Explore Issue 01 of LOOP Magazine

Featuring Sam Tompkins and Victor Ray as our cover stars, as well as internal spreads from Girli, Jords, Mysie, Finn Askew, Kara Marni and Master Peace

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Spotlight | Laurel Smith

“I never liked being taught music, I hated the theory lessons I used to take and my teacher who told me I would never make it anywhere in music”

Do you like yourself a bit of moody Alt-Pop with a cinematic flair and dark and edgy narrative? Then look no further than North-London-based singer-songwriter Laurel Smith!

Taking influence from the likes of Charlie XCX, Lana Del Rey, and The Weekend, as well as drawing comparisons to the likes of Billie Eilish, Smith’s sound is a fresh take on the gloomy style of electro-pop that has dominated the charts in recent years. Blending deep trap and hip hop beats with smooth R&B melodies produce an invigorating and exciting brand of pop for the new decade.

Her music is designed to turn heads, with very intentionally provocative themes laced into the intricately crafted characters and storylines that feature in her almost screenwriting-like lyrical style.

“I write very visually, so I often see the scenes and moments I’m writing about in my head like a short movie.”

Smith’s latest offering ‘Out The Cage’ is a perfect example of what she is all about as an artist. A surreal tale of a bored housewife that fantasies of an alternative life as an assassin, to a hazy bass-driven electro-pop soundtrack. A mythically melancholy piece of pop magic from the rising star.

Discussing the origins of the song, Laurel said:

“’Out The Cage’ is a song about breaking out from your constraints, both physical and mental. Although it can be interpreted in any way, when I wrote it I created a story around a bored housewife, falling out of love with her husband, she fantasises about tying him up and leaving him to be a badass assassin in a video game type world, roaming the city at night and living a life of unpredictability and excitement”

Keeping with the cinematic themes of her music, the single was accompanied by a visually stunning music video, that is more like an indie short, projecting Japanese Samurai and Anime vibes and depicting scenes that wouldn’t look out of place in a Kill Bill reboot or the next season of The Umbrella Academy. Check it out here!

Check out what else Laurel Smith had to say when we had a chat earlier this week below:

Tell us a bit about your story and how you came to be a songwriter.

I started out writing these poems in a notebook when I was little (about 7 or 8) then gradually they developed into song lyrics as I began messing around on the piano. I never liked being taught music, I hated the theory lessons I used to take. My teacher told me I would never make it anywhere in music because I didn’t learn the circle of fifths or enjoy singing hymns. I found my sound by messing around on my own and listening to a lot of CDs.

How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it before?

My music is a mix of Dark Pop, Alternative, Hip Hop, and RnB. I like creating worlds and characters, each song has its own storyline, but almost always has a dark undertone.

Who inspires you musically and creatively?

Charli XCX is a big inspiration for me, coming from the UK and making it big on a global scale is something I aspire to do, I heavily respect the work she has put in and her resilience. I’m also inspired by a lot of Hip Hop, I love its energy and aggression.

What is your creative process like?

I don’t really have one specific method I always stick to, but I’m often inspired by movies and tv shows. I have to be in the right headspace and vibe to make a track. My best songs are the ones I have written the quickest, it’s important not to overthink in songwriting. I write very visually, so I often see the scenes and moments I’m writing about in my head like a short movie.

You recently released your latest single ‘Out The Cage’, tell us a bit about the project and how it came to be?

Out The Cage is a song about breaking out of your constraints. I think it’s especially relevant right now during COVID, people are sick of isolation and containment and are craving some kind of release. When I wrote the song, it was originally about a bored housewife who falls out of love with her life and fantasises about running away and becoming an assassin.

The music video that accompanies the release of ‘Out The Cage’ is quite the cinematic experience. Can you tell us a bit about the themes behind the video?

The video is focused around two girls and a mystery mission they are given. The main girl (me) is put through a series of tests to transform her and initiate her into the group. To me, this could represent how we must test and push ourselves to the limit to keep growing and changing.

Who would you most like to collaborate with?

In the UK, I’d love to work with Charli XCX, I feel like I would learn so much from her, and in general, she’s just a badass haha. Globally I would definitely choose The Weeknd as he’s been a favourite for many years.

If you could support any artist, dead or alive, who would it be?

Definitely The Weeknd.

For the people reading this that haven’t heard your music before, why should they check you out?

If you want music to take you to a different world for a few minutes then have a listen.

What can we expect from Laurel Smith in 2021?

A lot more collabs and a shift to more Hip Hop sounding music.

What is the most useless talent that you have?

I can count to ten in Japanese, which is a) useless because I live in the Uk and b) useless because even if I went to Japan it’s still not very impressive and wouldn’t be helpful.

Do you sing in the shower? What songs?

I’m not sure if I qualify to answer this question as I only have a bath at home. I know, weird, I wish I had a shower. It’s a nice bath though”…

What is the best advice you have ever been given?

In a Jim Carrey interview, I once watched he said his dad told him “Better to fail at what you love than what you hate” which I remind myself of when the fear hits me that I’m “putting all my eggs in one basket”. The saying basically means that even if you go for the “Safe” option of a normal, reliable job, you could still fail at that which is worse than trying to do what you really love and not being successful.

Words by Darren Hay

Posted On 3 October, 2022