Smithfield’s Lauren King has a way of captivating the senses through her bluesy, soul voice and melodic delivery. She takes the singer-songwriter craft and puts her own heartfelt spin on it while walking the fine line between folk, country and acoustic pop. On June 25, King is going to be releasing the album “The Wolf Is Back” which showcases these traits in genuine fashion. Tracks such as “Sweet Louise”, “Romeo”, “Wild Woman” and “World I’ve Got” highlight a record that has a lot to offer. The audio quality is also fantastic with a variety of instruments coming through with neither dominating the others.
King and I recently talked about the album, her musical upbringing, being a music teacher and the release show for “The Wolf Is Back” taking place in a unique setting.
Rob Duguay: What was your musical upbringing like when you were growing up in Smithfield? Did you listen to a lot of folk music or was it a variety of stuff?
Lauren King: My musical upbringing growing up started when I was really young. My dad is a folky kind of guy so there was a lot of Jimmy Buffett, James Taylor, which is some of the earliest musical stuff I can remember. When I was about nine years old I started taking voice and guitar lessons at a little place that used to be called The Purple Piano. It was right near my elementary school so after school every single day I would walk over there, take lessons and hang out. It motivated me to start teaching and it’s the one thing that stuck with me as a kid because I liked to do a whole bunch of things because, you know, you’re a kid. So yeah, music has been the main thing that has stuck with me.
RD: While making The Wolf Is Back, did you have a specific vision going into it? Did COVID-19 create any obstacles while making the album?
LK: Actually, quarantine was probably the most helpful for me as a writer and wanting to start a business. I’m a very busy-minded person so when everything came to a stop it gave me some time to hunker down and figure out what to do next when the world came back into motion. I did a lot of planning and a lot of writing that I did during quarantine contributed to the album. It gave me way more time to just focus on that and where I might want to go afterwards.
RD: How were you able to link up with Jay Capaldi to have him on as a producer for the album?
LK: Jay is amazing, right before COVID-19 hit I was working at Starbucks as a barista and he would come in every day. One of my friends told me that he has a music school and I should ask him if he’s hiring teachers so I ended up asking him in the drive-thru window, I gave him a link to some Youtube videos and then he reached out to me to ask me about what I was working on creatively. I started working with him at his music school down in Coventry which we also used as a recording studio, we would get all the necessary equipment and record there. We did that, he asked me what I was working on and I honestly had three or four songs with an EP in mind. After he listened to the songs he told me that he thought I should make a whole album and he could totally produce it.
It ended up being a great fit because he’s the best kind of collaborator because he only wants what's best for the both of us and what’s best for the songs. He was the best to work with, ever.
RD: That’s great when you have a producer like that who is willing to work with you rather than just tell you what to do, they just want to see your vision through.
LK: Yeah, they’re not going after the quick money. That’s just not what it’s about, you know?
RD: Absolutely. You mentioned it earlier how you also teach music and you teach it at the School Of Rock in Attleboro.
LK: I do.
RD: Going from being the performer to being the instructor, do you have to get into a different headspace when it comes to teaching someone else how to play guitar?
LK: Honestly, if anything it helps me connect much more to kids while I’m playing out and it’s also a good outlet for myself as a musician because it’s about keeping that energy high. At first when I started teaching I was a bit nervous that it would take my energy away but it’s actually inspired me even more because it’s fun to act like a kid with other kids and teach them something that’ll make the lightbulb in their head go off. That’s just so satisfying to me, I was also nervous about teaching at first because performing live has become second nature to me and it’s hard to take a step back and explain it to a child. It kind of made me realize that if you look at it from a kid’s perspective it makes it that much easier to kind of keep in touch with your inner child too.
RD: You also have that collaborative experience where you’re learning from the kid while the kid is learning from you. The release show for The Wolf Is Back is going to be taking place in a unique setting on July 25th outdoors at the Glocester Country Club next to Waterman Lake. What can folks expect from the show when they attend?
LK: We will be having a duo called The Dolls who are based out of Los Angeles but they’re here this summer so they’ll be joining the show. I have a good friend of mine, Matt Rich, who also does music locally who is going to be opening as well and I’ll also have the band who played on the album playing with me. There’s going to be physical CDs for anyone who wants a copy and I’ll also have t-shirts. Luigi’s is going to be catering it but it’s going to be very much BYOB so people can spend the day by the lake and they have a fun concert to go to.