Today I am talking with Lauren Zettler. Lauren is another New York City based singer songwriter and one that has a very keen sense of the word musician. Bringing an almost back roads country image to the scene Lauren sings with heart, passion, and experience in her music. Lauren, who is featured on a Daniel Inskeep (from the Sweatshirt Weather) single, is sitting with me today. Sit back and get to know an amazing, talented, spirited musician and lyricist.
When did you begin playing the guitar?
I feel like I started kind of late. I got my first guitar on my 14th birthday. I played it enough to teach myself some basic chords and write my first songs but I didn’t really start to treat it like I do now until I went away to college. So I’ve seriously been playing it for five years or so.
How do I get me one of those Zettler t-shirts?
(Laughs) Those were a special edition t-shirt made for the fundraiser concert I held in Indianapolis this past summer. But I still have a few left. You can buy them on my merchandise page at http://laurenzettler.com/store.html
You did a duo with Daniel Inskeep. How do you know Daniel?
Daniel is actually one of my little brother’s best friends Daniel’s older sister is one of my close friends as well. So I’d see him around our house a lot. He’s such a good kid. (Laughs)
You have a very polished image. What came first? The image or the music?
(Laughs) It’s really funny that you say that. I just had someone design a MySpace layout for me, so I suppose that kind of helped to creating that illusion for you. It’s definitely all evolving at the same time. I understand that an image or a “polished” presence is something that’s important in the music industry, but I definitely don’t believe that it’s more important than the music itself. So, the music always comes first.
Where does your inspiration come when you sit down to write a new song?
Most of the time it comes from some sort of frustration I’m trying to deal with. Sometimes it comes from another song I’ve been listening to. I’ll hear something that makes me feel a certain way, and I’ll be feeling that way for a week. Eventually I have to turn around and get it out of me, so I’ll write a song about it. I listen to a lot of things that make me sad. (Laughs) So that kind of comes across in my music, too, I think. It’s the whole “feels so good to hurt” thing. I don’t know why. But I can’t stay away from it.
Tell me a little bit about your car, Lola. (Realized after reading her response that car was a misspelling.) (Laughs)
(Actually, Lola is my cat. You must have misread it in my bio. I completely understand if that makes this question uninteresting now, but I’ll answer it anyway). Lola is nuts. I have had her for about five years now. She was a stray and super cute. Still is. All white with green eyes. But she is not very nice. She’s the farthest things from the cuddly friend I wanted when I decided to get a pet, but you can’t really foresee these things. I love her anyway. I’m definitely more of a dog person but I’ve lived in Boston and New York City for the past five years and dogs are hard to care for in cities.
Who is your biggest influence?
My influences are usually always other musicians. All of last year I couldn’t get enough of Brandi Carlile. She really tore into me and intensified my desire to pursue music. I also love Patty Griffin. I’m pretty heavily influenced by my surroundings, too. New York is such an incredible place to live and people here are so passionate. There are a lot of people fighting for important things, and that’s really inspiring.
If you could meet anyone alive or dead who would it be?
That’s always a loaded question. There are just so many possibilities. Right now I really want to meet Barack Obama. In terms of musicians, however, I’d love to sit down with Bob Dylan or Freddie Mercury. Patty Griffin.
PC or Mac?
Chips and salsa or burger and fries?
I am a vegetarian (laughs) so I’m gonna go with chips and salsa.
What do you want to be remembered for when this is all over?
As cliche as it sounds I just want to write good music that moves people. I want to be effective. I want to help someone get through something just like all of my heroes have done for me.
What is the largest crowd you have ever played for?
Probably about 150 people. 2009 is going to be awesome though and that number is going to grow.
(Laughs) Ten people. Probably including the bartender and sound guy. I’m sure I’ll have more shows like that as I start to tour around the country but everybody starts somewhere and I’m okay with that.
MySpace. Good or bad for musicians?
I don’t think you can deny its usefulness. Whenever anyone suggests a band to me, the first thing I do is type in their MySpace. It’s my go-to and I think a lot of other people are the same way. I use it every day. I don’t think it’s quite as effective as it used to be, and I certainly wish it wasn’t as buggy as it is. Sometimes it is such a pain to deal with. Regardless, I think it’s necessary.
If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Oh geez, I don’t know! Once you live in New York City it’s hard to really think about your next move. I loved Paris, though, when I visited. I’m really looking forward to the touring lifestyle of a musician. I always get antsy when I’m in one place for too long, and I love so many U.S. cities. New York, Boston, Austin, Los Angeles, Nashville. I’d like to kind of live all over the place.
Let’s play word association. What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you read the three following terms. Go.
Wizard of Oz: Green witch
Describe your genre in one word.
Pop. If I can use more than one word, I’d go on to explain that by “pop” I mean “popular” – not bubble gum over-produced stuff. I mean rock and roll. Music that a lot of people like. I hate categorizing genres, because I feel like it can be misleading. I know people need a point of reference to get an idea of what you’re like, but it’s always difficult to try and describe yourself that way.
If you could tour with any one musician currently in the industry who would it be?
Brandi Carlile. She is amazing. Can someone out there make that happen? (Laughs)
Let’s say you are being offered a $250,000 record co
ntract but you have to record someone else’s lyrics and it is a rap album. Would you do it?
(Laughs) Absolutely not.
Do you have a job or is music it?
I have some odd jobs here and there. I have a regular babysitting job and I write jingles for people. Writing jingles is great because it’s still music related But it is definitely not something I’m interested in doing forever. But it’s great when it pays a few bills.
Starbucks of Panera?
Oooo, good question. We don’t have Panera in New York City but I always go there when I’m home in Indianapolis. I’m a frequent Starbucks-goer, though, so I’m going to have to go with that one.
Coke or Pepsi?
Any plans to tour in the near future to support your new album?
Yes! I’m playing a handful of shows around New York and Connecticuit this month. I will head to Boston in April I’m hoping, and then I’m doing a mini-tour in the Pacific Northwest in May with my friend and fellow musician Allison Weiss. We’ll hit up Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver.
What kind of car do you drive?
I don’t have a car because I’ve lived in two cities in the past five years that are very centered around public transportation. But I’m thinking I’m going to need something soon if I want to start touring more.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
My roommate made me an awesome fruit smoothie.
I always let the artist get the last word. Go.
Thanks so much for interviewing me – I can’t wait to play more shows in Indy. I miss home, and I really love where I’m from