My Interview with Laura Steel

Live on Culture Compass soon…


You can see the talented lady live on Tuesday October 9th at Islington Academy…

How has practice on your new Roland gone?
 
It’s
going so so well!!! I haven’t really played in years as I took time out
of music to do my Fashion Womenswear Design Degree at Central Saint
Martins, so it’s been tough re-teaching myself, but I am confident that I
can get back to the level I was at when I stopped in no time! I rehearse
a lot and that’s all it takes really. Lots of practice and dedication!

Are you starting to feel the nerves for the big gig yet? 
 
Not
yet… I’ve been so busy I haven’t really had time to feel anything! My
schedule is so crazy at the moment with rehearsals etc I am just trying
to stay focused. I don’t normally get nervous until I am about to step
on stage… Its the adrenaline and nerves that I love! I just feel like
my heads about to explode and it fuels me to go on stage and kill it! If
I didn’t get nervous I’m not sure I’d enjoy it as much.. I love the
feeling of excitement and butterflies.. Its just awesome!

Your show at the Islington Academy will be the longest set yet and
are getting the opportunity to play most of your album, have you sorted
any special production details for the occasion?

 
It is the longest set we have done to date and a lot of the songs we
will play at the show will be on the album. Its so exciting to be able
to show the fans what I have been doing all this time buried away in
studios and for them to get a sneak preview of what will be on the first
album… I really do listen to them, so me and my team will definitely
be taking notes as to which tracks get a better response than others!

You performed as part of BT London live gigs in Victoria Park. How
hard is it performing to a crowd that aren’t necessarily your fans. Do
you like the challenge and opportunity of winning over new audiences? 

Absolutely! It’s the best feeling in the world to win over an audience
that aren’t familiar with your work. The final show for BT London Live
at Hyde park was a fine example. We had a lot of fans there but the crowd
grew ten fold in size as we worked through the set, people were running
over to the stage to see us. By the end of the set there were hundreds
of people in front of us… literally a sea of screaming people! It was
electrifying! The response was incredible. I had so many people come up
to me at the end of the show telling me they loved the performance and
the music etc. They all wanted to know where they could hear more of my
stuff and that was soooo rewarding. My best gig to date!

You have supported the likes of Pixie Lott, Diana Vickers and Lucy
Rose. Are you someone that uses those experience to watch how they
command stage and how they deal with other aspects of the industry? Do
you actively seek out advice from them?
 

The only one out the named artists I
actually got to spend time with was Diana Vickers. She is sooo lovely
and I learnt a lot from her, mainly from watching her perform. She has
great stage presence and a fantastic voice. I love her banter in between
tracks too. I much prefer to learn from watching artists do their
thing.

It feels like there are a lot of great female acts coming
through at the moment. Do you see this a positive thing, or is it
daunting knowing?
 

I think its fantastic! There are always new female
artists who raise the bar for the rest of us and I find it
inspirational. It makes me wanna do better and better. I find the whole
industry daunting at times but it makes me work that little bit harder
with every hurdle I encounter, whether that be increasing competition or
something else.

I couldn’t help but notice that you have a pretty impressive
follower count on Twitter. How much do you get involved with social
media. Do you enjoy that part of the job and consider it a good thing
for the industry

It’s mainly me apart from odd marketing msgs for
tickets / downloads etc. I love replying to everyone personally.. I feel
it bonds me to my fans and I get to know more about their likes and
dislikes. Social media is key so I had to learn about all aspects of it
very quickly. It’s a great way to connect with fans and really find out
what it is they wanna see and hear.
 

You manage most aspects of your career yourself. Would you say
you are fiercely independent or is it more about wanting to be able to
to take responsibility for all decisions and owning them? 

I would say its
a bit of both really.. I am extremely independent and I like to have
control of my own future. 

I’m actually part of a duo really.
Myself and my manager are almost business partners in this whole
project. She mainly looks after the business side and me the creative.
It’s the perfect combination and it really works.. we make decisions
together. Even when I’m being bonkers and have these crazy ideas Celina
will reign me in and together we come up with the best conclusion.. and
visa versa.

Your single Overdrive has been mixed by a Grammy award winning
producer Blake Eisemen and was co written with DK Benjamin and Marc
Nelkin. Being someone the often does a lot themselves, how do you cope
with collaborations and taking on board other opinions and even criticisms? 

