Exclusive interview with Lauren Dair- Lauren talks about working with Linkin Park on new song, coming into the singer/songwriter genre, her influences, and more

Lauren Dair is fairly new to the singer/songwriter genre of music, but is no stranger to music.  When she was only 10 years old, she was in a band program and later branched off with other people from there and formed an alternative band called Gravity Hill and played with bands such as Hey Violet, Weathers, and False Puppet.

If you would listen to her new music as a solo artist though you will notice a difference despite some similarities.  One example is “Every Little Light” which has pop influences but still is moody like her days in Gravity Hill.  Lauren though embraces the change and is happy being in the singer/songwriter genre.  Inspiration to change genres of music might have came from doing an acoustic gig with Gravity Hill as people came up to her after the show and said “wow, I didn’t know your songs were so deep” or “I never knew you could actually sing.”

If “Every Little Light” is familiar to you, it might be because it was co-written by Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson of Linkin Park. She got this opportunity by winning the Stagelight Music Contest which Lauren says was a total surprise to her.  Lauren says below that the song shares a lot of the same themes that you hear in Linkin Park songs though was not intentional.  Lauren speaks very highly of Mike and Brad and said they helped a lot by “tightening the song and polishing the rough edges.”  A few of her other influences include Cage The Elephant, Lorde, and Mumford And Sons.

Be on the lookout for her as she plans to release more new music this year and play more shows.

In the meantime, you can check her out on iTunes or Spotify.

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Interview with Lauren Dair

AR: You are pretty young but already have some good accomplishments on your resume.  When did you start recording music and getting into it?  Why did you decide to be a musician?

LAUREN: I always loved music, even from a young age. I grew up on classic rock artists such as Queen, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, and Journey. I think I recorded my first song when I 9 or 10 and those songs will never see the light of day. I started taking writing seriously when I was 12 years old and met a great producer, named Anthony Mazza, who really sat down and taught me to write. A wonderful songwriter named Ashley Poole, Anthony, and myself sat down and wrote an 8 song EP called “No Apologies” and I’ve been hooked on writing ever since. For me, music always made sense; I always felt complete when I was surrounded by music. Being a musician seemed like the only right fit for me.

AR: Before you started your solo career, you were in a band called Gravity Hill.  How did you form that band?  Spotify says you toured all over California a lot with that band playing venues like The Roxy and the Troubadour.  Did you play shows with good alternative bands?  Any popular ones?

LAUREN: When I was 10 years old, I was a part of a band program called Join The Band. Basically, they would put together small groups of kids and teach us how to play songs. I did that for several years until I found a group of kids that I really clicked with. We then branched off and started playing together outside of the program. A couple band members and name changes later, we had Gravity Hill!  It’s funny because we were such part of the California teen band scene and we played with some groups who now go by different names. Some of the most popular would be Hey Violet, Weathers, and False Puppet.

AR: I only heard “Alive” from Gravity Hill but that seems like more alternative music.  The music you just released like “Every Little Light” although still having somewhat alternative roots having moody elements and other things is more in the singer/songwriter genre with some more mainstream elements.  Why did you decide to switch the style of your music and how does it feel to now be playing different music?

LAUREN: When you’re in a band, you are constantly feeding off your band members energy and music taste. We were all very much in sync, but I also had the love of intimate singer/songwriter type music. I remember doing an acoustic show with Gravity Hill and having people come up to me after the show and say “wow, I didn’t know your songs were so deep” or “I never knew you could actually sing.” I feel that when being in a band, a lot of those aspects are hidden behind the drums and the guitar amps. I love this style of music and I’m really starting to find myself through this music and all the things I want to say. I get to play a lot and experiment with new writing styles and production techniques.

AR: How was it like winning the Stagelight Music Contest?  From the beginning, did you think you had a good chance of winning and was their good competition between you and the other contestants?

LAUREN: I can’t even begin to describe how it felt. I was taken by total surprise. The competition was so strong and the genres represented varied . I was the last monthly winner and the only solo female to win. So I wasn’t sure what my chances were. The team at Open Labs said that they loved the song and the Linkin Park guys were really into it. But I did not think that it meant that I would win.

AR: “Every Little Light” is a great emotional song.  Can you give the story on what inspired the lyrics?

LAUREN: The lyrics to “Every Little Light” are some of the most personal that I have ever written. I am a very upbeat, positive person, but I have had my rough moments. Since I am a pretty optimistic person, I felt like I had to fake happiness and not share when I was not doing great. I feel like this is a feeling that a lot of people feel on a regular basis. I wanted to write something that everyone could relate to and find some comfort in. The more we talk about mental health and continue the conversation, the more we are making steps in the right direction.

AR: Although it is not a rock or alternative song, it seems like it was influenced by Linkin Park in both the music and lyrics.  I know Mike and Brad from Linkin Park co-wrote it with you so there is a good chance from the start that it would have a sound at least somewhat to that band, but your lyrics also seem similar to Linkin Park?  I think I read that you wrote it after the death of Chester Bennington so I thought maybe some of it might have been influenced by the band.

LAUREN: It definitely shares a lot of the same themes that you hear in Linkin Park songs. I wrote the song in the days that followed Chester’s death, but I had no intention of writing something influenced by him; it just kind of happened. When I brought the song to Mike and Brad, there were some elements, melodically and lyrically, that they loved. We also found some parts that we could make stronger. So some of their magic did rub off on the song and help mold it into what it is today.

AR: I understand you were already a big fan of Linkin Park so it must have been crazy writing the song with them.  How was it working with Mike Shinoda and Brad Delson?  Was it a big collaborative effect and what did you learn from writing with them?

LAUREN: It was absolutely incredible. They are two of the most down to earth people I have ever met. They have been in the industry for forever and their advice was very genuine. You can tell that they love what they do and for them to really take their time with me, I am so thankful. The body of the song was in place going into the session. So a lot of their help came with tightening the song and polishing the rough edges.

AR: Coming from a band like Gravity Hill, it seems like you would have a lot of influences in rock and alternative.  What are your other rock and alternative influences? 

LAUREN: Again, as a kid, classic rock was my go to. When I started playing in bands, I got into groups like Paramore, Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At the Disco, My Chemical Romance, etc. Now, my alternative influences come from all different types of artists. Alternative is such a broad genres now so I listen to a lot of at pop artists such as Lorde, Troye Sivan, VERITE, to harder rock such as Kaleo, Cage the Elephant, Colony House to more mellow music such as Mumford and Sons and Tegan and Sara.

AR: I hear you plan on releasing more new music in 2018.  Can you give some insight into what the new songs sound like?  Do some songs resemble “Every Little Light.”  

LAUREN: I am currently in the writing stage. There are some songs that resemble “Every Little Light” but I really want the next single to be more upbeat. I love my moody, mid-tempo songs but I think it would be fun to go a little out of my comfort zone.

AR: When do you think the new music will be released?  Towards the end of the year?  Will you tour more anytime soon?

LAUREN: I am planning a few shows over the summer and will announce them as they pop up. I’m aiming to release a single in the Fall and hopefully start working on a new EP.


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