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Taking Life’s Inspiration and Turning It into Great Music

Apr 20, 2017 04:00PM ● By Nicole Gould
From contemporary folk to the swinging tempo of jazz, singer-songwriter Laura Baron produces heartfelt and feel good music, stimulating listeners with her unique sound.

Baron has taken her life journey and portrayed it through her music. In 2011, Baron adopted a little girl from an orphanage in New Delhi, India, which lent tremendous influence to her latest album, Heart of the Great Unknown.

Speaking of influence, Baron has become an avid advocate for Domestic Violence Awareness and prevention, which can be witnessed in her single, “A Little Note.” The video exemplifies the journey of a women’s escape from an abusive relationship, which ultimately captured a 2014 Wammie for Song of the Year by the Washington Area Music Association. Baron raised $6,000 in order to produce the video through her Indiegogo Campaign.

The Maryland native also took home a Wammie for Contemporary Folk Recording for Heart of the Great Unknown and Contemporary Folk Vocalist.

“It was a surprise and I guess it just showed me you don’t have to be famous to have a song break through and we see that through social media. There are unknown songs out there for all to hear. Somehow this song started making the rounds and that’s pretty cool.” – Laura Baron

Head over to the Stoltz Listening Room for a Carole King-inspired evening with Laura Baron Friday, April 28th, 8 p.m. Accompanying Baron will be Pat Quinn on bass and Dave Ylvisaker on piano. Enjoy an evening filled with Barons award-winning music and some of Carole King’s greatest hits! Tickets are $25.

 

Let’s talk about where it all began. Was music something you always wanted to pursue as a career? Is there anyone in particular you listened to for inspiration?

I came from the days of Joni Mitchell, very first inspiration. As well Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. I started out loving contemporary acoustic folk and jazz. I always sang as a little girl. When I was a teen, I would sing at coffee houses and write my owns songs. I studied a bunch, strictly voice. I started out after all the wedding bands and did a lot of children’s music. I created a company with another woman called Golden Glow Music. We had five records for young children, recorded, and performed all over the area. Some of the main titles were “Good Morning Sunshine” and “Nighty Night.” After that stopped, I did a lot of music teaching for private schools and decided to move out on my own and do my own music. I recorded three records for adults and am currently working on my fourth. I sang in a big band for some time, always loved jazz. I really blend my love of acoustic sounds, blues, and jazz in what I do and my recording runs a spectrum from various introspected, heartfelt, lets sit down and be quiet to let’s swing and do our jazz and go down deep into the blues, and really feel it. I like all the different colors and moods of music. I try to let my writing and performing reflect on that.

I’ve see that you’ve taken interest in supporting Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention. Can you tell me a little more about that, what got you started, and how that’s influenced your music?

A couple years ago, when I released Heart of the Great Unknown, “Little Note,” is a story about a woman who escapes a domestic abuse relationship. I was really fortunate to win a Wammie for song of the year and for the album. It was kind of amazing that people really resonated to that song so well. I thought to myself that maybe I needed to do something a little more with this song because it really had an important message to get out. A videographer approached me and wanted to do a video. I thought if there was ever a story I’d like to get out there to support women or people who have been abused, it would be this song. I did an Indiegogo Campaign to raise funds, and while doing it, I met this amazing actress Flo Anito, who stars in the music video. I learned a lot about domestic violence. It’s very common, it’s awful, and I decide to try to use my video to spread awareness and help any way I can.

The song received the 2014 Wammie Award for song of the year. What was that experience like? Did you ever expect that song to reach the level of success/recognition that it has?

I felt like maybe the album would win because I knew I was nominated and fairly well-known. I felt proud of the album as a whole and figured I had a good chance. But, when I won the song of the year, I was shocked and when I was nominated for it, I was like, wow that’s so cool, people know it. I tied with another well-known artist, but that doesn’t matter. I’m still considered a winner of it. It was a surprise and I guess it just showed me you don’t have to be famous to have a song break through and we see that through social media. There are unknown songs out there for all to hear. Somehow this song started making the rounds and that’s pretty cool.

Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the song, “Heart of the Great Unknown,” which ultimately led to a 12-track album? I know you adopted a little girl from India. What inspired you to make this decision?

The title track was written for my daughter who we adopted from India five years ago. It has a very Indian flare to it with wooden flutes. It’s about my journey to adopting this little girl. That thread runs through that record and through my life. I want to use my music to help build awareness. I’m really passionate about helping children who need homes. I always wanted a little girl. I have a son that’s a freshman in college. It was certainly a journey. She’s a beautiful joy in our lives. We are currently creating a connection with Magic Bus, which brings education to remote village in India.

 

The album has a jazzy/ethnic rhythm to it. What pushed you into that musical style? Is there any particular reason you decided to record the entire album with acoustic sound?

I love jazz and I love contemporary folk. I write very much that way. Right now, I’ve been getting into more pop. When I wrote Heart of the Great Unknown, it was basically my producer who said we could get a real tabla player. He knew a spectacular world class player in Virginia. As soon as he came in, it started coming together. There’s magic to music. I never had an ethnic world dimension to my music before. It felt really good to combine that with what I already do. People who hear the record will hear very sensitive songs, lot of bossa nova. I love that Latin rhythm. I like the combination of all the sounds. For me, one genre is not big enough for what I’m trying to communicate. To me, music is all based on emotions. It’s about what you feel as an artist, what you’re trying to communicate with your audience, and the different styles help bring forth those different emotions, laid back passion of jazz, and the heartfelt feeling of acoustic stylings. For me as an artist, I really need both of them.

Throughout the years, what has been your most memorable/favorite moment as a performer and why? Favorite venue to perform at?

I think that the most special moments for me are usually in a more intimate venue. The Stoltz Listening Room is not that small. Last time when I did it, there was about 50–60 people and it felt like a full house, but intimate at the same time. It’s almost like time stops and we’re almost connecting with each other. Their enjoying it and being in the moment with me, I feel like the music is pouring through me.

What can fans expect to see from you in the future? Do you think we could see another album from you anytime soon?

This album is going to have a lot more pop sounds on it. I’m focusing on getting ready to license my music for TV, film, and commercials. I’ve been studying and learning how to do that. I’m also trying to write songs that have more of a current flair to them. I’m listening a lot of pop music. It’s going to be more a fun rockin album than before. Fans can be ready for some partying feelings. I think at this time, one of the things I’m doing is listening a lot more to what’s current and other times more so listening to my kind of music. Now I’m listening to all kinds of musical styles and trying to incorporate them and branch out. They can expect my usual songs filled with heart and passion, but a little more toe tapping and party energy as well.