 

Collaborating was the biggest test for me at first but the
best step I ever made. Initially it was mainly nerves that hindered me
when working with others, but my drive to create awesome music made me
work hard at working through them. I was always scared to share melody
ideas and lyrics in fear of looking silly but I forced myself to do it
and i found that even if the co writer didn’t like a particular
suggestion we would throw around ideas until we came up with the best
solution TOGETHER… it has actually become my favourite way to write. Even though I am comfortable writing alone I now prefer to co-write
as I love the pressure to perform, and I believe it makes me work harder
and in a more focused way. Marc and DK are incredible writers, and I
really learned so much from them. Blake is just amazing and really
listens to what I want to achieve. together we make an incredible team
and I’m honoured to have worked with such talented professionals.


You write all a lot of your material. Can you describe the
environment that is conducive to your creativity. Do you work better
under deadlines, at home, on the go… etc ? 

 

I write and co
write ALL of my own material and I really can’t say how I work best. You
see it really depends! Sometimes I work better under pressure and with
deadlines and sometimes I find I have to wait for the inspiration to
come. I love working at home and I love working in an unfamiliar
environment. I just love writing!!! For me its anywhere, any time and
with whoever 🙂

Do you have a limit to how personal you will go with lyrics or does
any relationship, feeling or event have a chance of appearing?

 
There
are no limits to my lyrics and my music. I want to push the boundaries.
In the early stages of my career my lyrics were very tongue in cheek and I liked to maintain a sense of humour in them. Nowadays I seem to be
writing more profound and moving lyrics. I guess it all depends on my
mood at the time and how the music makes me feel. I would be comfortable
sharing any part of myself in my lyrics and i believe that as an artist
that is the most beautiful thing. After all, music is a form of
expression, it’s my feelings that fuel my writing most of the time.

Does your Northern down to earth nature ever get you in trouble? 

 

Trouble? No, but sometimes people struggle to understand my sense of humour, and I
guess my honesty is sometimes misinterpreted as rudeness. I am a bit
bonkers and I’m not sure whether that is down to being Northern.. I
strive to be a better person every day and work really hard to make
people happy. You can’t always please everyone and I just hope that
people understand that I’m doing my best to achieve my goals and I mean
no harm even when I am being honest! 🙂

You have a background in styling. Some artists are so outlandish
with their outfits that people almost concentrate on that more than the
musical output. Is this something you worry about or do you just go with
your instincts in terms of your style? 

 

I like my style to represent my
music and for me it is an extension of my personality. I like to look
sexy and feel confident, so I normally wear colours and shapes that
accentuate my curves, and it’s more about the whole concept of the show. I
love to dress a bit nuts and stand out but its not the most important
factor for me. I would hate for my show outfits to distract from the
music, I simply want it to work as part of the package. For the
Islington Academy show I have been working closely with a fantastic
designer called Kate Fearnley. Together we have come up with a perfect
outfit that represents me and what I wanna say with my show. (Here’s a
little insider info… its very PINK but still got a naughty/dark little
twist! lol)

People accuse current musical style icons of being rehashes of previous stars. Who is doing it right in your opinion? 

 

It
is becoming increasingly hard nowadays to be completely original. We
have seen hundreds of trends and looks come and go a hundred times. It’s
how you present them now, in my opinion. I think artists such as
Rihanna, Gwen Stafani and Lady Gaga present past trends in fresh and
exciting ways which make it their own. For example Gaga is constantly
accused of copying other artists but I believe she takes certain looks
to a new level. She reworks trends and puts her own twist on them. Her
team are constantly re inventing her and it keeps her looking fresh and
new. This is what I strive to do. 
 

Describe the music you make in one sentence? 

It’s Dirty Pop with balls of Steel POW 🙂

 

Biggest crime a musician can commit? 

To think they are perfect.

 

Most
recently played on your iPod?
 

My set for my next show has been on
constant repeat in my ears for the last month. It’s how I become familiar
with the order of the set and the lyrics. I like to know the set inside
out so I can feel it more when I perform.

Dream
collaboration?
 

I’d love to work with a Frank Ocean or The Weeknd. I
admire their work, they are very different to me and I think the
collaboration would be extremely interesting.


Something surprising about you… 

I am dyslexic.

Plans for the rest of 2012?  

Releasing my singles and recording my album! I literally can not wait!

Guilty pleasure? 

Chocolate… lots of it. I really do love it sooo much.. maybe because I know I shouldn’t have it.

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