Sunday, May 15, 2011

Preview - Laura and Will (band) - KDKA TV - 5/20/11 - Pittsburgh

NYC pop duo Laura and Will (the band) will be appearing on KDKA's "Pittsburgh Today Live" this Friday, 5/20. Laura is a recent graduate from Carnegie Mellon University who relocated to NYC. Her and band mate Will have been performing music together since High School. Since moving last year to NYC, both have become more focused in their musical endeavors, releasing 2 videos and on the cusp of their first album. Laura was kind enough to answer some questions about their upcoming KDKA performance, their history and  what she misses about Pittsburgh.

You can find more information about the band here:

Is this a full time endeavor? Do you all have day jobs? or?

Our band comes first - we both freelance (I'm a TV news reporter and producer, Will babysits and writes for a health website) but if we book a show we make time to play it. That being said, it's pretty difficult to survive as a musician in any city, but particularly NYC, so we don't see giving up our day jobs any time soon.

You graduated from CMU and moved to NYC. Did you grow up in Pgh? or? Did you move to try and make it as an artist?

I didn't move to NYC to become an artist per say. It was more because everything I love and everyone I love is in this city; they all happen to be artists, as well (and not just musical but visual and theatrical friends). I always knew I'd end up here; I didn't realize it would be so soon after graduation, but I'm glad it was.

How did you and Will meet? What is the back story?

Will and I played opposite each other as romantic leads in our high school's production of "Anything Goes!" Learning Cole Porter music and choreographed dance routines was a bonding experience, but our friendship and songwriting-ship really took off during college. We'd return to our hometown of Darien, Connecticut, in the summer and write songs in Will's living room. It was really low key; we never had a show we were aiming for. I think that's the best way to create music, but it also means you procrastinate a lot, and it takes forever to write a song. We wrote "Summer's A Ghost" that first summer, over a couple sessions. In this past year, once we started booking shows in New York, we wrote faster in order to play those songs at the next concert. Even though we try and be more prolific and churn out new material, we still have this foundation of writing in a go-at-your-own-pace style.

What is your goal with the band? What would you like to accomplish?

I think this is a question Will and I would answer very differently. I've worked in the music industry as an intern for EMI, Sony/BMG, and most recently as a college rep for Warner Music Group. I have a good understanding of the nuts and bolts of the industry and what is wonderful about being signed to a label and what is not so wonderful. I love to perform and I love to sing. One of my friend's just told me our song "Pick up my Heart" is on her playlist as she gets ready for work; if I could accomplish anything, it's to have Pick up my Heart help more people get ready for their day. That makes me happy.

You are a duo...but when you perform live are there extra members to flush out the sound? Have you ever thought to bring in other members full time to help with your music?

Will and I perform just us two. We have considered bringing in a drummer to play live shows but at the moment, we have only recorded with a drummer and a bassist, never performed live with those musicians. I play piano (and tambourine) and Will plays guitar and we both sing so the sound is stripped down but still full. However, I wouldn't be opposed to playing with more instruments.

How do you go about creating your music? Do you all contribute to the lyrics and music?

We split the duties most usually but some days I'll come to Will with a fully formed song, other times he'll write the entire song. Summer's A Ghost was a mutual collaboration, Pick Up My Heart was Will's creation.

Were you a music major at CMU?

Nope; history! But I took a music course at least every semester, and participated in Scotch 'n Soda theater and a choral group.

Did Will go to CMU as well? Did he major in music?

Will attended Fordham University at Lincoln Center in NYC...he was an acting major, not music, but a little more leaning towards the 'creative' than my major I suppose! He is a part of another band, Space Command, as well as Laura & Will.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard you before?

It's as though Norah Jones, Simon and Garfunkel, and Dashboard Confessional formed a band that was only 2 people.

Do you plan on releasing a record? How close are you?

Yes! Very close; we have 10 songs completed.

You are performing at KDKA on the 20th. How did this come about? Are there any future performance in the Pgh area planned?

The producer of Pittsburgh Today Live on KDKA TV, Jill Neely, is a wonderful friend and mentor to me. I interned at KDKA my last year of college in order to learn the ropes of broadcast news. While working on PTL one day, Marvin Hamlisch came on for an interview, and I told Jill how I'd performed in A Chorus Line in high school (he was the composer for that show) -- she invited me to sing with him during a commercial break, and they aired the recorded performance the next day. Now that I've been writing my own music I've always kept her in the loop and she invited Will and I on to perform.

Anything you miss about Pgh?

Holy cow, yes. Pamela's. People in New York say they live in the city with the best breakfast food, I just know they haven't been to Pittsburgh. I miss Avalon the thrift store in Squirrel Hill. I miss Walnut Street in Shadyside. I miss the wonderful friendly people of Pittsburgh.

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