Acousticult is speaking with Lauren Pratt this morning, singer-songwriter currently based out of Boston. Lauren, tell us a bit about who you are, what you do and where you’re located.
I’m an Americana Folk Singer-songwriter living in Boston, currently in my final year of a Masters program at Lesley University studying the effects of Expressive art therapy in the Mental health field.
Acousticult: Tell us a little bit about your beginnings. Your origin story, so to speak. How did you get into music, and what made you choose this path over others?
I was always musically and poetically inclined as a child so songwriting came naturally to me. When I picked up my first guitar at 13, I wrote sincerely, from the heart, and without judgment about a serious issue in my life. When I played it for a live audience (a room of about 250 middle schoolers at the summer camp talent show) I knew there was something to it. My peers came up to me all week after that, saying how they related to what I wrote and how they cried when I sang it. It was a lot of information for a young teenage girl to absorb, but I took it to heart and kept writing honestly. I studied classical voice in college because I felt if I knew the rules I would know better how to break them. Now I am focusing on the thing that drew me to perform in the first place: empathetic connection
Acousticult: What are your favorite 5 albums, and do they influence your work? If so, in what ways?
- Strange Trails – Lord Huron: it’s the perfect pairing to a midnight drive through a desert lit by the light of a full moon. It’s a few different perspectives on the same storyline and if I like anything, it’s multiple perspectives.
- James Taylor – Greatest Hits: This was my lullaby album as a child. I remember crying myself to sleep sometimes because of the sweet melancholy of Taylor’s nostalgia. I didn’t have a name for it at the time, but that’s the beauty of soul expression: you don’t need a name for it.
- Jimmy Buffet – Fruitcakes: Wearing a flamingo shirt and singing with thousands of Parrot heads in Fenway? Yes, please. This album is the daytime of my childhood to James Taylor’s nighttime. It’s all my best memories of growing up in Florida written by one of the wittiest songwriters alive.
- Lizzo – Cuz I Love You: I am easily swayed to the current pop trends and I’m not ashamed. Lizzo is a fierce, irreverent genius and whips faster than Indiana Jones. She’s on my heavy rotation right now, especially when I need to drive through Boston and deal with the drivers here.
- John Coltrane – Ballads: Nothing helps me study or lounge about the house in a robe more than Coltrane’s collection of instrumental ballads. It’s like a conversation I’m overhearing from a velvet-curtained room.
Acousticult: Which part of your music career do you enjoy the most – live performance, recording, writing, etc.?
I enjoy performing the most unless I’m in a manic writing mode, then it’s writing. Recording stresses me out because I am a perfectionist and endlessly judging myself. Even while performing, I’ve got a background process running in my mind about what the person three rows back who has a furrowed brow is thinking of my performance. That’s tied into perfectionism, too. I dislike all of the administrative requirements of being an independent musician – the emails, booking venues, negotiating pay, constantly perusing social media, everything leading up to a show. I only like writing and the moment I step on the stage. That’s where my love lives. Billboard.com premiered my newest album, Young American Sycamore, ahead of its release on Friday, September 13th.
Acousticult: What are three musicians today do you think are underrated?
I don’t know if I know of any musicians that are underrated, so I’m going to go with underappreciated or unknown instead. Alice Howe – one of the only artists I’ve seen live who has made me cry; Boston-based and just released her first album. Connie Converse – she has a sad story (also, she’s dead) but her producer’s 1950’s livingroom recording of her demo tape, about 10 years prior to her disappearance. She was one of the earliest on the folk music revival scene. Jacob Tovar & The Saddle Tramps – In a similar fashion to Lord Huron’s Strange Trails sound, this Oklahoma boy perfects the classically polished honky-tonk country sound and it is everything. Go listen now.
Acousticult: Tell us a little bit about your current rig – what does your “rig” consist of?
Currently playing my newest guitar family addition – a Breedlove Premier Concertina Copper E. She’s a short scale beauty with an LR Baggs EAS VTC soundhole pickup. She’s pretty gorgeous and she sounds fine. I’m a Breedlove artist so that’s what I mainly play, but I also have a guitar that’s on permanent loan to me – a 1955 0-15 Martin guitar that’s mahogany and chock full of rich overtones. That’s pretty much it as far as a rig goes. I like to stay portable.