Artist: Lauren Calve
Hometown: Brentwood, Maryland
Latest Album: Shift
(Editor’s Note: Watch a brand new music video for the title track of Lauren Calve’s upcoming album, “Shift,” below.)
What other art forms — literature, film, dance, painting, etc. — inform your music?
I was a visual artist before I was a musician, so visual art has always played a role in my music-making. Interestingly, though, my songs usually inform my art. After I finish writing and recording a collection of songs, I usually go through a kind-of sensory transition from auditory to visual. For instance, after I finished my forthcoming album Shift, I painted a self-portrait incorporating the imagery from Shift for my album cover in the style of surrealist painter Rene Magritte. For me, creating art to accompany my releases enriches the experience of making music.
Which artist has influenced you the most… and how?
Patty Griffin is probably my biggest influence. Her songs have always captured my heart and imagination. And I love how she constantly evolves her sound and songwriting while maintaining her authenticity. In my opinion, she is one of the best living singer-songwriters.
Which elements of nature do you spend the most time with and how do those impact your work?
Walking the Anacostia River paths behind my house is my favorite and most accessible way to be in nature. These walks have elicited everything from song ideas and lyrics to notes for mixes. There’s something about walking in nature that clears my head and allows my creativity to flow more freely.
If you had to write a mission statement for your career, what would it be?
If I had to write a mission statement for my career, especially in light of my recent personal shift, it would be “Songs for Seekers on their quest to know and be known.”
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
My favorite memory from being on stage was when I performed with the Mountain Stage band for the first episode of Mountain Stage’s 40th Anniversary year in January. Prior to the show my guitarist, Jonathan Sloane, had been in touch with the band leader; I was pretty much in the dark regarding the instrumentation for my set. It was the day of the show during soundcheck that I learned that the entire 7-piece house band would accompany me — including Kathy Mattea on background vocals! Never in my wildest dreams did I think that such an illustrious group — many of whom had been at Mountain Stage since its inception 40 years earlier — would be my backing band. Unsurprisingly, that set was the best my songs have ever sounded!
Photo Credit: Sarah Danelli