It's a Neo-Soul Vibe: An Interview with Singer, Songwriter Lauren Eylise
Life/Death/Life is the new EP from singer/songwriter Lauren Eylise, a Cincinnati native. Lauren is a talented artist, mom, and woman with a vision. She has a story that can inspire all, who unapologetically embrace their individuality and always chase their dreams.
As an artist, Lauren delivers an authentic sound that resonates with listeners from all over. In addition to her raving new EP, she is on tour gracing audiences with the smooth melodies of neosoul, intertwined with chords of jazz, blues, rock, and other genres. You can catch Lauren's performance with music legend, Erykah Badu on April 27th, at the U.S. Bank Arena.
You can also purchase her new EP, Life/Death/Life on all streaming services.
In our recent Her Spotlight interview, we chatted with Lauren about her music, her life, and what it takes to make it in this industry.
What inspired you to pursue a career in singing & songwriting?
I was told that I started singing at 2 years old. I don’t know a day without music, it’s never been a question, but always a feeling. I started writing in elementary school. Once I was introduced to African American literature and poetry, there was no going back. Poetry and songwriting go hand in hand. I got my first piano at age 13 and a guitar in 2009. I’ve just always had a very natural connection to music.
How old were you when you wrote your first song, and what was it about?
When I was younger, I would listen to my favorite songs and then recreate verses to them. My first one was probably something by 3LW. But the first song I created, I was young, living in Avondale. I had a small keyboard, and I wrote a song from my soul. It was called “Breaking the Chain.” I made it a big deal and got my family to listen. Their reaction was that I was so young but yet I made this very intense, powerful song.
3. Who has influenced you musically?
A great deal of genres. I’d say Beyonce because not only is she a great vocalist and entertainer but she is a businesswoman. She influences the way I work, and how I want to live my life, unapologetically. Other influences are Anita Baker, Prince, Michael Jackson, Mos Def, Tupac here and there, Lil Kim, Midnight Star, The Beatles, Kings of Lennon, Amy Winehouse and I can keep going.
4. What contributes to the creativity of your music?
Life. The more life I live, the more inspiration I draw from it. I can hear a melody and I’m reminded of a situation, a challenge, a person, and it’s fuel to my songwriting. And being vulnerable to what life has to teach me. I want to feel everything because that’s how I create.
You’re noted as an R&B and NeoSoul artist. What is the theme of your songs and do you think that will ever change?
Absolutely. I have many influences, rock, jazz, blues, and you can hear that at any point in my set. My influences are very vast. I hope to retain my versatility and keep pouring that into my creative work.
Tell us about your current EP, Life/Death/Life.
This is my first healing project. I created this project as a means to heal. Many things happened to me in a short amount of time. I didn’t allow myself time to reflect. I was just moving. My initial plans were to make it more commercial, but then I went a whole different direction.
I got inspiration for the title from the book, “Women Who Run with the Wolves”. The book talks about the life death life process, in which everything must die so that new things can come to life. I experienced this process. Things in my life had to die so that I could have new experiences, literally and figuratively. I gave birth to my now 2-year-old son, and I brought life into the world, and sacrifices had to be made.
My favorite songs are Interlude because you can literally hear the emotion, the essence of female sensuality. It’s so important for us, as women to express our sensuality and sexuality. And I love Voodoo, too. Because especially for black women, we don’t always get the love we need. This became an ode to myself, my sister, my mothers, and my bloodline - the ones that got us here.
Congrats on your new album release and tour with Erykah Badu. What are you most excited about touring this year?
Thank you. I love touring because I’m eager to learn. I just played my first night in Harlem! I toured before in 2016 on the East Coast. But now I’m on a different level. Touring always shows you a side of yourself and your strength. You unfold and pull back a layer. I also get inspired by every city.
How does being an independent artist play a role in your success and journey as a musician?
That is yet to be determined. It’s hard being an independent artist. But it does strengthen me. In a way, I think it will help me progress. Being independent will force you to learn the business. Based on what I’ve read, artists signed to a label can be told what to do a lot easier. When you’re signed, everything is already arranged for you, so you don’t have to learn the business. But when you’re independent, you got to know your s***.
Where have you performed and what was your favorite venue?
I’ve performed all over. Cincinnati, Indiana, Chicago, Detroit, Texas (at SXSW), NYC and the East Coast. NYC has an energy that cannot be denied. I also love Chicago. My first time ever performing in Chicago was at Wonder Bar. It was packed with a full band. I went on between their set, during intermission. Everyone got quiet in that venue, they shut up, you could hear a pin drop while I performed. It was a humbling experience. It just showed me what I’m really doing and that I can take that energy everywhere I go.
So far, what has been your proudest moment?
Definitely U.S. Bank Area with Erykah Badu this month. I remember saying it aloud, that these were the places I’d perform. I set the intention last year. And I’m honestly proud of myself for just sticking it out. I understand why people give up. But I have to keep pushing myself.
How do you balance being a musician, a mom, and everything else?
Practicing self-care. You can have a show on a Saturday night, that’s a 3-hour set and not leave until 1 am and then you have to be at the airport by 5 am for a show the next day, and it goes on and on. It can be draining. I have to find quiet time for myself, sometimes that means sitting in the bed, and reading a good book. I’m also very intentional. I make lists all day. So when practicing self-care I get to clear my mind. It also helps to keep a happy spirit.
What advice would you give to someone who is just starting off in the music industry?
Know yourself, to the best of your ability, or at least commit to trying to figure it out. You must know the art side and the business side. Because if you go to a label meeting and don’t know you are, they will tell you who are. That is the quickest way to drive me crazy. I’m not Rihanna, I’m Lauren.
What’s next for you Lauren Eylise?
I’m hustling and grinding until the wheels fall off. I’m working on lots of new music and have collaborations in the process too. I’m writing a lot. I’m also doing a summer series. I’m focused on evolving, spreading more love and more life.
More about Lauren …
- If you had to pitch your music to a TV show or filmmaker, what kind of show or movie would you target?
Big Little Lies with Reese Witherspoon They have a lot of blues in there. I’m going to start speaking that into existence. As far as movies I’d have to say any movie really, but I love Harry Potter. And I’d be great to have my music in the next Black Panther.
If you had a chance to tour with any musician who would it be?
Bruno Mars, Beyonce, Rihanna and Asap Rocky. It would be so fun.
What’s your life Mantra?
I have many.
“I always get what I want and if I don’t get it, I didn’t really want it.”
“I am my own sacred place.”
The word “Love”.
To learn more about this talented artist, visit www.laureneylise.com.