I had an absolute blast performing at the 2017 NAMM show as part of the BOSS/Roland team.  I'll be posting videos as I find them of my demos, so be sure to leave a comment. Thanks!

Laura's News

Work it Out 

I have started exercising! I've never liked to exercise. When I was kid, my friends would want to run around outside. I, however, much preferred the confines of my house to the great outdoors.
Don't get me wrong, I love being out in nature. I love to camp, hike, boat and ski. I just don't typically like going outside for the sole purpose of exercising. If I'm outside and I happen to get exercise - bonus!
Why the sudden love for exercise? We recently got a Peloton. After thinking about it for a looong time, Eric took the plunge and ordered our new friend whom we named Drogon. I am loving this thing. I never thought I would. Especially since I had never taken a spin class before in my life.
So now I'm addicted, which is great! I'm 6 weeks in and can't wait to "ride my dragon" each day. I think it plays into my aforementioned desire to be safe indoors as opposed to going out in it for my exercise. Perhaps it's the craziness of the roads - I love to ride my road bike, but will only do it early in the morning when traffic isn't moving yet. Whatever it is, I'm happy to clip in and sweat out my frustrations, and I'm so dang grateful for this piece of machinery.
What do you do to keep the blood pumping? Leave a comment and let me know, and thanks for reading my post!

Keep in Touch 

My inner artist and I have an interesting relationship. Sometimes we're besties, other times mortal enemies. The relationship is never boring but it can get a bit stagnant at times.
Now is one of those times.
I don't think I've written a song in months. Maybe even a year. And this KILLS me. I feel like a piece of my body is missing when I'm not writing. Like I'm Nearly Headless Nick, wandering through the halls of Hogwarts a bit dazed and confused.
I've tried The Artists Way to no avail. Too touchy feely. I've tried journaling to kickstart the machine. No dice. I think what I'm missing is taking the time to connect to myself. Each day though, I feel like I'm putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I'm finding new ways to make time for myself - hello, Peloton! So I'm hopeful that my creativity will follow soon.
For now, I will continue to listen for my muse and will hope for the best.
What are you working on that's inspiring you? Do you have a method or process for keeping in touch with your creative self? Let me know, and thanks for reading.

Is This Thing On? 

In this day and age of so many options to communicate, it's easy to feel like no one is listening. Take this blog, for example. I keep writing these posts and I have no idea who - aside from my awesome mom - is reading it.
How do we combat this feeling of detachment in our hyper-connected world? Especially when we don't have any time to plan meaningful interactions. Do those even exist any more?
I don't have the answer, so I will continue to write this and hope someone's listening. Then maybe we can work towards hearing each other more.

Shake Things Up 

I'm prepping for a gig for the first time in a long time. It feels good, but it also feels burdensome. Why? Because I feel like I've been playing the same songs for way too long but I don't have the time to re-work my set.
But that is total bullshit.
The fact is, I DO have time. I just choose to use said time to sit on the couch and watch TV. This has been a recurring problem for me. That said, this week was particularly busy and I needed to just chill out last night.
Instead of doing my usual thing of beating myself up and ultimately not getting anything done, I've committed to learning 3 new songs for the show. Three is totally manageable.
So I'm shaking it up, but a little at a time. What are you doing to shake things up in your life? Comment below.

Planning for Some Peace 

Let's talk about balance. No, I'm not talking about a new yoga pose. I'm talking more about balance of the proverbial variety.
How do you find balance in your day to day? Do you start your day with a routine, or are you more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type? I tend to be closer to the second variety, but that's mostly because my work schedule differs from one day to the next.
This week, however, I started my days a little differently by getting the girls off to school (in cooperation with my amazing husband) and then I sat down to drink my coffee and plan my day. I recently started using a Franklin Covey Day Planner again, and it has rekindled a love for planning and daily progress check-in's.
My dad gave me my first planner in 8th grade. He was a fastidious planner who used his Franklin to keep track of every thing he did, every birthday, every contact. He used it until his handwriting started to fail him and he had to lay down the fountain pen. That was a sad day.
I continued to use my planner throughout school and all the way through college. Somehow after that though I kind of forgot how much I enjoyed that little book and the peace of mind it offered me.
Side note - yes, I know we have devices that can do all of these things better and faster. I tried that and it has failed me. There's just something about writing it down.
So I'm digging back in and setting goals. What are you aiming for today? This month? This year? Let's start thinking bigger together and see what we can come up with. I bet with a little planning, we can rule the world - or at least check all the things off of our lists.

