Laura Powers (now living in Nashville, TN) spent much of her youth living in various parts of the world. She studied abroad and began singing professionally in college. In addition to her background as a live performer, Powers’ craftsmanship as a songwriter has made a name for herself in the music and film industries.
Laura recently took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with me.
Teresa Conner (TC): First of all I want to say a huge thank you for allowing me to interview someone as talented as you are. How are you doing at the moment?
Laura Powers (LP): I’m doing great!
TC:Fantastic! You haven’t had a completely new album (besides instrumentals and some songs on Code of the Goddess) since Trilogy: Legends of the Goddess III in 2003, is there any new material in the works?
LP: I can feel one coming on. I’ve been focusing quite a lot on painting recently and am now feeling the need to get back into my music more. I’ve had some ideas for a new direction and think it might go in a “world beat/dance” with some great danceable organic sounds. I’ve also thought about a very sparsely arranged acoustic album.
TC: That’s really interesting. It would be great hearing a different sound from you. I see you will be playing at Oxford Farms in Connecticut for Beltane this year. Do you play many festivals and gatherings?
LP: I do select dates for performing, some festivals, and house concerts, often tying in an in-store event to a compatible store that carries my music in the area. Sometimes it is a storeowner that is putting on the concert. That way there are at least two events happening when I travel to a location. I’m open to discussing performance possibilities. I chose not to go on the road as a way of life, but doing occasional dates is great and I have enjoyed each and every one of them.
TC: Your song ‘Long Way Down’ always makes me think of my aunt (whom passed away in 2006) and the relationship between her and my father (her brother). What was your motivation for such a powerfully moving song?
LP: The song was actually an ode to my father, who died fairly young and suddenly. In many senses he was a larger than life figure to many in the community and in my family. I simply couldn’t imagine him being gone-he was the one who was this great rock of stability and to have him leave us was unthinkable. And yet it happened. The depth of the sadness was something I’d not experienced in my fairly young life up until that point. The song, which was written about 10 years after he died, came from the realization that while time does heal, the empty place that is left can tap you on the shoulder at any given time, and the hole is just as deep as it ever was. I knew there must be others who felt the same way about a loved one who had passed and the song is for anyone who can empathize. I changed the gender so I could get through the song while performing live.
TC: I can relate with that, the place my aunt left still tugs at my heart at times. Do you have a favorite song of your own?
LP: I try to write songs that will stand up to time & repeated listening. That’s why they are not all story songs and there are love songs and perhaps lighter songs mixed in. Hard to say!
TC: I see that several of your songs have been chosen for Celtic compilation CDs distributed in Europe. Will your fans in America be able to purchase these as well?
LP: That is a good question. The first compilation I was on is “Celtic Mystique” from Tandem in Canada. The song is “Circle of Stone”. That CD is findable & would be available somewhere-probably best to Google and see where it’s available. The other newer compilations originate in France and I should post that info on my Website when I can find out more. At this point they would be imports, though-they are distributed in Europe only. Thanks for the nudge.
TC: No problem. You are an accomplished artist, as well as musician. You have been commissioned to do several album covers including Frank Sinatra, Billie Holliday and Willie Nelson. You have exhibited in the United States, Paris, London, and Berlin. Do you ever feel torn between the two loves?
LP: Sometimes I do, but I’m realizing that most creative things go in cycles. You don’t always have the time, inclination, etc. to focus on making art, music or even the business & marketing aspect of art & music. Today, thanks to the Internet there are many ways to be a small business and be creative. It usually means you must where many hats & do it all yourself. While having goals & deadlines, I think it’s nice to go with the flow of what you’re really feeling up to-songwriting, painting and then some marketing. I enjoy it all.
TC: What was it like growing up in Paris? Who was your biggest musical influence growing up?
LP: My dad was an army officer and we were stationed in Paris in the late 60s. I went to an American school one year and then to an international school conducted in French. My mom liked it because they served wine at the PTA meetings! It was really great being in the suburbs of Paris, and our little family went on outings to Paris every Sunday and visited the art museums and the markets. We all loved the French bread and the bakeries. My best friend at school was Turkish and we spoke in French. I remember she liked Petula Clark and I tried at length to convince her that the Rolling stones were so much cooler.
Musically, my older brother’s taste informed my own, so we listened to the Stones, Beatles, Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Monkees, Steppenwolf, and the Animals. When I heard Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder and the artists on Atlantic I flipped. I had a little record player that played 45s and at night I’d pull it out from under my bed and play “Whiter Shade of Pale,” “Crimson & Clover” and “Dock of the Bay” when I was supposed to be asleep.
TC: You have really great taste in music, might I add. [laughs] After living in so many places, what about Tennessee made you settle there?
LP: I moved here to pursue songwriting and try to get a publishing deal. After living here a few years I really liked the creative community here as well as the small city feel and the beauty of the green hills around Nashville. It’s a pretty peaceful place to live and the talent level is extraordinary. All kinds of music & skills. I really don’t interface too much with the straight-up country artists/business these days, because my work is independent. There are many other layers of music going on here.
TC: [nods] I was raised a Christian though I struggled with a deep longing for the Celtic Ways all my life. When I first heard ‘Circle of Stone,’ I knew then who I was spiritually. That song took me back and I heard the voices calling and my name was indeed echoing. You have a deep Goddess-theme running through your music. Is this just a love of the myths of old, or do you find yourself drawn to earth-based spirituality as a path?
LP: I first approached the “Legends of the Goddess” trilogy from a fascination of the Celtic myths and legends, having been inspired by the feminine take on the Arthurian Legends of the book “The Mists of Avalon,” and wanted to echo the Celtic goddess-feminine in the trilogy. While I do not subscribe to any one path I am open and interested in many. I truly feel I am a student of the universe and will be so all my life. I think it serves my creative pursuits more to be an observer.
TC: I can fully understand. You were featured on national TV for a portrait series of 12 female songwriters titled “The Golden Muses,” did you ever expect you’d be featured on anything of that magnitude?
LP: It was a great opportunity to have a segment on national television. For those doing creative things and trying to get local or national coverage, it sometimes pays to get a professional PR person who has a relationship with local news channels & newspapers. It was thanks to my PR person and also to my willingness to create an event that we got the coverage.
TC: What films has your music or songs been featured in?
LP: My music is mostly featured on station ID spots for Nashville Public Television. It’s great to have the images of NOVA and Nature be shown with one’s music. I’d have to think about the films. Mostly indie films and I have a pop/country song in a film called “Bloodmoney.” Not very esoteric I’m afraid, but there’s humor in where things end up, that’s for sure!
TC: Thank you so much again. It has been a joy to interview you. Hope to see you soon! Best of luck while performing this spring season!
LP: Thanks for the invitation!
More information about Laura Powers and her tour schedule can be found at her official site, www.laurapowers.com or her MySpace at http://www.myspace.com/laurapowers5. To view her online art gallery, visit http://www.laurapowers.com/jjart/JJFrameSet.html.
Her albums can be purchase at various New Age shops around the country, as well as online at her official site and on www.amazon.com.
** (Portion of the Intro was taken from laurapowers.com)