment while recording some of his, in my opinion, best songs!

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

Since the pandemic and subsequent quarantine, I really miss going to live shows.  Actually, I think I miss going to live shows more than performing in them.  I love being in a large audience in a dark room where you feel anonymous yet necessary to the whole experience.  But, of course, I miss playing live, too!





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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