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Interview: Lauren Aquilina

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Having just finished touring alongside Jamie Lawson, Lauren Aquilina is adding the final touches to her highly anticipated debut album.

Self described as ‘dreamy, cinematic pop’, her music has won over the hearts of 70,000 plus fans, sold out three headline tours, bagged her the headline slot on the BBC Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds festivals, and allowed her to support Taylor Swift at Hyde Park last year.

Often described as lyrically mature, it’s difficult to believe that Lauren has managed this level of success at only twenty years old - releasing her first EP Fools at the age of sixteen and recently signing to Island Records last year.

Lauren’s first shows of 2016 came in the form of supporting singer Jamie Lawson on his eight date UK tour.

“I haven’t really played these size venues in the UK before so it’s been really cool to play some of the venues that I’ve seen my favourite artists go round and play. Jamie’s really nice and all of his crew are really nice. So it’s just been, like, an easy-going kind of tour. It would be fair to say that Jamie would agree we are now best mates for life.. further than life”

Speaking of ‘best mates’, last Summer saw Lauren support one of her idols, Taylor Swift, at the pop singer’s BST Hyde Park gig.

“It was pretty… emotional .Pretty surreal, the whole thing, the whole day was just so dreamy. I remember it in, like, glitter. It was really cool, she was a total babe, and just like so majestic. But it was just really like, inspiring."

Besties? This support slot came after Taylor tweeted Lauren expressing love for her first EP.

“When she first tweeted me I was in the real down time where I was considering just stopping music forever, but then she tweeted me saying she liked my EP and I was like, wow, if I put something out there and Taylor Swift hears it and likes it then I should probably keep going. It’s just really cool to meet her and thank her for that.”

“She’s so tall”, she gushes, “and she has the most perfect toes I’ve ever seen. Amazing toes. That’s what I took away.”

Lauren’s first three EPs - Fools, Sinners and Liars form a trilogy. Describing the three stages of a previous relationship in Lauren’s teen years, each features four songs including a ‘token heartbreaker’ or a ‘tearjerker’ ballad as the last track.

These have created a sound associated with Lauren - sad, melancholic, yet powerful.

Plenty of piano, some strings but with the main focus on the lyrics and vocal. Her fourth EP release, Oceans opened up a new side to Lauren’s musical ability. Moving from writing about the same event in her life, which came to a close full circle in the trilogy, we hear some more upbeat, loud sounds from the songwriter as her album release draws closer.

On the 11th December last year, Lauren dropped a song called ‘Echoes’ - which leaps ahead of her sad ballads, and really shows a strong transition into the pop genre.

“I kind of put it out like, not as a single or anything but ‘here’s a song that I made’ and it’s quite different to stuff I’ve put out before because it’s definitely ‘this is a pop artist; a pop song - and that’s what most of my album is, so it’s sort of an introduction to that”

Full of synths and catchy repetitive lyrics (“I was never yours to hold”), the song received highly positive response from her fans, many tweeting back to Lauren describing how they love her ‘new sound’.

I ask if this described ‘new sound’ is something we can expect from her debut album, set for release in the first half of this year, and what has made her make the jump into pop.

“Because I released three EPs, that were all sort of part of their own big entity, that’s basically an album in itself so I had to treat this album like a second album. I’ve already released twelve songs so I don’t want to release another twelve that are the same! I’d always loved pop music but I’d always been too scared to make it because I thought it wasn’t credible or whatever and I’ve always written my own songs. I didn’t really know how to write a pop song. It’s just like, I just decided to go for it.”

“I’m trying to think what the first song was that I wrote and I knew that I was gonna be a pop artist. I think it was actually a song called ‘Stung’, which now I don’t know if it’s going to be on the album or not, but that was the moment I was like ‘oh, cool I can actually do this’”

With many females currently dominating the music industry, and Lauren carving out her own place within it, I ask who she looks to for inspiration. “I love female pop artists who write their own stuff, so like, Tove Lo, Taylor Swift. Ellie Goulding’s first album - so good.” she responds. “There are loads of like, these sort of ‘new wave’ girl artists that are doing it that’s really cool, so a lot of stuff. I’m always looking for new music all the time.”

“There’s a girl band called MUNA, who are these three girls from L.A. who just write amazing pop songs, and they’re really unknown but I think they’re gonna be big. And Frances is a great pop writer, like more ballady pop. There are loads! Ciara, she’s good as well. She’s got a song out called ‘Feel’ at the moment which is really good”

This week, she plays a very intimate sold out gig at Hoxton Hall, London to preview her album to dedicated fans, talk about the meanings behind each song and thank ticket holders for their ongoing support. For the majority who aren’t able to attend, I ask what we can expect before the big release day.

“Yeah, there’s gonna be two more singles. The first one of which I’m planning a music video for and everything now - very exciting. There will be at least two more singles before the album comes out.”

Lastly, I ask the most cliche question of all time - but one that is always provokes an interesting answer. Where does she hope to be in five years?

“Hopefully just doing this everyday still. I can’t tell you if it’ll be in bigger venues or smaller venues, or maybe I’ll be in a band or maybe I won’t even be performing anymore maybe I’ll just be a writer. I really don’t know, but like I just wanna keep doing music, for sure. I think that’s the most important thing for me, so as long as I get to do that forever even if it’s not for myself, then I’ll be pretty happy.” 




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