It All Works

Dear Friends,

I don’t know what happened.  One minute I was posting little love letters to you and the next minute I drop you like a hot potato.  It’s been 13 months since my last confession!

No worries, I’m still alive.  In fact, I’m writing and brainstorming the next recording.  Circle in a Square was a marvelous ride and still is.  My live program has evolved to presenting this set of music plus old favorites from my prior two recordings, Avalon and Hardly Blinking.  It all works beautifully together, even adding my mini rock opera, I Saw Love Today, found a right disruptive and refreshing spot in the set.  It starts out as a lovely bossa nova and quickly morphs into a rollicking gospel revival.  It’s just my way, I can’t leave well enough alone, I meddle and tinker.  That’s what artists do.  And then to top things off, I’ve been truly enjoying sprinkling in a handful of my favorite standards.  It works, it all works.  Maybe not for the conventionalist or purist, but it works for the music lover, the explorer.  Lauren, the explorer.  Picture my backpack on my back, it’s heavy.

2015 brought lots of new opportunities to play, teach and grow.  I took on an adjunct faculty position at LIU Post to work with their jazz vocal students.  It’s been a pleasure getting to know these future vocalists and educators.  And since moving back to NYC, I’ve joined the New School, working with their creative roster of students moving forward the jazz morph-machine.  I love being around these young people, they are asking the questions that all of us grown ups need to practice more often.  They wonder who they are and what kind of unique stamp they can make in the music world.  They don’t ask how to stay the same, but how to take what they’ve learned about the legacies that have come before and what to do with all this knowledge in today’s day and age.  That in and of itself is exciting stuff!!!  I like being around that energy.  Not only does it make me more honest about my curious process, but it helps me understand what it takes to be young and foolish all over again.  Remember those days (grown ups)?  Remember that willful exuberance to create and misbehave all at the same time.  That’s when music is at it’s ripest.  Oooh, the juice is just dripping from the peach.  Learning how to encourage risk taking with my students is a joy.  For those that it doesn’t come easily, I give creative exercises.  For those that need reeling in and structural concepts, I show the beauty of the edit button.  It’s all about culling and crafting.  But first, the bounty must sprawl across the table.  So that’s what I’m proposing for winter semester 2016, sprawl and craft, a new micro brew from me to you.

And since I’m talking about practicing what I preach, I too am riffing and searching.  The original songs are taking shape.  The journey will be different than the CDs that have come before.  I’m returning to my roots of singing the standards.  The ones that I have waited for to speak to me and let me know when it’s time for yet another vocalist to sing those words and melodies.  You see, when I was 21 and headed off to Berklee, I purposely focused on original compositions, because I was so in love with the singers of the past that had made the standards shine, I wanted to wait for my own authentic ideas and concepts to merge at the right time for me to present them.  Of course, I sing standards with New York Voices and over the years in my solo shows, but it’s a big responsibility to present them and I don’t take it lightly.  So I’m digging in and it feels like the right time.

I will keep you abreast of the progress of this project.  I promise to stay in touch more often.  No one line postcards from Cancun will do 13 months from now.

In your life’s journeys, I wish you boat loads of curiosity and the creative will to act upon them.  You don’t know where your ideas will take you if you keep them to yourself.  It All Works.

With Gratitude,

Lauren

My Painted Lady Butterfly - work in progress