Nominated for "Best Pop Artist of the Year", "Best Rock Artist of the Year" and "Best Album of the Year" for her solo album "Real" by All Indie Music Awards 2012, Laura Vall is an indie pop artist from Barcelona, Spain based in Los Angeles, CA with more than 10 years of experience as a singer and songwriter. Vall’s lyrical, warm, soulful and hypnotic voice has brought her to work with several renowned artists like Stevie Wonder, Rhonda Smith and Michael Bland and with Grammy winning producers like Jeff Weber and Michael Clark.
Despite that Laura Vall’s first solo album "Real" was released only a few months ago, it has already received critical acclaimed reviews, describing it as "stunning", "off the hook", "Rich songs with powerful lyrics and musical serenity", "refreshing change from the overproduced pop" and "unique, powerfully emotional, honest and ethereal"... Check out Laura Vall here.
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Whotune Jeff: Thanks for taking time out of your schedule to sit down with me, Laura. After Listening to your debut CD “Real”, I can see what the buzz is about! We are excited to have you as the Whotune Artist of the Month!
Let’s start at the beginning, how did an artist from Barcelona Spain, end up in LA? Laura: I came here because I wanted to explore how was the music world outside Spain and I couldn't think of a better place to go than LA. First I started studying and quickly I made friends and connections that have helped me to grow as a musician and as an artist so I decided to stay here and keep on working on my career.
Whotune Jeff: How did growing up aboard influence your songwriting? Laura: Although I've always listened to American and English music and my biggest musical influences are English speaking artists, I've only been in LA for 5 years so I think my biggest influences for me as a person and songwriter come from Spain. There there's a different way of seeing the world and living life, a different way of saying what you think, many times more bold and direct to the point than here in LA. I think the way I was raised and the culture of my homeland really shaped me as a person and therefore affects my style of songwriting, specially because I write about what I feel, my fears, opinions and personal experiences.
Whotune Jeff: Who are some of the artists that influenced you and your decision to become artist yourself? Laura: Jeff Buckley, Fiona Apple, Radiohead, PJ Harvey, Beck, Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis... All of them great artists, great men and women with strong personalities and strong opinions, artists that weren't afraid to take chances and be how they wanted to be and do what they wanted to do with their careers. That's who I try to be as an artist as well.
Whotune Jeff: The debut CD was released recently, but it has already been well received by the music press and is nominated in several categories by the All Indie Music Awards, tell me about work that brought you to this stage. Laura: It's been a journey... Lots of hours invested and tons of work trying to get our music heard for as many people as I can. But it's time well invested because we can see how it's helping us to grow slowly but sturdy.
Whotune Jeff: How long have you been working towards this CD? Laura: About 2 years between the songwriting, recording, producing, mixing, mastering and making it available for the public. In the beginning it took some time to find the right direction, the right sound, the right people to work with... but now we know what we want so hopefully it's going to take less time next time! :)
Whotune Jeff: What was your experience like the first time in the studio? Laura: I've recorded in studios many times before recording this album but the truth is it never was as important for me than when we recorded this album. This was my first solo project, exactly who I am and what I wanted to do. I recorded with other projects of mine before but they were always bands and I never felt it was really 100% me. So this time around was very special, I felt extremely happy and fortunate to be able to do what I want with who I want to do it with and feeling that the people I was working with were as excited as I was. It was a magical feeling, I could feel an energy in the air that I've never felt before. Best feeling ever! :)
Whotune Jeff: The recording sounds amazing, where did you record? Laura: In many different places... From friend's professional studios that let us use it for a day, to recording schools, to home studios, to closets... in LA and even in Paris! We used what was available for us at the time and made it work. That's the fun part of being a DIY artist, you have to get creative and work with what you have!
