Lauriana Mae Is Ready To Be Queen But Won’t Forget Her Beginnings
Lauriana Mae is getting real, even if no one else will. The talented and soulful singer shines on her City Of Diamonds EP, a record that defines the true Lauriana and doesn’t entertain the current model of fake, materialistic pop themes. We got a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Lauriana Mae’s new EP and got inspired with her words on confidence, artistry and womanhood.
Reading your twitter I found some great inspirational tweets. A recent one read, “Accept your real life true story. Let your art reflect it.” What’s your real true story?
My real life true story would leave us here for days and days because so many things have happened. Even just in making this album and EP so many things have happened in the past few years have allowed and pushed me more to open up and accept the truth of what was going on and talk about it. Before I was trying to make records that were really fun for everybody. I was talking about money I didn’t have and a lot of things that weren’t so personal. During the process of this new EP I lost my pop-pop, lost my nanny, lost my best girlfriend to a car crash…a lot of things forced me to open up about my struggle and my heart break and really own my own story. I see a lot of other artists that aren’t telling the truth and I see their potential if they just opened up and accepted their own story. They could be where I’m at: super proud of my work and myself.
Tell me about City Of Diamonds – if nothing else, what’s one thing you want people to take from this EP?
Well there’s a lot of messages. It starts out with “Protect Ya Neck” which for me came from running with a big team. Team Pains is something I built and it comes from my hometown. A lot of people I supported and let into my home and my family really stabbed me in the back. That’s the nature of this business. That song is saying when you believe in yourself and you’re the best at something, and I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t believe in myself, but when you do this and you start moving forward people react all different kind of ways. It’s hard to know who to trust. My team now, I’m really protective of that. People that I thought were on my side ran around and tried to trip me up before the finish line…and “NYPD Blues” is more about the police than it really is about relationships but I had to make it relatable to everyone. I did that one with Wayne Hector and Jack Splash. “City of Diamonds” is about coming where I come from to the big city trying to make it with no money and no connections…I would rather be working in the studio trying to be somebody than outside some door trying to sit at someone else’s table.
Where does your innate sense of confidence come from? Any tips for girls struggling to find their own confident voice?
The confidence I have now comes from the work I’m doing. Not listening to what’s on the radio right now because if I was listening to the radio right now guess what? My ass ain’t big enough, I’m not a stripper and I’m not entertaining these things guys, rappers and other entertainers are talking about. I’m working on myself and I’m not lazy. I’m going for it. That’s the advice I would give to young girls. I have insecurities but guess what? At the end of the day I eat well, but I’m skinny. If I’m not the perfect shade of color then to who? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but if I’m more proud of myself now then I’m being more honest.
I want to talk about style. We have the exclusive behind the scenes video for your cover shoot and my favorite part is seeing it all come together and getting a glimpse into some amazing style. I LOVE that coat. Tell us more about your personal style.
I used to hate shopping and doing the whole style thing. Before my music was talking about things I didn’t have and I wanted to be what I thought I should be: the most beautiful. Now my style is more taking elements of where I come from and what I like and also where I want to go and the things I always wanted to wear. Looking at myself like a queen but remembering my humble beginnings. Today I’m wearing a big, amazing designer shirt that my stylist gave me but I have on some regular jeans and some YSL heels. I love the hip-hop culture and I got a big gold chain and medallion on. It’s really just being who I am.
So I know you’re from Jersey but spend a lot of time working in NYC. What’s your NYC? Is it a little something more like Sex and the City or Broad City or Girls?
No there’s no show for my New York Yet?
What’s your New York?
My New York…well I have this song on the album where I had an idea for the video where I’m laying in the back of a pick-up truck in a beautiful gown coming from an event in the city and just seeing the city skyline up ahead in the camera view. Then going all the way back to where I come from; having a fire pit in the yard and my friends out there waiting. The city can be beautiful and the city can be tough. I used to come in for sessions and put my headphones on blasting John Coltrane as I walked in. It made it more beautiful and less hectic. I love Sex and the City though… I’m not going to lie.
I like that you bring up John Coltrane because there’s definitely a jazz, soul and R&B sound to your songs. What other records or artists inspired you along the way?
If anyone has the opportunity, when coming to the city, to do what I said and blast John Coltrane “After The Rain” you will see everything differently. Me and Jack Splash, when we were in the studio, we would watch interviews first or listen to other artists I really love like Billy Joel or Marvin Gaye. We would do that before just to be inspired. There was one time he said to me, “do you think we’re gonna make some legendary shit like this?” I said, “Of course we are. They were inspired by something and we’re inspired by them.” That day we started a record that took us three days to finish but it’s so classic and so perfect. Vocally, Billy Holiday has been a big inspiration Erykah Badu, Ella Fitzgerald.
What do you find powerful in womanhood?
I think what I find powerful about being a woman when another woman comes to me, like you did, and says I looked at your twitter and it was inspiring. Another girl came to me and saw my Hot 97 interview and said I really appreciate you speaking out for us thin girls. That’s where my power is right now. That’s why it’s important for me to get my name out and get my music out to get a bigger podium. There’s always going to be people trying to tear people down and make them smaller especially us, as women.