Laura Wolfe is a classic singer/songwriter in the tradition of Carole King and Laura Nyro, yet her music and lyrics resonate with the freshness and energy of a new generation. Her CD reveals the soulful sound and spirituality of India Arie, and the range and caliber of early Joni Mitchell.
Laura Wolfe is very much a part of the music scene that New York City is famous for, having been born and raised in the Lower East Side. The result of her upbringing in a cultural yet gritty neighborhood, as well as a musical and politically progressive household is reflected on SIREN. Laura Wolfe does away with the continuity of styles and genres found on most records, but rather stays true to her belief that the sound of each song should reflect the story it tells. Laura Wolfe?s songbook tells the story of what she sees every day when she looks out her window. You?ll hear acoustic melodies with a hard rock chorus, gospel-style vocals and both Middle Eastern and Latin grooves.
Most notable about the album is that it was produced with GRAMMY Award winner Steve Addabbo (Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin), features a tremendous line-up of New York City's top musicians including Dido's rhythm section & Mark Egan, and was selected as a finalist for NPR's "All Songs Considered".
Interview1. Did you have any pre-conceived ideas about the music industry?
Sure I had pre-conceived ideas about the music industry. Having been raised by radicals who were anti-authority and dubious of anything mainstream, I saw the music industry as "the man" or the "corporate machine". I definitely started out believing it's hard to stay true to your musical vision when the industry is mainly concerned with image, sales, profit and keeping the listening public uninformed. I don't think that's true for all labels and hey people do need to make a living so I can see I was a bit jaded to start out. I have a more positive outlook now. I think things are changing in the industry and I remain hopeful about getting to make the music I want to make and make a good living doing it.
2. Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?
Yeah I write my own songs and have since I was a kid. I grew up in the home of a professional musician so I was exposed to lots of great music young in life. I can remember sleeping under my Mom's piano as a kid, if you can believe it, and just drinking it in. I guess that was my first inspiration, but really I started writing to figure shit out. In my house we expressed ourselves through music in ways we couldn't do through conversation alone. I remember singing to my Mom at the dinner table rather than talking. Songs were a primary form of communication in my world. As I've evolved, my inspiration comes from many sources- experiences I've had or witnessed, inner connectedness, and the ocean always inspires me. That's why there are lots of sea images in my songs.
3. What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
I listen to all kinds of music- singer/songwriters from the soul end India Arie and Jill Scott to classic soul of Stevie Wonder (he's probably my favorite). I love the diva white girls like Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt and Annie Lenox but also up and coming divas like KT Tunstall, who I just discovered. I listen to the Gospel diva's like Yolanda Adams and also country divas like KD Lang. I was always a huge Zeppelin fan from childhood and I still put them on. My Mom turned me on to Tim Buckley when I was a kid and I loved both Tim and Jeff Buckley. What a talent and a loss for the music world. I also dig classic salsa artist like Hector La Voe and Willie Colon. Jiimy Cliff is one of my favorites on the reggae front and Cassandra Wilson and the newer Lizz Write on the Jazz/singer songwriter front. I like Nora Jones too. I also listen to Indian classical music-mostly kirtan chanting and some bhajans.
4. What's next? Tour/Single?
Next for me is definitely touring. I am actively looking for a booker and I am looking forward to being on the road and playing a lot this year. The next album I will do with a label in 2007.
5. Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Yes many moments I did throw in the towel at least in my mind. But at this point in my career I am completely committed to seeing this project through and getting my music out there for millions of people to hear.
6. Do you prefer performing live or recording?
I love both. I have always been a performer, since I was a little kid, and the stage is a natural place for me to be. When I recorded SIREN I also fell in love with the recording studio, I loved the challenge and experienced a different kind of satisfaction when I was in the recording studio. I got to use my skills as a musician and singer, creating harmonies arranging and listening to the mixes. I loved it.
7. What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
My inspiration to go into the music industry hum?I guess I'd have to say the artists of the late 60's and 70's who used their fame and the medium of the song to shape a generation of minds and inspire social change and justice. I think that's pretty inspiring!
8. What is the biggest challenge you have faced thus far on your path to musical success?
The biggest challenge on my path to musical success is my own fears really. I think that's the only thing that has stood in my way of success. The more confident I am, and the more powerfully I stand in my own gifts, the more my career falls into place and I succeed.
9. What's a typical day like?
A typical day? No such thing in this field. I think a typical day is being ready for anything. Being flexible and staying on top of all the correspondences and tasks at hand. I wish I had more time to practice but that come in waves. Right now my focus is on the business side of the music business.
10. What has been your favorite part of becoming a music artist?
Well music is my first language and love so even though I am creative in other ways- I like to dance and write etc, music is my home. I think my favorite part about being a musical artist is getting to communicate in a language that transcends differences and separation. I love that about the art of making music.
11. If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Wow any artist? I think I'd love to collaborate with a great bass player like Joni did with Jacko or a great Jazz guitar player like Stanley Jorden or even Pat Matheny. For songwriting maybe Billy Joel he's such a fantastic songwriter or Stevie Wonder that would be a dream.
12. Do you have a website fans can visit?
Yeah my website is www.laurawolfe.com, and I also have a myspace page www.myspace.com/laurawolfe.
13. Can you tell us 5 things required for a happy healthy & enjoyable life?
I'd say that whatever virtues you yourself posses, allow you to create a happy healthy enjoyable life regardless of your outer circumstances. Those virtues in my mind are:
Compassionate honesty with yourself and othersSelf Love and Love for othersForgiveness for yourself and othersThe ability to find joy and something positive in any, and I mean any situationFaith in the goodness of human beings.
14. What message would you like to say to your fans?
The message I have for my fans is thank you! Thank you for supporting my music and for believing in the art I make. You are my inspiration.
60 Second QuizFull Name: Laura Wolfe
Nickname(s) : Lu or LuLu
Star Sign: Leo
Favorite Food: Pineapple or Chocolate
Favorite Film: Can't pick just one movie???? Love Baliwood for fun.Favorite Actor: Can't pick just one. Is that a theme? Ok, for technique Meryl Streep, for crushes (the butch kind) Jodi Foster, for chutzpah Bette Midler, and for being hot and likable Drew Barrymore.
Pet: 2 cockatiels
Describe yourself in 3 words: I am loyal, strong and fiery
Best Feature: Best feature, well I think my hair
Worst Feature: Worst feature hmmm? I wish I had a smaller waistline
Person You Would Most Like to Meet: I would love to meet my great grand parents just to find out more about where I come from. I am not really the star struck type but Bonnie Raitt is just so amazing I'd like to meet her because I respect and admire her so much.
Hobbies/Interests: Hobbies? Well who has spare time but when I do I like to host parties. I love to dance, dance, dance!!!! Spend time on the beach #1 favorite.
First Job: Tower Records (sales girl)
Are you a Pub, Bar or Club kind: None of the three but if I had to choose, club so I can dance.
What Can You Never Leave Home Without: Never leave home with out Keys to the apartment, hey I live I NYC.
What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning: Great question I'll have to take the time to notice. Mostly it's what I need to do.