We had the chance to interview San Francisco-based singer-songwriter Laura Paragano. Her music can best be described as soulful alt-country. She has a dynamic vocal range that immediately confronts listeners in a great way. Check out what she had do say below!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
Well, it's definitely not my day job! But I've been playing music as long as I can remember. First it was piano, then trumpet (in middle and high school), then guitar (self-taught in college). I started writing music in high school, but those were orchestral compositions. I wanted to be the next John Williams. Then reality got the better of me, and I didn't start writing again until a few years ago after a bad breakup.
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music? The impetus for a song comes from an emotion or feeling or thought I'm trying to process. The journey to the end depends on the way I choose to approach the topic—what point of view to take, how literal or figurative I get, what the mood I want to evoke… Most of my songs start with lyrics and then I find a progression and melody to match the mood. That’s why I have a running notebook of ideas and lines to draw from. But sometimes words are hard to find, so in that case I try to find the mood musically first and that helps clarify the core idea behind the song.
3. What artists have inspired you in your career? I grew up in New Jersey listening to Bruce Springsteen. The way I put together songs is definitely rooted in that heartland rock tradition. But then alternative artists like The Shins, Courtney Barnett, and Ben Folds have been inspirational in their breadth of sound and lyrical complexity.
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them? Pedals are a new and wonderful world to me. My bassist introduced me to the Avalanche Run, which creates beautifully ambient reverb and delay. It's really useful for experimentation and songwriting. But I've also been gifted an Aquapuss, which just stays on all the time for a light analog delay slapback sound.
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show? Lots of swaying haha. My music can be pretty contemplative, so it's really humbling and moving to see the audience mentally join me in a song’s headspace. That's why I love intimate venues—I'm able to really connect with people. (Though it's not like I've ever played a big show before, though.)
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music? I try to show through my music that there’s strength in emotional vulnerability and authenticity.
7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about? I'm actively booking shows! Keep an eye out at www.lauraparagano.com.
FMI on Laura Paragano or to check out her music visit her Spotify page.