Best By ??/??/???? 

I've noticed that I tend to get asked a certain question fairly frequently lately.
"Are you still doing music?"
Let's leave out the fact that I'm not even sure what doing music specifically entails and focus on the question. Are doctors asked if they're still "doing" medicine as they age? Probably not. Because it's a part of who they are, right? They may stop when it's time to retire, but not when they are just getting to the good stuff in life.
In the music industry, however, there seems to be some sort of implied expiration date for when we're supposed to stop. The self-doubting-still-an-insecure-teenager in me always takes this as a gentle suggestion to slowly exit stage left. Am I too old to be doing this? Should I really just fade quietly into the sunset and stop feeding my creative soul?
Hell no! I'm just getting started!
So thank you to those of you are out there listening to my music and reading my musings.
Because the best is yet to come.

When the Worry Beast Comes to Town 

I have a confession to make. I am a worrier. I worry about things. A lot. Things I can't control. Things I can. And although every ounce of my sane self says this is silly, you KNOW you can't control this, I still find myself wasting time thinking and thinking and thinking.
With all of this thinking comes exhaustion. With exhaustion, comes irritability. With irritability, comes yelling. I don't like yelling. So I take medication to help tame the worry beast and keep things running more smoothly. I'm worrying a bit right now because I just told you I take medication - whoever "you" are. In addition to medication though, I need a little more help to keep my worries at bay.
So I walk the dog. Or I call my mom. Or I do a yoga video on YouTube. Sometimes I literally tell myself it's all going to be ok, or I take a few deep breaths to get things back on track. Other times I pound on the piano or sing as loud as I can. This one helps a lot.
What worries keep you up at night or poke into your mind at the worst times? What do you do to calm the f*uck down? If you too are constantly battling invisible monsters, let me know in the comments below. It might quiet the beast for a bit if you talk about it. If nothing else, it will let this kid know she's not alone.

Addicted to Yes 

I was recently sitting on the balcony of a resort in Jamaica. It was early, and the world was quiet. It was wonderful to be able to sit and take the scene in. I was on a much needed mini vacation with my husband, and it was amazing.
The reason I'm telling you this is not to make you hate me for being in Jamaica. I'm telling you this because this mini-vacay and my recent milestone birthday triggered a bit of a self-reflective period for me. What am I doing with my life? Am I making an impact? Am I staying true to my artist self, mommy self and career self?
The answer is a resounding sort of.
And that’s ok. As I get older, I’m learning to be a little kinder to myself. It's literally impossible to excel at all of the things I'm trying to accomplish, so now I'm trying to figure out what I can do well, and then start to let go of the things that are taking away valuable time. This is easier said that done for me though since I say yes to everything.
Learning to say no when we live in a world of 'yes' can be tricky, but why are we saying yes to all of these things? I truly enjoy all of the things I commit myself to, but for some reason I don't have that voice in my head telling me to say no to things I know I won't have time for. Anyone else suffer from this same affliction?
So, fellow "yes-ers" unite! Let's help each other recognize when we've taken on too many things and offer reassurance that the world won't end because you didn't raise your hand for the decorating committee, sign up to be the class mom or take on 14 unpaid gigs.
Let's take a deep breath and start taking stock of what really matters. Who's with me?

