Diary Of A Songwriter: Laoise
A trip to London provides this Irish artist with a chance to write new music and record her latest video
Rising Irish pop star Laoise (pronounced Lee-sha) has rightly been making waves with her frank and revealing music, set to a modern electro production. This year has seen her appearing at festivals such as Longitude and Electric Picnic, while her recent single Again is just the latest example of her ability to combine gutsy themes (women’s rights in her home country) with an equally adventurous sound.
Written during a week in August where she travelled to London to write songs and shoot the video for Again, Laoise’s diary provides us with a genuine glimpse into the life of an up-and-coming artist…
There’s always something so fun about going to the airport. I love seeing all the people pass me by as I think, ‘Where are you going? What are you doing there? What kind of food will you eat?’ and so on. I guess I’m a bit nosy.
I’m heading to London for a photoshoot, to do some writing and to shoot a music video for my new single Again’. It comes out in six weeks and I’m dying to share it with everyone. I can’t wait to do some bedroom-dance moves in the video, maybe even some dad dancing, if I’m really feeling myself. Who knows?
I find it crazy how quick it is to get from Dublin to London. I’m listening to And The Writer Is…, my favourite podcast at the moment, which usually lasts just as long as the flight does. I’m listening to the one with Charli XCX. It’s inspiring to hear how other songwriters work and how they still struggle with self-doubt; makes me feel like less of an alien.
It’s music video day and I have very colourful outfits that I can’t wait to wear. I used to hate having to choose what to wear because I used to wear clothes that I wasn’t comfortable in. It’s weird because making music is all about expressing yourself, and when I realised I wasn’t doing that with the clothes I was wearing, it didn’t make sense. I’m saying this while I wear a Kellogg’s T-shirt, so self-expression can even come in the form of food for me hehe.
I’ve been up since 5am and I’m ready to dance around a basketball court at 7am. I find singing the words I’ve written to a camera really cathartic because I get to perform it the way I did when I was recording it; crazy-weird-sad facial expressions everywhere. Looking back on some of the shots allows me to see this. It’s a strange feeling because in one way, I’ve written the song and I’ve dealt with what it’s about, but I still get transported back to how I felt writing it every time I perform it. It’s like a time capsule I get to dig up over and over – but the more I do, the less it hurts.
I’m pretty tired after the shoot but heading in to do some writing sessions today. I really like co-writing because I get to meet someone I’ve never met before, and by the time we’re leaving the studio, we basically know everything about each other. I think this is because writing is where I’m most open and honest; I’m not trying to hide from anything. It’s all about getting what’s bothering me out of my head and into a song that will make me feel better, even if it’s heartbreakingly hard to do. But because I get to record these songs and release and perform them, I’m ready to let go of those feelings as mine, because I know someone else somewhere in the world is feeling the same way. It makes me feel like I’m not on my own when I’m going through tough situations. I guess that’s why I write all the time – to connect with people. By the end of the session, we have a song that I can’t wait to add little finishes to on the plane home Friday.
I start the day with a quiet breakfast and coffee. It’s been a little hectic for the past few days so it’s important I give myself the time to breathe and take it all in. I’ve always thought that I had to be thinking and working constantly to be a creative, but eventually, I ran out of fuel. Nowadays, it seems everyone’s so busy all the time, and I thought I had to keep up, but really I just need time to be present to be my best self and make my best work.
Sometimes writing songs is a very gruelling experience, and it’s crucial I live a little so I can write about it. People are my biggest inspiration, so making the effort to connect with the people around me is how I can connect with my music and the words I’m singing. Being in a new city surrounded by new people really inspires me; the various accents, quirky mannerisms, different buildings and so on, so I take this with me into the next writing session this afternoon.
I’m heading to the airport to catch my flight back to Dublin. I always feel different coming back from somewhere than I do going somewhere. I think it’s because before I go somewhere, I don’t know what’s going to happen and I can get a little apprehensive, especially if I know I’m going to be writing. I can start doubting myself thinking things like, ‘What if I can’t write? What if I don’t have any good ideas? What if they don’t like me?’ But I forced myself to push those questions aside on Monday evening so I could focus and be present for the week.
It’s only in the airport now that I realise I never have to ask myself those questions because I’m always going to have something on my mind, I’m always going to feel something, I’m always going to have something to say. That’s why I feel the need to follow this path as a songwriter and performer, so my voice can be heard and so it can say something for others. I’m so excited to release this song so I can do just that.
Again is out now and all the latest info about Laoise can be found at iamlaoise.com