"It’s one of the best things we’ve ever recorded" - Lauren Housley on music, touring and a massive six-months
AMAUK award-winner and Sheffield-based singer-songwriter Lauren Housley took some time out of her touring schedule to discuss her recent album, future projects, touring and why sometimes the best things come in small doses.
“We’re just about to do the album launch, only six-months after the album came out, which is a bit strange but that’s the way it has to be” and you really do have to give it to the Sheffield-based singer-songwriter Lauren Housley, it certainly has been the strangest of times over the course of these past two years.
Originally hailing from Rotherham and someone who wears her Northern roots proudly, as the name of the album Girl From The North attests to, Lauren’s music has a distinct flavouring of American influences that undeniably emanates throughout her music, both in the instrumental elements and her vocals. Seriously, it’s brilliant and she harnesses it so well, huge, soulful, soaring, exhibiting it to great effect both on her album as well as live on stage. In short, she’s got a reyt big voice on her, some belting pipes fer sure.
Lass from t’North as she amusingly refers to it is actually her third album to date, with the previous two albums also being self-published affairs, and it’s a wonderfully enjoyable 10-track journey into where Lauren was at that particular time in her life.
“I feel like even what the songs mean to you change over time. The songs take a journey of their own for you as a songwriter I think, it’s good to remember where you were at when you wrote it. To channel how you felt in that moment.”
“I think that’s when you can get the best performances, when you can go back to that moment and how you felt, it just comes through when you’re singing.”
“Some big stuff has happened over the last six-months, the album came out and then it charted in three charts. Number four in the official country chart, number eight in the Americana chart and 12th in the folk chart, so pretty cool, I wasn’t expecting that.”
Understatement is something that Lauren seems to do almost naturally, her second single release was actually playlisted on BBC Radio 2, receiving quite a bit of national play following that and deservedly so. And only a few weeks ago, she won the Bob Harris Emerging Artist Of The Year 2022 award. She hails from our neck of the woods but her sound has already transcended our county confines to that of international recognition — deservedly so.
It’s safe to say that she’s been doing alright, “yeah, the balls rolling. We’re heading out to America in February to play a showcase for the Folk Alliance. And I’ve also recently been given funding to do my next album as well”, this has been granted by the PPL Momentum Music Fund, which supports UK-based artists in their progress.
“That’s quite a big thing to get in the industry at this point, as they support those artists who are really starting to take off, I guess” and it’s there once more, understatement… When you listen to Lauren sing, you can’t help but feel that it would be a fool's errand to overlook this distinctly Northern yet Americana-soul imbued wonder.
Two Lovers Lost in Space is one of many highlights on her third release, a breathy, synth-driven, psychedelic ode to… well, love. It’s a sign that Lauren is stepping outside of the realm of big-voice singing, which she does ever so well, into a zone that showcases another side of her vocal range.
“With this album, all of the songs were written in different ways. Two Lovers is one of my favourites, it’s one of the best things we’ve ever recorded. It was a bit of an experiment, we didn’t plan to record or write anything that particular day. We just were in the studio and entered this flow state with the basics for it starting out on a synth. Although it’s shorter than the other songs, it didn’t feel like it needed anything else, it kind of said all we needed to at that point… but I am thinking of extending it, she says with a laugh.
“It does take you on a bit of a journey, it gives you a kind of feeling more than anything”, and you could say that’s pretty much the method of thinking that you could apply to the album as a whole.
We spent a little time talking about other artists, in this case The Beatles and the latest documentary, Get Back, which chronicled the legendary bands creative process. “It’s not what I thought it would be”, Lauren says, “I found it interesting, it really does shine a light on the entire process of creating music. A lot of it is a slog and you’re waiting around for this spark of inspiration, and even they were doing that. It’s quite nice to see that, especially as we and I have been through the same thing. So when you see a band like that literally at the height of everything they’ve done, go through that, and then see it coming together. It’s fascinating, as an artist it’s so worth it when you hit that point and come up on a solid idea”
Lauren is currently in the midst of a tour that ends later this month, and it goes without saying she’d missed that prolonged period of not performing, “I absolutely love being back on stage, especially after such a long-break”, recent motherhood and the pandemic created a pause in her life, like it did for so many of us but to revitalising effect in her case.
“When you do finally go back out on stage, it’s just adrenaline, and then you go… ah, this is where all the hard work goes in beforehand. Everything looks great, sounds great. Just those moments of connecting with people.”
Lauren Housley will be performing at Yellow Arch on Friday, December 10, 2021 and you can get tickets from here. The album Girl From The North is out now on all streaming platforms, and you can buy it online from all good retailers.