OTW #525: Laura Welsh

Nocturnal, stripped-back dream-pop...
Laura Welsh by Neil Bedford

Talent can flow down bloodlines, it seems. In the case of rising singer-songwriter Laura Welsh, it’s trickled through without question.

“My mum was a singer, and I remember she did my auntie’s graduation gig when I was 10. That was when I first got up and sang,” she gushes.

Since making the shift down to London, Welsh has rattled through a variety of monikers, including Laura And The Tears and Hey Laura, before finally settling on her full birth name.

While the expected thing to do here would be to embark on a monumental list of female vocalists for comparison, the Staffordshire-born artist has already carved out a sound uniquely her own. Economically layered, her bleeding-raw voice hovers over tracks stripped down to bare bones.

“There’s a sense of light and dark to my music,” she explains. “I think it touches on a lot of emotions. I wanted to make something that was honest lyrically, as well.

“I tend to write lyrics in a really reactive way,” she continues. “It comes out of what I’m feeling, and I can’t really help that!” It’s a refreshing quality, given the blistering commercial meat market of Auto-Tune and superfluous air horns.

Welsh is busy producing her forthcoming debut album, which she explains will be layered in terms of vocal textures.

“It’s that mixture of having an organic live feel, but also programmed parts,” she smiles. “I’ve been working with some wicked people, it’s been awesome.”

Production assistance comes from former Test Icicles member Dev Hynes, AKA Lightspeed Champion, who produced the sparse ‘Unravel’. Welsh has also worked beside Rhye’s Robin Hannibal, on ‘Cold Front’.

Also, thanks to the Midas touch of remixers such as Panda and CFCF, her music has caught the ears of a wider audience: one with ears only for deep house and Balearic beats.

But it’s the live set-up that’s occupying Laura’s mind right now. “At the moment I’ve got a three-piece: drums, keys and bass. I really can’t wait to get out and properly do a tour, because that’s the best way to get an audience reaction to the music.”

 “It’s tricky when you’re on your own, in the studio, just creating stuff,” she adds. “You don’t know if people will like it or not…”

Judging from what we’ve already heard of Welsh, she needn’t worry.

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Where: North London

What: Nocturnal, stripped-back dream-pop

Get 3 Songs: ‘Unravel’, ‘Cold Front’ (video above), ‘Hollow Drum’

Fact: She sang vocals on the original demo of ‘We Found Love’, as a favour to Calvin Harris.

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Words: Hayley Scott

Photo: Neil Bedford

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