Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Lauren Calve, who discusses her origin in music, goals for the future and new EP, “Wildfire.”
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Lauren Calve: I started playing guitar when I was 15 and I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember, but I didn’t get involved in music– songwriting and performing– until I was 24. It all began at a local open mic at the now defunct IOTA Club & Cafe in Arlington, VA where I not only played my first original songs, but where I met other singer-songwriters. This open mic was the catalyst for discovering my voice and passion for songwriting and performing.
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Calve: For me, the creative process of songwriting is a solitary act. It usually starts with a chord progression or guitar riff to which I apply a melody and structure. The lyrics are the last element. Writing lyrics can be an arduous process, but sometimes the words come out all at once. As a result, I try to be as open and ready for when inspiration strikes, whether by recording voice memos or writing notes on my phone.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Calve: At the heart of songwriting is storytelling. I love a good story. I’m inspired by the stories derived from the lives of my family, moments in history, and from the experiences of my own life. Through these stories, I try and find deeper layers of meaning and universal themes that hopefully result in a greater connection to my music.
Review Fix: What does music mean to you?
Calve: For me, music is about connection. Music connects us to each other and to ourselves. I also see music and songwriting as a way to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. I believe that creativity is derived from a Higher Power which requires the artist to have an open heart and mind. It’s all about keep that spiritual channel open.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Calve: My sound falls under the Americana umbrella: a little country, blues, and folk. While I like to base my songwriting in American roots music traditions, I also like to experiment with unique arrangements and chord progressions. Someone who I used to play with labeled my style “Americana with a twist”. I think that sums it up well.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Calve: Being in the studio engages more of the left side of my brain: organization, time and task management, and precision. Performing live allows me to be more spontaneous and creative. For instance, I like to rearrange songs I’ve recorded specifically for a live setting. I’ve added alternate endings or extended bridges to create more of a build and an emotional moment. Things like that not only keep songs I’ve written years ago fresh, they also hopefully give the audience an unexpected listening experience.
Review Fix: What inspired your latest single?
Calve: I wrote “Better Angels” after listening to a radio interview with Jon Meacham where he referenced Lincoln’s inaugural address on the eve of the Civil War as inspiration for one of his books. In the address, Lincoln refers to the “better angels of our nature” that would once again unite the country. I couldn’t help but apply these words to the current divisiveness in our country. The words gave me an optimism for the future and for humanity’s inherent goodness. It was from that renewed hope that I wrote “Better Angels.”
Review Fix: What are your goals for 2020?
Calve: My main goal for 2020 is to take more risks. Taking risks runs counter to who I am. I’m a very cautious, calculating, and anxious person; I overthink everything! But now I realize that to have the career in music I want, I have to take more risks. And I’m already doing so and the world hasn’t stopped (yet)!
Review Fix: What’s next?
Calve: I’m really looking forward to playing a live streaming show on May 15 as part of a concert series produced by one of the great Washington DC venues, Sixth and I. After that comes the release of my third EP, Wildfire, on June 23, 2020. And in late Summer I’m so excited to be supporting Bob Schneider on tour, of course considering that live music venues will be open by then– fingers crossed!