Catch up with singer-songwriter Laura Saggers and listen to her single "Surrender" off her upcoming album Chasing Dreams.
What got you interested in music?
Laura: I would say my first encounter was My parents had a friend who played classical piano hardcore and every time I'd go over to her house for babysitting I'd just watch the piano mesmerized by her and she was always training, training, training. I got on the piano and I was like, "I wanna try it," when I was like 3. Then one day I had a tantrum until I got my own piano. They rented a keyboard for me and my parents were like, "no, it's just going to be a stage, there's no one musical in the family, this is going to be something you're having a tantrum about" and then I wouldn't come off the piano and I wouldn't go to bed. I learned "Chopsticks" in a day and they were like, "oh, maybe this isn't a stage". So we got a piano teacher who was this crazy, Russian, ridiculously hardcore teacher who scared the bejeebies out of me but made me work really hard and I've never given up the piano since then. I started singing when I was 18, played some emo music and heavy metal and was like, "oh yeah, let's do that". Then I realized it's terrible for your voice and that I should start singing properly.
Do you remember the first song you wrote that you were happy with?
The first song? I don't remember the name of it. I remember I started writing when I was like 13/14 about some love I'm sure I had at the time I was also really into blues and jazz and I started writing a bunch of blues songs. The first song I was happy with was probably one that I wrote with a band I was in back home in England which is a very different style from what I do now, but I really enjoyed it, it was called "All I Needed". It got put onto a Playstation game and it was the first time I heard my own music being played on something else that wasn't in band practice, but actually hearing it on an actual product. It kind of confirmed that we were decent since someone else picked up the music and put it on their product.
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
It's been changing throughout the course of all my years I guess. When I was really little, it was all the Disney music because that's what I was first exposed to. My parents were really into the jazz standards like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Dean Martin, all that stuff. My dad was a huge lover of the '80s pop like George Michael, Sting, Elton John, Billy Joel. All the great piano players of that time, I would just listen to nonstop, so I have a very '80s vibe to my music which is why I like to bring in a keytar as much as possible. My mom was really into Norah Jones and Eva Cassidy and Nina Simone, so then I have a very sultry, singer-songwriter type style that gets mixed in as well.
If you had to pick one artist to call your favorite, who would that be?
I could listen to Ella Fitzgerald nonstop without complaining.
Which words would you use to describe your own sound?
Modern sultry. Some musicians will be like, "oh nothing sounds like me," and I'm like, no, there is, it's modern day, it's probably been done before [laughs]. You just need to own it and understand what it is [laughs].
What were your inspirations behind this new single "Surrender"?
I actually co-wrote it with my friend, Bill, and we were trying to come up with a concept and we had a little riff going and I wanted to create that sensation where you first meet someone and it's super innocent and you're trying to tell them you like them but you have no idea whether or not they're going to like you back and it's a little bit scary to tell them. It was trying to capture that moment where you think they like you back but it could be a massive fuck up if you expose yourself and they go, "uh, yeah, no, sorry, you're not what I was looking for". It was that intense moment where you're like, "oh God I'm going to go for it!" and then you see what happens. I wanted to create something like that that was super innocent and raw for whoever goes through that; initially, in the early/late teens you go through that moment but also for anyone where it's still new and exciting.
Could you tell us more about Chasing Dreams?
It's a mix. Most media and labels have told me that I need to stick with one sound which is fine, I understand why they need that to be able to market it, but I like telling stories and so I can't really do that - and I don't care 'cause it's me. I went through a variety and I say that the collective sound is very singer-songwriter-esque, but there's a also a quirkiness that runs through it. It basically starts with a story about when I landed in LA and my decision to come here and it talks about saying goodbye to family and everything but it's a very upbeat piece like, "yeah, let's go and do this!". Then it runs into problems you have and then meeting someone and the ultimate break-up and then finding your dreams again and going, "okay, screw this, I'm going to go do this". It's kind of a message for everyone to just don't give up on something you tell yourself that you want to go and do, because coming to this town is very easy to realize that you are a very tiny fish in a massive, massive sea of talent and it's very hard to keep motivated at times, but hopefully this album gives a little bit of support to people who just need a bit more of a boost.
Is there one song off this album you're most excited to share with your listeners?
I'd say "LA Dreams" because a) no one's heard it, I haven't showed anyone and b) it's my most uplifting and commercial pop-y one; I'm a lot more singer-songwriter in my style, but this is very much like you can imagine doing a full on Britney Spears dance to this song. I can imagine being on the beach in LA and going all out dancing, not giving a damn that anyone's watching. It's one of those songs that lets you forget about life and just have a good time, so I'm excited about that one. I do love "Chasing Dreams"; it's very raw, it's very sweet. I've always enjoyed "Summer Fling" because it tells a great story about a Summer romance; it's very much a Summery type album and I'm looking forward to people getting it and then going on vacation and listening to it and being like, "this is my vacation music".
How would you sum up Chasing Dreams in one sentence?
Fun-loving and quirky with a sense of rawness.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
I want them to walk away smiling. It should be something they can easily flow through from track to track, start to finish and feel a journey that is supposed to come off when you listen to it or just take away track from track whatever they need: there's your break-up song, your uplifting song, your power ballad song, your sad 'I wanna split my wrists' song.
Is there anything you want to add?
Just go listen to it!