Laurel is one of the most exciting artists emerging in the UK music scene. Her recently released debut album Dogviolet displays piercing lyrics and an array of rock, pop and blues songs that are particularly impressive, considering Laurel is still so young at 24 years old. I caught up with her to talk about the album, her creative process and what is to come for the rising star.
“The week before I put the album out, I was like, ‘Fuck, what if no one cares?’ but I’ve been really pleased with the reaction,” Laurel says,laughing. And it’s true – she should be pleased. Sunday Times chose it as Debut of the Week, and one of her most popular tracks, ‘Adored,’ reached number two on Hypebeast. She was also recently featured on HMV’s One to Watch. This is not to say she has not had previous notable successes – it is just this is the first album she has released and thus really raised her profile as an artist.
The singer-songwriter started writing songs when she was 11 and her first performance was at 14 years old. Since then, she has released tracks online and despite being compared to Lorde, Florence and the Machine and labelled “the British Lana Del Rey”, she has very much her own distinct sound owing to the fact she writes, records and produces all her music herself. But it begs the question, why does she go through the effort of doing everything herself?
“When you work alone, I think there is something captured that you don’t get when you work with other people. It’s very pure, there’s no wondering what someone else is going to think. I think it causes a slight hesitation and sometimes you don’t come out with the true essence of what you’re trying to make.”
The name Dogviolet for the album is inspired by the concept of an “ugly sort of love – love is beautiful like a flower but in the wrong hands, it’s very ugly and very violent.” What is very apparent from talking to Laurel is that she is very particular about the message she wants to give to her listeners through her music.
Rarely have I interviewed an artist who thinks so carefully about their thoughts and feelings and how to showcase them in musical form. This explains why she has also released a book called The Mutterings of a Laurel, which Laurel describes as a reflection of the album. “I want people to understand the album and me more so that’s why I released it.”
Having released a book and an album, what are Laurel’s ambitions for the future? She replies saying that her second album won’t take as long to put out because she wants to have some help with production. “It was a lot of work to do so it would be good to get some help! And it’s obviously good to expand and learn from somebody else. I would love to work with Paul Epworth or Dev Hynes. Does anyone have their numbers?”
There is an effortless cool to Laurel which is refreshing in an industry where some artists try so hard on social media and wear exposing clothes to reach stardom. I strongly believe that her obvious musical talent and graceful charm will get her far in the music industry.