As a college music graduate inspired by the likes of James Taylor, Laura Roy grew up around music and as a result found a deep rooted connection to it that exists to this day. Now, having just released her six track debut self-titled EP, she's sharing her passion with the world and kindly agreed to this interview to chat influences, greatest songs and her dream concert line up.
PW: Please introduce yourself.
Laura Roy: My name is Laura Evans Roy.
PW: How would you sum up yourself and your music up in a couple of sentences?
LR: I am a small town baby born and raised on the East Coast of Canada with a big voice, big ambitions and a dream to tell stories and experiences with song and voice. I have many different sides to my musical self and have been influenced by many different genres and artists growing up but my heart definitely found it's home in soul and r&b music at a young age. I'm also a college music grad so I was trained to sing everything from jazz, blues, latin, classical. A part of me loves to just strip the music down to myself and my guitar but I also love modern r&b and pop production and love the creative process of producing music.
PW: Which bands and artists did you grow up listening to and how did they influence you? Have such influences changed over the years?
LR: I grew up having a lot of 90's/hiphop r&b influences like Destiny's Child, Janet Jackson, Monica, Mya, SWV, Brandy and TLC. This definitely influenced the way I phrase my melodies when writing. I also was always super drawn to powerhouse pop vocals when I was young. Vocalists like Celine Dion, Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. I also grew up listening to James Taylor, Carol King and a lot of blues music. My influences have changed a lot over the years. I am an avid music listener and I am constantly listening to new and old music for inspiration.
PW: When did you first realise you wanted to be a performer? Was there an album you listened to or concert you attended that made you think 'yeah, I want to do that'?
LR: When I was really young I used to put together tables in my living room and perform with a broomstick. I also used to make my own singing music videos with the family video camera. There was always a clear love of performing from a young age. Those homemade music videos will definitely come back to haunt me someday.
PW: Starting out and while attending various music/song-writing camps, you had the opportunity to write and connect with producers and writers like Rob Wells, Alex Greggs, John Legend, Rascal Flatts and Gordie Sampson. What tips and advice did they give you and how has that advice impacted what you do?
LR: I have done a lot of writing camps in my past. I think most of my learning has come from just diving in and being confident in my writing style all while picking up little skills from other writers. Co-writing is always cool because you never know how the session is going to go especially when it’s writers you have not written with before. It keeps things exciting and makes you bring your A game always.
PW: Tell me about your self-titled EP. Could you pick a favorite track from the collection?
LR: The EP is just about my life experience over the past two years with love, relationships, moving to a new city, feeling homesick, feeling inspired, learning new things. My favorite tracks are "Full Moon" and "Looking The Other Way." I think I connect the most with their lyrics because of the experience I went through with a breakup while I wrote them. I also think those two lean more into the R&B world with the groove, feel and melodies and that’s the type of music I truly love to sing and perform. All the tracks on the project mean something to me and I think depending on my mood I would choose others. It’s so hard to pick one!
PW: How easy/hard do you find the song-writing process and who/what most inspires you?
LR: The writing process can be both easy and hard. Sometimes the lyrics just flow out of you and other times you can just hit a road block on finishing one tiny line. But it keeps you engaged and invested in the process and I love that. It makes finishing the song feel like that much more of an accomplishment at the end. I am inspired most by my experiences or hearing from other people’s experiences. I am also really inspired by singers and strong melody writers. Melodies inspire lyrics for me.
PW: Which song, in your opinion, is the greatest ever written and why?
LR: I don’t think I could ever answer that question. I listen to music pretty much 24/7 and there are too many great songs in this world to ever narrow it down to one. If you asked me to choose a song for a mood.. that I could do. I secretly want to be a DJ.
PW: You've shared the stage with Jully Black, JRDN, Ludacris, Rakim and Freddy Gibbs. What are your favourite memories of those occasions?
LR: I honestly love getting on stage as an opener and having no one really know who you are. There’s something exciting about that and I like the challenge of winning people over. I think it’s always great sharing the stage with other artists especially when they’re further along in their career because you get a glimpse into their world and get to witness first hand their relationship with their fans.
PW: What's been your favourite live performance to date?
LR: My favorite shows are always the more intimate ones when I am performing with just my guitar and I can hear people singing along to my lyrics. There is no better feeling for me.
PW: If you could play one venue anywhere in the world, which would it be and why?
LR: I have never really thought of that. I would just love to be able to tour Europe and Asia. I think that would be amazing.
PW: If you could share a stage with three other bands or artists, who can be living or dead, who would they be and why?
LR: I would love to perform with James Taylor. I was raised on his music and have seen him live before. He is incredible. I’d also love to perform with Raphael Saadiq. He’s one of my favorites as a producer, artist and musician. It would be a dream to perform some real r&b soul music with him. And lastly… I would say Wale. I’m a big Wale fan and I love how he sounds over acoustic music. It would be so cool to have him do a verse on a stripped down acoustic song with me.
PW: What are your touring/performance plans for the rest of the year? Will you be playing any festivals this summer or just focusing more on your own shows?
LR: I am doing a few of my own shows in Nova Scotia for Halifax Jazz Festival and also for my album release party, but this fall I definitely plan to venture into the states a bit and do a small tour. I would love to make a trip to the UK as well and do some shows there.
PW: What are your thoughts on social media and do you agree that it's a necessary and useful tool for bands and artists today?
LR: It’s a great asset for sure. I do as much as I can but it does take a lot of energy. I only do it to stay engaged with my fans and give them as much content as possible so that they can get to know me as well as the music.
PW: You've been championed by the likes of Coast Magazine, but how much does praise and support like that matter to you?
LR: It’s always nice to hear! But I don’t depend on that. It’s when people tell about how much a song meant to them, or when someone comes up to me after a show and tells me that my music inspires them… that’s what counts for me. Cheesy, but very true.
PW: What does the rest of the year have in store for you?
LR: Promoting the EP, travel, performing and writing as much as possible and working on the next project!
PW: Finally then, what's your ultimate ambition as an artist and with that in mind, whose career would you most like to emulate?
LR: There’s no career I would like to emulate because I feel I am unique to my own journey in all of this. My greatest ambition is to be able to travel the world, create music and engage and inspire people with my voice and my music.
Check out Laura's acoustic session of "Plastic" below and for more information on her and her music, visit her website, give her page a like on Facebook or follow her on Twitter. You can purchase her self-titled EP on itunes.