Songtrust Spotlight: Lauren Sanderson

LAUREN SANDERSON, an LA-via-Indiana singer/songwriter, made a big statement in 2020 with her debut full-length, "Midwest Kids Can Make It Big," brimming with the same wide-eyed wonder, confessional storytelling, and genre-fluid flair that launched her onto tours with the likes of FINNEAS and Chase Atlantic. While the album’s title served as a mission statement for the rising star’s small-town-big-dreams mindset, “QUEEN BEE” is the sound of her kicking down the door to unapologetically announce her new era – and a new level in her career. Her first single “Hi.” immediately won over fans and anyone listening in early 2021, blending pop, alternative hip-hop, and R&B into what Substream called an “utterly phenomenal” “pure hit.“

“I want people to hear these songs, watch these videos, and think - I can be that. I can get tattoos, I can embrace my sexuality, I can say what I truly feel and be whoever I want to be,” Sanderson says about her upcoming EP. “Every piece of this is exactly how I really meant it: sonically, visually, lyrically -- it’s all raw, real and I know the world is going to feel it.”

Steering clear of the traditional label system, Lauren is coming into 2021 completely independent and direct-to-fans once again. Sanderson has built a cult following thanks to her relentless DIY work ethic, go-getter attitude, and electric persona. Cut with the same charisma that created die-hard supporters who show up for her shows 12 hours early and get tattoos with her lyrics on them. Sanderson has been inspiring people since she started putting her songs on Soundcloud and even did a TED Talk at the age of 19. These accolades are enviable, but they don’t totally represent success for Sanderson. She wants to carry the same positive, uplifting energy no matter what happens in her career - and always remind anyone listening to be exactly who they are.

“I see myself as a channel,” Sanderson declares. “When people feel my energy, or hear my lyrics, I want them to feel empowered and use that inspiration to create the life they want to live. To see someone who came from self-belief, and know they can do the exact same for themselves. That’s all I really want.”

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What or who inspired you to get into music? 

It started with having a lot of shit to get off my chest -- things I was feeling, things I noticed, emotions I didn’t know how to talk about yet. I’ve always loved music. Mac Miller kind of was the reason I started making raps to begin with though.

How would you describe your style of music and performance? How would you describe your philosophy and style as an artist?

It’s all about the energy. It’s open, bold, it’s in your face but it’s also gentle and kind. It's like I understand what you’ve been through and we’re all in this shit together, but also let’s not let the world make us soft and insecure about who we are. I can’t be boxed in. 

What drives you to create, and how do you define success for yourself in music?

I just want to keep evolving in real life and be able to portray that to the world - that it’s okay to change and grow and be wrong and get better. At the end of the day, we’re all human and we shouldn’t feel so boxed in to make others comfortable. You gotta let yourself be free. And as long as I'm doing that the best I can, then I'm successful.

Sometimes being in this business can be really overwhelming. Do you have any tips for maintaining perspective and not sweating the small stuff?

It’s good to be hard on yourself sometimes, to push yourself to be the greatest you can be. But it can start becoming negative if you overthink in circles about what others are going to think, how you’ll explain yourself, etc. Deep down I think all creatives just want to be understood but it’s important to know it’s okay when you’re not. Trust the right fans and your audience will come to you when you are being authentic with yourself. 

How much creative freedom do you have when working with producers, co-writers, and mixing engineers? How do you know if a collaborator is a good fit for that?

I have complete creative freedom in my art :) That’s part of why I love being fully independent. There’s nobody to double-check with or get constant feedback, it’s just whatever you want and like. 

What advice do you have for up-and-coming artists?

Don’t worry about how you will be perceived. Especially not at first. Be as bold and as different as you can be to make your unique mark on people.

What's next for you? Any upcoming projects or plans for 2021?

Lots of music, lots of shows and I’m manifesting touring internationally!! fingers crossed ahh

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