Authenticity has always been a key part of Laura’s musical journey. Growing up in a household of music fanatics, having conversations in three-part harmony was often considered the norm. It’s only natural then, that she aspired to visit the music city of Nashville and on her 18th birthday, her family took a trip that would change everything.
We caught up with Laura ahead of her anticipated new EP ‘How Big is Your World’ to find out more about her new release and journey into the world of music!
Finding Her Path
Laura admits she has always enjoyed singing. Coming from a very musically gifted family, where everyone sings, it was only natural that Laura followed the same path. Having left school, she would find herself singing anywhere and everywhere, especially the local gigs in Liverpool. Laura then continued to follow her passion by moving to Leeds to study her degree at Leeds College of Music.
“I met so many fantastic musicians and writers, a lot of whom I still work with to this day. I credit that with really broadening my world musically.”
Shortly after graduating Laura went onto self-releas her first track to iTunes and explains that it has just been gradually building since then. Ultimately chosing this path because by her own admission she “just loved it so much…I just had to do it”.
How Big is Your World
Laura explains her new EP How Big Is Your World is the first project she has released where it has felt 100% who she is both individually and as an artist.
“It’s the kind of music I would listen to if it wasn’t mine and the stories and subject matters in the lyrics are truly how I feel about the world.”
The inspiration for the song ‘How Big is Your World’ came to Oakes in a moment of extreme gratitude when she was driving to a show one October afternoon in 2019. She goes on to explain how she was in Inverness in Scotland and was admiring the beauty of the landscape out of the window and it just hit her how lucky she had been to see so many beautiful parts of the world.
Oakes describes her music as a mix of the classic with the modern. She is very fond of classic 1970’s singer/songwriters like Stephen Bishop,Andrew Gold,Elton John & Carole King. In addition, part of her heart also lies with music by The 1975, The Night Game and TallSaint – so for the artist, it’s all of those influences wrapped up into one. Accompanied by some fantastic story telling!
“What’s so great about writing Country music is you can be so detailed and personal lyrically – and no one can tell your story quite like you.”
For her listeners, Laura would love to think people listening to her music take an emotional feeling of understanding where they feel like the artist knows what they’re going through and that she gets it!
Laura highlights the most important thing as an artist is the people you have around you. Expressing extreme gratitude at how lucky she is to have a supportive family – a lot of them were her first inspiration to start to sing. In addition to an incredible team of managers, band members, writers and producers who all care about her music as much as she does, which she explains is so incredibly hard to find. Without those people artist admits she wouldn’t be where she is now.
Laura graciously opens up about being bullied through quite a lot of school. However, what Laura felt it taught her was the importance of individual identity, the need to be your own person from an early age.
“You don’t have a group to follow or learn from so you really forge your own way. And you grown up not really being scared of not fitting in.”
When it comes to dealing with performance anxiety, Laura admits she probably dealt with some form of social anxiety and performance anxiety long before she realised what either of those things were. To combat this, Laura explains how she tries her best to only allow herself to focus on the present moment – not thinking about the past or projecting into the future (even by half an hour).
“It’s can be difficult to get into that way of thinking and it’s definitely something that takes practice. It’s something I’ve found I’ve got better at managing. I find checking in with myself often to see how I’m feeling (as strange as that may sound) means I have control over it and can manage it better.”
Being Tech Savy
For Laura, looking at how social media has played a part in defining her career, she sees it as a wonderful tool for a music career because it’s so instant and direct. What is key is the use as a promotional tool, as a support to your releases or live shows.
Ultimately finding the right people changed everything for Laura and is something that, for a long time, she didn’t think she would ever find. Having grown up in England listening to country music – something which is now much cooler – but at the time she found did isolate her a little so when she got to music college and met a couple of guys who where like ‘Yeah country is cool’ Laura thought all her dreams had come true!
“I think the main way to find people who have a passion for the same things you do is to be bold and unwavering in your love for it. Thats the best way to draw like minded people to you.”
For students looking to get into the industy, Laura has one but very key recommendation:
“Do it because you absolutely love it! That’s the only reason to really do it and a lot of the time, the thing that will carry you through when it gets hard.”
To not worry about following trends – just be you. There was a time when being a UK country artist was not even a possibility but 10 years later and here we are! So if it feels right to you – just keep going!
Laura hopes to tour much more with her ultimate goal to have a single in the official Top 40 chart, but even more so, for a UK Country Artist to have a single crossover to the mainstream and to be the artist that makes that happen.