Whotune Jeff: Did you work with a producer or was this a DIY project? Laura: This album was co-produced by Mehdi Hassine (great sound engineer and producer), Thomas Hjorth (guitar player, bass player, producer and songwriter) and me. All of us took care of all the aspects of the recording, editing, production and mixing. Many times Mehdi was the engineer at the studio and the 3 of us where on the production decisions, other times Thomas recorded the guitars at his home and I was with him to give directions, sometimes we did the editing the 3 of us together and sometimes I did it by myself and then run it through them when I was done. Same thing with the mixing. We had Marc Jameson as the mixing engineer but Thomas and I were there with him all the time giving him direction and Mehdi would give his opinion when we thought it was good enough and we made changes or not... So I would say this was a DIY project because we learned how to do everything ourselves and figured out how to do it with a very very tight budget.
Whotune Jeff: Were there any surprises during the process of making the CD? Laura: Many. As I said before we had to figure out how to do it all. I haven't worked on a project like this before so I was learning as we went.
Whotune Jeff: Of all the songs on the CD, what is your favorite and why? Laura: It's very hard to say because I wrote them all and it feels a bit like asking a mum which one of her children she loves the most... So I'm gonna name three. "Little Star" is very special for me because I wrote it for a good friend of mine that passed away so it brings back many feelings and memories. "Real" is the first song Thomas and I wrote together and I believe is one of the best of the album and I always get a rush when we perform it live. "Love, Don't Leave Me Tonight" is maybe one of my favorites, that bridge always makes me travel somewhere else...
Whotune Jeff: you have a video for “REAL, it looks fantastic and is well done. tell me about it. Laura: Thanks! Thomas (the guitar player, co-writer of some of the songs and co-producer of the album) is also the one who takes the photos, does the artwork and makes the music videos. Him and me had the idea for the video and asked a model friend of ours if she would like to be in it, an amazing hair stylist and makeup artist and also a great friend if she wanted to help us out and she brought in a great stylist as well. So we did it the five of us in 2 days, one day we went to Salton Sea to record the desert parts of the video and the other day we recorded the apartment shots at our drummer's house in Echo Park. Thomas did all the editing while he was learning how to use Final Cut. Again, another example of having to get creative and learn as you go! :)
Whotune Jeff: If there is one thing you could change about your career so far, what would it be? Laura: I would be less shy and more aggressive. I'm learning to just go for it and don't be afraid of be upfront but I haven't always been like that... And I still have a long way to go... I've always fought for what I wanted but I feel that many times I didn't take full advantage of the situations because I was shy and wasn't aggressive enough. I learned here that if you want something you have to be direct and ask, if you don't do it because you are scared of a "no", you already got a "no" for an answer.
Whotune Jeff: What's the one thing you want people to know about Laura Vall? Laura:I would love for them to get to know me by listening to my music and soak it in. See what it makes them feel.
Whotune Jeff: what do you miss, if anything, about Barcelona? Laura: I miss a lot of things. The people, the streets, the culture, the language, the food!! And of course my family and friends. It's a wonderful city and I go there as much as I can. Although now I want to be in LA because I feel it's better for my career, I always miss my hometown.
Whotune Jeff: What is your favorite thing about LA? Laura: Many things. I love that LA is one of the entertainment capitals of the world and therefore there's lots of opportunities, some of the best musicians and the biggest music industry people and companies of the world. I also love the chilled LA vibe and the weather.
Whotune Jeff: What’s next for Laura Vall? More recording? Touring? Are there any upcoming shows we can promote? Laura: There are many projects in the works! The most important of them is that very soon "Laura Vall" is going to be "The Controversy". We've decided to do the name change for the new year and the upcoming releases because, what started as a solo artist project evolved into a partnership between Thomas Hjorth and me. Now we write and produce everything together and it's been like that for a while, so it didn't make sense anymore for the band to be under my name only. We are finishing up 2 new songs that we are planning to release next month as "The Controversy" and we are working on a new music video. We also have a show coming up on Jan 21st at MOMAI (the new Revival) in Venice, CA and more shows coming up in February and March.
Whotune Jeff: Thanks for being part of the Whotune community and we wish you all the best! Laura: Thank you very much for helping us get our music heard! :)
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