In early 2011 just as I was embarking on my own Youtube world, I came across a singer in the 'recommended' section of the website. Youtube comments lead to Twitter follows which led to Facebook friends, and now the lovely Lauren Aquilina is sat opposite me in a coffee shop after nearly 4 years of chatting via the world wide web. Lauren ever so kindly agreed to me asking a few questions especially for you, my favourite minions. Whilst I stopped with my musical Youtube life, Lauren persevered, and now with over 3 million views on Youtube, over 100'000 EP's sold, Radio 1 backing her every move, this years headline act on the Introducing Stage at Reading and Leeds festival and a recent deal with Island Records, the world is quite literally Lauren's oyster. Please God, nobody remind me we're the same age.
After running to catch the train and finally arriving at Windsor, admiring the castle and finding a much needed coffee shop, we began our little informal interview.
The amazing Fools EP has just celebrated its 2nd birthday and the trilogy has sold over 100’000 copies, did you have a defining ‘oh my god moment’?
For the last EP I had a billboard put up with all my supporters names on it, I just remember walking out of the tube station and going ‘Ahhhhhhhh!’ that was definitely one of the coolest moments. It was something else.
To add to your list of achievements, you signed a record deal with Island Records this year, is this going to change much? Can you explain a little about any differences that might occur because of it?
To be honest, I’m the only one who will notice any differences. The main difference has just been more people in charge! More opinions, more people to please, sometimes it can get a bit ‘too many cooks’ but then you just learn to write for yourself. In general, everyone’s just been really supportive of me!
There are thousands of people trying to make it through the Youtube community, why do you think you’re one of the lucky few who has ‘made it’?
Timing was a big part of it, I just caught the end of the ‘Youtube musician phenomenon’ but even with me, labels were already very wary of the whole thing because so many musicians had been signed through Youtube and some hadn’t done as well as expected, whereas others did far better than expected. There was also strategies most musical Youtubers learn like covering highly anticipated songs as soon as they come out.
Do you think coming from Youtube means you have a better relationship with your fans than somebody who’s found fame in a different way, through a talent show etc?
I don’t think I would class myself as a ‘Youtuber’… my thing was always social media, constantly updating and finding ways to make people feel involved, saying thank you to everyone who’s supported me. Social media helped me and to be honest, more than anything I’d say Youtube has created a bit of a barrier, but Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr all created an amazing relationship. I love that people feel like they can talk to me and don’t see me as some kind of weird higher entity.
It’s all autobiographical. Sometimes I try to write songs that aren’t autobiographical because I think it’d be easier, but the best songs come out in 10 minutes, drawing from my life. My EP’s were about one relationship and one person, and it all sort of followed through, despite not being intentional. And the next period of my life has obviously been adolescence, which is what the album will be about.
Has there been a noticeable difference in the writing and recording of your first EP Fools, and the final one, Liars?
YES. I was in the exact same room with the exact same person, using the exact same equipment, but the first EP happened so naturally and came so easily and the last one was so stressful! I wasn’t signed yet but I was in talks with the label who were treating me as if we’d already signed and I had to send them so much. Nobody liked the main track Lovers or Liars, the team, my manager, myself. It was so much more of a stressful experience. I felt a bit rushed, even the second EP wasn’t an ideal situation because I was doing my A Levels at the same time.
Which song from the 3 EP’s means the most to you?
Ummmm….. Wonder. It’s between Wonder and Fools but Wonder just beats it. I can listen to it now and still go back to how I was feeling at the time I wrote it.
Who are your main musical influences?
Ellie Goulding, Bon Iver, M83, Imogen Heap, Coldplay, oh god, so many. I love new music. I am such a new music fiend.
Can you let us in on what you have planned for the future?
Well I’m writing my album at the moment, I have no idea when it’ll be ready but I want it out next year. It’s my main goal and I literally can’t think past that!
Finally, I can’t let you leave without talking about that tweet from Taylor Swift… I almost screamed for you and I’m just your friend, can you try and put into words how you felt?
So I was in my house, and I do this thing where as soon as my family go to bed, I like crawl out of my room and just creep downstairs and spread out and am like ‘Aaaaaaahhhh I have all of downstairs to myself!’ Every single night. And that night was no different, I had ice-cream and hot chocolate, and had Harry Potter on. I was about an hour into Harry Potter, my laptop was open on Tweet Deck next to me and suddenly out of the corner of my eye I saw my Tweet Deck go mental! The first tweet I properly saw was my friend Orla’s… I went on Taylor Swift’s profile and literally just said ‘Oh my god’ and then I freaked out and called my publisher (who wasn’t that happy to be called at 1am) and almost cried. I was texting my manager and my phone was going mental and it took like an hour for it to sink in, and then every time I dealt with it I freaked out again! Imagine all the people who follow Taylor Swift. I don’t think I’ll ever get over that.
The official question bit ended and much girl talk and life talk followed. I always bang on about the wonders of the world wide web, and after so long of talking to this lovely lady online, we quickly realised a beautiful friendship had emerged from our tweeting and facebooking. Quick selfies followed to document our 'oh my goodness we've finally met' moment, and after what felt like 2 minutes but was actually 3 hours, I boarded the train back to University.
All of Lauren's links are found below, including the downloads to her EP's. Which I highly 1000% recommend you download.
I hope you all enjoyed this new style of blog and are all having lovely weeks!
Ciao for Now!