Laura Musgrave always writes straight from the heart.
“I’d love to give you the feeling that you’re living and breathing the emotions in that song,” she affirms. “As if someone cracked your heart open and poured it into lyrics and melodies.”
Perhaps unsurprising then, that the Leicestershire (UK) singer-songwriter and producer has made confessional writing her trademark. A blend of personal lyrics with pop and pop-rock sounds, and hints of indie, folk and country. The resulting songs wouldn’t be out of place on a playlist with tracks by Sara Bareilles, Haim, Tori Amos and Carrie Underwood.
Laura’s music has been featured on regional BBC Music Introducing and BBC radio shows, alongside Women of Substance Radio and Get In Her Ears. Her single ‘How To Let Go’ was also named Track of the Week for BBC Introducing in the East Midlands.
“A lot of my songs are to do with love and relationships or overcoming challenges in life,” she explains.
Resilience has been a recurring theme in Laura’s music career. In her early teens, Laura spent as many hours studying the legal and business pitfalls of the music industry, as she did crafting lyrics and practising guitar.
She wrote, recorded and distributed her first acoustic demo EP ‘Beneath My Skin’ herself in 2002. Early influences were a mix of mainstream and independent artists. Alanis Morissette, Tori Amos, John Mayer and Fiona Apple, alongside the likes of Ani DiFranco and Darling Violetta.
“I’m still especially passionate about independent music to this day,” Laura notes. “Both as a fan and an artist”.
In 2003, she released the full length album ‘Sparking’ on Second Thought Records which became the label’s top-selling release. Following ‘Sparking’, Laura studied for a BSc Honours degree in Music Composition and Technology. She went on to perform at the Summer Sundae Festival (2004), receiving mentions from NME, Q Magazine, BBC6 and XFM (Radio X).
A few years later, battling burnout and exhaustion, Laura made the difficult decision to take time out from the music industry. Incredibly, the planned ‘short break’ ended up stretching from a few months into a full decade.
“Music really is a lifelong passion,” Laura later shared in a Musical Notes Global article. “You might put it aside for a time, but it will always find you. Sometimes in a better place than when you left it.”
By 2018, Laura felt ready to answer music’s siren call once again. This time, on her own terms, and focused on her songcraft and studio work. In her first year back, she released four new singles and gained fresh radio play, working closely with producer Becky Willard of Vox Fox Productions.
Laura learned that a lot had changed in the industry during her time away.
“It forced me to get serious about a lot of things quite quickly,” she remembers. “Studio tech, songwriting trends, the new music industry rules. Almost everything was different. It felt like being thrown in at the deep end!”
What effect did the time away have on her songwriting?
“It definitely gave me a wider palette to draw from,” she reflects. “Both in having more life experiences to write about, and chance to explore more genres and influences”.
Today, Laura counts singer-songwriters like Kacey Musgraves, Sara Bareilles, Maren Morris, Raye Zaragoza and Holly Humberstone among her influences.
“I love that feeling of listening to another songwriter’s work and thinking ‘Oh, I really wish I’d written this!” she grins.
But an even stronger motivator this time round has been her own ambition:
“There’s always the tempting potential that the next song I write could be better than the last. I feel like I’m in competition with myself to see how much closer I can get to the ‘perfect’ song. Of course, there is no such thing ‘perfect’ song, but trying to get as close as possible is great motivation.”
Laura also credits her supporters with keeping her making music:
“There’s nothing like seeing and hearing the reaction from people who listen to my music, and enjoy it. That’s so rewarding, after all the blood, sweat and tears it takes to nurture a song to release. I wish I could bottle that feeling.”
In the end, Laura’s proven committed to crafting songs that connect not only to her own stories, but those of listeners as well. Emotional relevance is key, she confirms.
“It has to be something that moves you, whether that’s emotionally, mentally, physically. Music is powerful in that way. If a song is meaningful to you, you’ll remember every note and every word for years to come.”