A Conversation With Laura Lee Lovely

April 12, 2020

Christchurch singer/songwriter Laura Lee Lovely has a sound that refuses to be placed in a box. Beginning in a high school band before moving to London and starting a solo career, the artist has traversed the globe polishing her sound over time.

Now back in Christchurch with an EP under her belt as well as a variety of collaborations, Laura Lee Lovely has plans to release her debut solo album.

We caught up with the artist to chat about her musical journey, genres place in music and her future plans.

Check out the full conversation below.

Tell me a little about yourself? Who you are, where you’re from, what you do?

I’m an artist from and based in Christchurch, NZ. I write synth, dream pop music, if you had to put it into a genre I’d say that would maybe be it, depending on my mood.

You’ve been on a bit of a musical journey up to becoming Laura Lee Lovely as you are today. Can you tell me a bit about that journey, being in a band, living in London and making music?

I started a band called The O’Lovey’s in high school and we were an indie microkorg band. The band members changed as we morphed into more of a shoegaze sound and changed the name to O’Lovely. When the band broke up I moved to London by myself and had to think of a way to create my music without a band, it was a great personal journey that I went on. I kind of went full circle and now I’m back in my home town with my own studio and I’m working on my debut solo album with producer Ben Hunt.

I feel like I’m in a solid place with myself and my sound, when I left here I was desperate to get out of the NZ bubble, being overseas allowed me to see home from a new perspective.

Tell me a bit more about Laura Lee Lovely over the past few years? What have you been up to recently?

I released a couple of singles followed by an EP so I could have something online for people to listen to. I was being asked to do shows but no one had heard my music. 

My sound was different from the band and I wanted people to know what to expect when they were coming to see me live. The whole process happened quite quickly, it was my first time playing solo with my new set up, it was all very new. 

Since then I’ve been sitting on a lot of music, taking my time on the projects that I’m working on to make sure I’ve given the songs enough time to grow before releasing them. I want to release my future songs knowing that I didn’t rush, it’s easy to feel the pressure to get something out so I’m just trying to slow it down and think on things before I let them go. 

Your music doesn’t really fit into a specific genre, how would you describe your music? And the idea of genres place in music?

 I’ve always struggled with genres, I connect with so many different “genres” and I write for my feelings and emotions, not a genre as such. So I hope over time people will identify with my sound and not really think too much about that. I feel like genres can be so limiting and that would be harmful creatively for me. 

You’ve been in Christchurch for a while now, what do you think of the local scene here? Tell me about some of your collaborations?

Christchurch has always had a strong scene, I think people just really do their thing, it’s always been that way from my perspective. There are a bunch of passionate people doing cool things. Since coming back I’ve noticed a lot of support amongst artists and I feel like Chch is growing, it’s hard to explain, there’s something about small towns that really make you work for an emotional release. 

I’m collaborating with a few different artists at the moment, Siobhan Sainte, Brooke Singer (French For Rabbits) and And$um. All of these artists have unique sounds, it’s exciting being able to work on different songs, we all have a similar attitude toward the music so it’s a painless process, I’m excited to see how they turn out. 

Obviously, we’re in the middle of a lockdown due to COVID-19, do you think this isolation period can inspire creativity?

It’s different for everyone I think, I’ve seen some of my friends on socials saying they haven’t felt creative at all. Byt it has inspired me to get creative, it’s helped me grasp structure too, I’m trying to push myself while I’m in the zone so I can get the most out of the frame of mind I’m in.

You’ve just put out a cover inspired by ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’, how did that come about?

I posted on my Instagram and asked, “What was the first movie that enchanted you.” I had people commenting all these awesome movies, some that I had forgotten about. Someone suggested I do a cover of ‘SOTR’, I was fully in the zone and we recorded it in a day, we mixed it for a couple of days and released it the next week. It happened really organically so I went with it. I’ve always had a fascination with Judy Garland & The Wizard Of OZ so the personal element was strong. 

 What’s your best tip for avoiding stress during the lockdown?

I guess it depends on how you relax, but for me, getting outside, writing down a few things to achieve a day and tell yourself it’s ok to feel weird. Go easy on yourself.

What are some of your future plans?

I’m working on roughly 8 songs at the moment for my album, I’m aiming for an album to be mostly done over the next two months, I’m coming up with concepts for music videos, I might record another cover. Oh, and to get better at guitar. Time will tell! 

You can check out Laura Lee Lovely’s cover of ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ below.

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