After calling the UK home for the last three years, Christchurch singer-songwriter and producer Laura Lee Lovely has returned home to New Zealand with a stunning debut solo release, Eden, a four track EP that showcases a beautiful mix of upbeat pop-synth sounds and orchestral flourishes, not to mention Lovely’s mesmerising vocals that she honed as the vocalist for O’LOVELY.
Following the break-up of O’LOVELY, Laura admitted she felt “stuck in a grind,” which encouraged the move overseas. “I just wanted to live a bit,” she confessed. “Going from having all of this support to being alone and trying to figure out how to do everything by myself was quite a struggle, but being away from my hometown gave me that confidence and mind-space to step back and think about what it was I wanted to do. Once you’ve got a clear vision of what you want to do, then you can do it and I think I needed that time away to really understand that,” she concluded.
Performing since the age of four and being classically trained which led to everything from tap-dancing to opera-singing, Laura claims it’s her love of 80s music that’s the main inspiration behind her own synth-pop sound and dulcet tones. “I love Debbie Harry and Joy Division” she eagerly announced, joking about her obsession with Ian Curtis. “I am also very inspired by The Knife, but always wanted to find my own sound, which is something that’s actually really hard to do until you’ve worked on it for a while,” which she most certainly achieved with undeniable results.
“I’m a very emotional writer,” Laura confessed with a laugh, admitting that the EP doesn’t embody a theme as such, but more so a lot of ‘feelings.’ “I have a lot of nostalgia,” she continued, “especially being back in Auckland, but it’s fun! There’s definitely some sad parts in there too, but as a whole, it’s just about life and the everyday events that have inspired me.”
“The sound and vibe behind each track evolved from how I was feeling or wanting to express myself and I feel like sometimes there’s a contrast between the music and the lyrical content, but together it just works as they balance one another” she added. “Also when you write something over a period of time, it changes again,” she acknowledged. “I’ll write something that has quite a fun, up-tempo beat and then come back to it three weeks later with a new direction and inspiration for the track entirely, so songwriting for me becomes more of a process of layering, until I get it how I want it, I often don’t know what a song is going to be like until the very end,” she confessed.
Following the release of Eden came a lush and dreamy video for the catchy single Faster, a song influenced by nostalgia that is a reflection of the life in New Zealand Laura was unable to keep up with. “I loved going out all of the time and just really living, but I couldn’t keep up with that life which made me feel very disappointed and depressed, so the song is about reflecting on that time and those feelings,” she confessed. “I wanted [Faster] to be a colourful kind of bomb. It starts off minimal then continues to build to this loud and epic sound, particularly throughout the live version.”
That nostalgia beautifully shines through in the music video filmed by Ella Chau [French Concession]. “Of course we had the earthquake in Christchurch so going back to your hometown after an event like that, although it’s much better now, is still very upsetting because places that I loved and places that were filled with so much history are completely damaged or totally gone, so I wanted to show a little bit of that throughout the video. It’s not a very obvious story but it’s very personal to me and I think people will interpret it however they want.”
“When I listen to music that I love, I feel something and it makes me feel better about things or makes me think and that’s really all I want for people listening to my EP,” Laura acknowledged. “I want people to think about it a little bit and not just believe I’m another alternative pop girl. I hope people can understand and connect with the music and songs in their own way and get something out of it, whatever that may be it doesn’t matter.”
Promising some shows in the near future, an album is also on the cards, Laura confirmed. “I’ve got quite a few songs already, but now it’s about recording them and going through that process of changing them at at the last minute,” she laughed, “but there will definitely be something new within the next six months.” – Queue our excitement!