By Brian Walker
I listened to Philadelphia local jazz singer, Laura Lizcano and her new album Heart. Lizcano’s record describes the social and internal struggles of being a millennial. This is described in her single “Overworked and Underpaid.” The record overall is a combination of nostalgic jazz combined with modern day prose. I asked Laura a few questions about her record to learn more about her songwriting approach and story.
Laura Lizcano is a Colombian born singer-songwriter artist now residing in Philadelphia. Although Laura has built most of her musical career off of her Jazz roots, she no longer defines her genre as just that. This is clearly showcased on Heart. While still implementing the carefree and easy listening style of Lizcano’s music she’s able to evolve her sound by adding on elements of folk and pop to her already established jazz roots. To learn more about Laura Listen at the links below.
Heart shares many stories about vulnerability and relationships, what does your album mean to you ?
This album was an opportunity for me to start really looking at myself. I tend to write a lot about the things that happen in my world and I write a lot of songs for the people around me, and I think you can really hear that. I think it’s a bit of a love letter to myself, because I really wanted to prove to myself that I could take on this kind of project and make something beautiful. I’m very proud of it. It’s like a baby to me.
What was your process like to write and work on this album throughout quarantine and how long did it take to write and organize?
I wrote the first songs for Heart in 2018, so it has been a two-year process. We recorded the tracks in the summer of 2019, and finished all the final details during quarantine. It feels like a long time, but it also feels like it went by really fast. The last few months of this work were particularly interesting with everyone doing remote work. I really missed being able to work with people in the same room, but at the same time, I’m very grateful that we can do all of this work remotely.
Throughout your album, you are combining elements of traditional jazz with modern day struggles. This is especially outlined in “Overworked and Underpaid” and “Nobody Likes to Sleep Alone.” What themes do you want listeners to pick up when listening to your record?
A big theme throughout the album is love– not just the mushy, gooey, wonderful love, but love as something that can be complicated. It takes real work to maintain healthy relationships, not just with your romantic partners, but with family and friends, too. In “Nobody Likes to Sleep Alone,” the characters are dealing with the online dating, booty call situation. In “Funeral,” which is a cover and originally by Mon Laferte, she is really wanting this relationship to end, while also acknowledging that it was good and wonderful, but that it’s time to move on. And in “Corazón,” I’m talking about all those things we’ve left unsaid and all those hurtful things we’ve said to the ones we love.
Overworked and Underpaid is a little different because this is commentary on millennial burnout. We are being asked to work twice as hard for little pay. The gig economy is brutal. Many folks are struggling right now because they’ve lost part time gigs. Having one job isn’t enough to pay the rent. Isn’t that insane?
Do you have any streaming events coming up in the near future?
Yes! I will be having an album release show Oct. 16 at 7:30pm. TheBandIvory is also releasing their album, Anthropocene, on the same day, so we decided to team up and celebrate together! You can hear us here: https://youtu.be/Djg_eKEtGjE or RSVP to our facebook event
Your album starts with nostalgia in “Hello Old Friend” and resolves with gratitude in “Song of Gratitude” what does it mean to be comfortable with your relationships in the context of this album?
This is such a hard question, I don’t know how to answer! But I will try my best. I will say that I wanted to showcase all different types of relationships in this album. Sometimes, we focus so much on romantic relationships, and yes, there are love songs and a break up song in here, but there are also songs that I wrote for my family and for my friends. “Lullaby “and “Daffodil” are for two different babies. “Hello Old Friend” is about my childhood best friend. “Home” is about missing my family in Colombia. Many people think that “Corazón” is a romantic love song, but it’s really a song about being present and being vulnerable enough to show yourself as you truly are. Sometimes you fuck up and say things that hurt people and sometimes you say too little and hold back because you’re afraid of what people might think. And sometimes, you have these brilliant moments of clarity when you just say things as they are and you’re honest and true with yourself. That’s just life. “Song of Gratitude” was about me coming to terms with the fact that sometimes things aren’t great, but gratitude is grounding and it can really help us remember the good things that we do have. And I’m overflowing with gratitude for all my friends and peers who helped me work on this record. That song is really for those friends. My chosen family.