An Interview With Singer-Songwriter LAUREN CALVE On Her Newest Music, Surviving Quarantine and Much More!
Get to know the storyteller-singer-songwriter Lauren Calve! Her latest single, “Better Angels” was written after listening to a radio interview with Jon Meacham who cited Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address as inspiration for his book, The Soul of America: The Battle For Our Better Angels. But it’s taken on an overwhelming new meaning to her during these terrible times so she wanted to made a video to honor her local heroes in and around her neighborhood.
In the song’s music video, she honors the frontline people in her life including her mailman, police chief, food clerks, pharmacist, and even an elderly couple in her neighborhood checking on each other, her family, and her cat Loretta Lynn among others in her MD town that borders DC. More recently on June 23rd, Calve put out her Wildfire EP.
Connect With Lauren Calve Online Here: WEBSITE
Learn more about Lauren Calve in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. So given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you? How have you adjusted to these times? How are you staying busy?
Thanks for having me! Honestly, my typical day during Covid-19 doesn’t look that different from what it used to be. I’ve been working from home full time for the past three years and I’m a pretty big homebody, so my lifestyle hasn’t changed that much. As the months go by, however, I am starting to feel the lack of social interactions with friends and family. And, of course, I miss performing and going to shows! I am staying busy, though. Releasing an EP during this moment has been strange, but I’ve been keeping busy trying to get the word out!
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more?
The most challenging part about quarantine has been keeping a routine and taking care of my mental health. Some days are better than others. And, yes, the Washington D.C. metro area is starting to open up. My fiancé, John, and I have been trying to support our favorite local establishments. Recently, we dined outside one of our favorite restaurants, Franklin’s, in Hyattsville, Maryland. It’s great to see local businesses getting creative with their seating arrangements in order to serve more people while staying safe!
Let’s talk about your newest track, “Better Angels.” Can you elaborate on how you were inspired by Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural address? The song has been featured on many playlists already. Has that support surprised you at all?
The title for my single, “Better Angels,” came directly from a quote from Lincoln’s inaugural address on the eve of the Civil War: “The mystic chords of memory will swell, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.” These words revived a hope in humanity in me that I hadn’t felt in years. This hope spawned “Better Angels.” And now the song has taken on new meaning since the pandemic and the recent unprecedented global racial justice movement. We need our better angels now more than ever. Because of this, it doesn’t surprise me that so many people have identified with with the song.
What was it like making the music video for it? Where did the idea for it come from exactly? How creatively involved with the overall process were you?
I was involved in every behind-the-scenes aspect of the lyric video. I came up with the storyline and the overall aesthetic which was inspired by the quarantine and the people in my life who were still working to keep the country up and running. I also took all the photos, or directed my fiancé to take photos of me, and drew the illustration that appears in the video. It’s always fun to have that much creative control from the inception of the idea to the realization of it.
You just released your “Wildfire” EP. How excited are you for all these songs to finally be out here in the world? What inspired this music? What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? How long did it take from start to finish?
I’m so excited to finally release “Wildfire” into the world! So much went into this record, and over the course of several years, that it feels like a release in more than one way! Then, after years of writing these songs, they were all recorded in a week last Spring. That’s what surprised me most– how quickly the songs were recorded. At the time, I had just formed a five-piece all-female band with whom I had only played these songs a few times. It’s a testament to their amazing talent that they were able to knock the songs out so efficiently in the studio!
Do you hope to put out a full-length album later this year or next year? Are you consistently writing new songs?
Yes, I’m planning to release a full-length album next. I’ve already written a half dozen songs for it and am continuing to come up with new song and production ideas. It’s taken me three EP’s worth of material over the last six years to finally find my voice. That’s what a full-length album represents to me: a cohesive concept. As excited as I am for “Wildfire” to be out, I’m even more excited for this next stage.
Speaking of new music, how do you think future music is going to be influenced by this incredible and absolutely necessary Black Lives Matter movement that the US is going through now? Is it inspiring you and your music today?
Before we can talk about future music, I think we have to talk about the music of the past which is indelibly linked to Black culture. Delta Blues music, a cornerstone of almost every American music tradition, is one of my biggest influences. The current Black Lives Matter movement is teaching all of us, especially those of us like me who so obviously benefit from Black culture, that we have a responsibility to fight for racial justice. We can’t expect to profit, directly or otherwise, from Black music and not fight for the lives that made/make it. Hopefully, the music industry will do a better job of acknowledging this in the future. And I plan to be more conscious of Black influence in the songs I write and make appropriate reparations, whether by hiring Black musicians, recording at Black-owned studios, and/or donating to causes whose purpose is to dismantle systemic racism.
If you could design your dream music video right now, what would it look like?
I really love Lana del Ray’s music videos. There’s a lo-fi absurdist reality to them that I just love. So my dream music video would look like one of hers. I recently watched a video she took on her phone from the legs-down as she descends an incredibly long staircase to the ocean while reading one of her poems. It’s profound and beautiful in its simplicity.
If you could perform or write and record with any artist right now, who would you choose and why?
I would love to write and record with Phoebe Bridgers. I’ve loved everything she’s released, whether from her solo material to her collaborative bands, boygenius and Better Oblivion Community Center. She has such a distinctive writing style and she makes really creative production choices. I see a lot of what I want to do with my music in her.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I’d love for your readers to come find me online! I’m on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube! It’s such a strange time for live music right now, with most of it happening online, that I’m planning to do a lot more of it. I’m excited to connect with more people this way!