When Laura Welsh speaks about her impulse to make music it sounds as if her life depends on it, or at the very least her emotional well-being.
Shy and sensitive in person, Laura’s songwriting defies her introverted nature: her music is sparse and sophisticated and her lyrics are so confessional that the listening experience is akin to tracing the pages of a diary.
The Staffordshire born singer has established herself as one of 2014’s most captivating artists because of her ability to phrase the most tangled thoughts into something simple and true. A private soul transformed by pop music.
I catch up with the singer-songwriter following the release of her debut album, Soft Control…
How would you describe your music?
Electro-soul-pop with personal lyrics. I find it hard to have conversations about how I’m feeling – even in close relationships I wouldn’t spill it all out – but when I write it’s different, there’s no filter on what I say.
What has been your most memorable career moment to date?
Writing music with John Legend while out in LA on a writing trip. We sat around a piano and wrote for four hours. Also to get him on the record was a dream come true.
What were the highlights of 2014?
Festival season made my year – I played Glasto for the first time. I played alongside the Gorgon City boys which was incredible and unexpected. Festival shows are a lot of fun – so different to stage shows.
At what age did you start performing?
Most of my childhood, growing up in Staffordshire, was spent surrounded by sound: my mother was a local folk singer and from an early age music was an integral part of my make-up. It was natural that singing was something that I just could do. It was probably the only time that I didn’t have any inhibitions.
Who or what inspires your music?
I take inspiration from various styles of music. At the moment I’m listening to the new stuff from Flying Lotus, D’Angelo, Carole King and a lot of different soul artists.
I grew up listening to my mother’s music and a record collection filled with straight-to-the-core country crooners like Patsy Cline. I became obsessed with the art of writing honest love songs, and after stealing my sister’s Prince and Michael Jackson albums, I became ensnared by the immediacy of big hooks and a memorable melody.
I also take inspiration from watching live music – it makes me want to pick up a guitar – and watching short movies and viewing photography. I decided to open a Tumblr account recently to store all of the inspiring images I find.
What do you have planned for summer 2015?
I released my album on January 19th so I’m busy promoting this for the next couple of months. I’ve got a couple of intimate shows planned for America too which I’m excited about.
I also want to take time to work on my live visuals. I like to take control of everything musically.
Do you already have an established fan base in America?
Surprisingly yes. It was overwhelming to be Single of the Week out there. I performed on a TV show out in the USA which helped to get my name out there as I’m a completely new name over that side of the world. I was very nervous but it was an incredible experience.