This is one of those interviews we were very excited about doing. Laura Aston got her start in country music when a video she made went viral and got more than 10 million views. Since then, Laura has had five number-one country singles and was nominated for the BCMA’s entertainer of the year award after a tour that sold out. In 2021, Laura became the first international artist to win the Bluebird Golden Pick with her song “Daddies Lie.”
On the music scene today, Laura Aston would be seen as a traditional country singer. Where we have spoken to some UK-based artists who have connected country to rock (Laura Evans) or country folk blends (Amy-Jo), Laura Aston delivers an unapologetically pure country sound. She resonates with the country legends of old. We wondered if this was something that stretched back to childhood years.
Laura- It has been a part of me all my life, and my dream has always been to make a career out of it. When I first posted on social media, because I figured out early on that social media is the most powerful form of advertising that there is today, I started doing pop. If I’m being honest, I did it because I thought that’s what everyone else wanted to hear, and I wasn’t being true to myself as an artist. At the time, it was just about gaining the popularity or attention I wanted. But it wasn’t coming across as I wanted it to; I wasn’t feeling the songs, and I wasn’t delivering them how I wanted to. But I’ve always been a massive traditional country fan. When I was a little girl, I had a Patsy Cline album. Before I even knew there were different musical genres, I just loved this woman’s voice. I played it back-to-back on repeat, and I think that is where I picked up my country twang from. Then I started to listen to Dolly Parton, Shania Twain, Tammy Wynette, and so on. I just fell in love with it.
And the rest is history?!
Laura- Well, I signed a musical deal in 2016, but before that, I auditioned for a girl band, as I thought that was the option at that point as my solo career wasn’t doing that well. But I knew I wanted to sing, so I went to the audition. Fortunately for me, I got a call the next day saying they wanted to offer me a solo contract, and I’ve been with the same people ever since. It was my manager who asked me why I wasn’t doing country, as I have a country voice. I was scared, but I tried it out, and, yes, the rest is history. I have had so much success being true to myself. It validates the saying, “Be true to who you are, and don’t go off course for other people.”
We did note that the early collection of “Covers,” an early album from 2017, was now impossible to get hold of, and guessed it came from a very early transitional period.
Laura- Over the last five years or so, I have evolved as an artist, both vocally and visually, my ideas are better, and I am far more music business savvy. That was the first covers collection, more of an EP, but while I thought it was great at the time, it is no longer where I want to be.
At the magazine, a song called “Bible Paper Thin” was a favourite of ours. We loved that track, and we wondered about its genesis.
Laura- I didn’t write that one, even if I wish I had! It was written by a talented Nashville singer songwriter called Kevin. I’ve worked with him a few times, and when I heard that song as a demo, I knew I had to have that song as mine and release it. The first song I released was for a charity, and it was called “Remember Me,” and then “Bible Paper Thin” came next. It went to number one in the country charts, and the response was overwhelming, people loved it.
Lyrically, Laura delivers some great moments. Again, just pulling out one that we loved here. There is a 2022 number called “Good Things Come About” ( a wonderful Nashville sounding country number that is absolutely loveable) that carries the lyric:
“I’ve never been a fighter, but I’ve been fighting all my life;
I’ve never been the brightest, somehow I survive” (lyrics by Laura Aston)
This one had us connecting with life generally. It was touching.
Laura- Thanks. I wrote that song so fast! It just came so easily. I had been to visit my grandfather at the time, and he was always there as a number one fan. That was his saying, and the song is about him; he would always say how you have to keep on going and keep on dreaming. But sometimes people say I am a bit gullible, a bit ditsy, and that is kind of true.
We found the lyric funny, and Laura has a great sense of humour, when you talk to her. But the song is great because it tells us never to give up. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.
Laura Aston is planning on a range of UK dates, including a Scottish date with Robyn Red as support artist. We spoke to Robyn here at the magazine only a few weeks ago. The tickets are selling extremely well, and we moved on to talk about the tour. The link for the tickets is here.
Laura- Yes. With Robyn Red, I believe I am correct in saying, one of her biggest supporters actually reached out to me, as he supports me too, and he is a lovely guy. So he approached and inquired about having Robyn open for the Glasgow show. So I passed matters over to my management, and it went from there. I remember seeing Robyn Red perform, back in November, I think. And she has a lovely voice.
Laura is also heading off to her hometown of Birmingham to play the famous “Hare and Hounds” where UB40 played their first concert.
Laura- The tour starts in Glasgow on June 3rd, it’s a lovely venue (the Classic Grand), then off to London (the Water Rats) on June 23rd, and then it’s back home to Birmingham. I love the “Hare and Hounds” in Birmingham, where we are on June 25th, the sound technician there is amazing! So I’m very excited about June, and we are busy doing rehearsals at the moment. We are working on mixing the show up a bit, as many people will attend a few shows, and it’s great to be able to do something different for those that come to a couple of shows.
Laura works with a regular set of musicians who her fans will be fully familiar with.
Laura- I’ve worked with the band I have from day one. We have changed the bass player a couple of times, but that’s really it. They are incredible musicians, they blow me away, and I am so lucky. I never had to go out looking for them. They just kind of fell in my lap, and they are great to work with.
One of the great things about Laura is that she has a strong image now, and that image is one she has worked on and perfected over time. We wondered if her image was one she had known from the beginning or if it had changed over time.
Laura- I do have a laugh at some of the older videos and promotional pictures that I did. They were awful! I feel every artist goes through that period of finding themselves, and I would like to think I have my look now. I love tassels, and I have the hat and boots. I paid a fortune for this pair of boots and so I wear them a lot to get my money’s worth! I believe I have an image that is edgy, country, and includes sequins and glitter. The boots are completely bling! I love them. I wear the hat nine times out of ten, as a signature thing at the end of the show is to throw the hat to the audience, so someone gets to take it home. I enjoy doing that. But with images, we all have the occasional mishap, but I am happy with myself now, and I am comfortable watching myself on videos. I am comfortable with myself as an artist.
Finishing off, we looked ahead to 2023 and any possible recordings.
Laura- Actually, my new single, “Nothing Else Matters,” is now on pre-order, (it is released on February 3). I really enjoyed writing this one, as it is very upbeat and happy. It is about having history with someone, good history, but it just didn’t work out. Then you often wonder about them and how they are. That is, in essence, the song’s message: nothing else mattered when I was with you. I have been putting out some tasters for people, and I am looking forward to getting it out for people to hear it all.
We certainly hope both the tour and single do well for Laura. Post Pandemic, it hasn’t been easy for artists, and the business needs the public back in those live venues supporting artists and buying some merch.
Laura- I do merchandise, and that is the way for us to make a living. This is where the dream keeps coming true: I do things independently with my manager. People don’t always understand how much goes into putting on a tour; we have to make sure we can afford that tour, but the enjoyment makes it worthwhile. It costs money to go into the studio to make an album, so I am so grateful when someone pre-orders the new single. I have a lot of new music in 2023 and I hope people love it.
And there our talk ended, and we really hope to see our readers there on the tour. The new single, as well, is certainly something to look forward too.
By Benny (the Ball) Benson
Mark C. Chambers.
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