Finding Creative Freedom Through Letting Go 

If you’ve been writing songs for a little while then chances are you probably have a method, whether loose or rigid, that you employ when tackling a new tune. Perhaps you start with the melody, or maybe you’re a work-from-the-hook kind of person. Or maybe, if you’re like me, the muse strikes differently every time.
The good news is that whatever tools you employ are all correct, because the truth is there’s no one way to write a song. I learned this from writing songs with children.
When I first walked into the second grade classroom at The Goodwin School as an invited speaker for their reading week, I thought I would talk to the kids a bit about how I write songs and maybe play an original or two. After about 2 minutes in the room though I could see I was going to lose them if I went this route, so I quickly switched gears and decided to write a song with a group of 30 eight year olds on the spot instead. No pressure.
“Let’s write a song today!” I said. “What should we write about?” At first, they looked at me and each other with hesitation. Then one boy raised his hand and said, “Let’s write about our school!” and it took off from there.
The ideas started flying out. “Mine Craft!” said one. “Zombies!” said another. “M&M’s and tacos!” “Narwhals!” They were so excited to be able to be silly and not have to think about what they wanted to say. After I had a page full of ideas, I asked them if they wanted the song to be happy or sad. They all answered happy, so we went from there. In less than 20 minutes, we had a song with 2 verses and a chorus about The Goodwin School, all made from their brainstorming.
The kids were thrilled. I was thrilled. It was so exciting to make something from nothing and not care about the commercial potential or whether or not this song would sell. This was songwriting at its purest, and I felt like I had when I first started writing songs – I felt free!
After successfully doing this process again with elementary students, I was asked by a friend to give a songwriting workshop at his high school’s regional writing conference. I approached it from a similar mindset as the elementary sessions, but this time I broke the students into small groups after the initial brainstorm session to allow them to write the songs. The results were simply stunning.
Not only did each team successfully create at least a verse and chorus, some of them wrote a full song – in 30 minutes! The looks on their faces were priceless. They were happy, proud and excited to share their songs with the larger conference in a full auditorium of their peers, and all I did was tell them that anyone can write a song because there aren’t any rules when it comes to songwriting. They used that creative freedom to let down their guard and make some truly beautiful music.
As writers, we are our own worst critic. The lyric isn’t strong enough, the hook isn’t catchy, the melody isn’t original. What if we stop for a moment and realize that what we're doing is pretty freaking incredible? We are putting our thoughts and feelings into song form. That, in an of itself is something worth celebrating.
So make great music. Make horrible music. Just make music and stop waiting for it to be perfect. You just might be pleasantly surprised with what comes out. The worst case scenario is that you will have brought more music into the world. So get to it!

Take it for a Test Drive 

I spoke with someone today who told me they are just learning how to play the guitar. They said that they planned to keep at it for the next two months, and that if they could play an F barre chord at the end of the test period without it hurting, they would buy a better guitar.
I asked him what type of guitar he plays. He said an acoustic. I asked him what model. He said, "I don't know. It's just a cheap guitar I picked up to start learning on." He said he didn't want to buy anything "too serious" until he knew he was going to keep at it.
This logic seems sound enough. Why spend money on an instrument until you know you're going to play it regularly? Here's why: if you don't feel moved by the instrument - if it doesn't feel right in your arms, make your heart skip a beat or bring you some sort of happiness just by holding it, then you probably won't stick with it.
Now, I'm not saying that you need to go out and spend all kinds of money on an expensive guitar. You could find a $50 guitar that makes you weak in the knees. What I am saying is that if you are going to begin the journey of learning to play an instrument, you need to go into a store that sells instruments - yes, they still exist - and try some out. You wouldn't buy a car without going for a test drive, would you?
Even if you haven't played a lick in your life, you need to sit with the instrument you're theoretically going to be cradling against your body for the next little while and see if it feels right. Is it too large for your frame? Too small? Is the fret board too raised? What about the neck, is it too wide to hold comfortably?
So go on. Get behind the wheel and see how she drives. You never know what will feel right, but I guarantee you'll have a much more successful outcome if you simply try before you buy.