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Lauren April’s modern country pop is more at home in Nashville than her native Nottingham. The 21-year-old songstress tells Big Issue North that she’s excited to be part of a new home grown country movement.

Tell us a bit about your sound and your influences.
My sound is a modern country pop with hints of rock. I grew up listening to artists such as Dolly Parton and have taken influences from her style of storytelling songwriting. I’ve always loved the way Dolly writes about her own experiences and others around her in such a way that the listener can truly relate to her storytelling and find meaning to it in their own lives. More modern influences from artists like Shania Twain, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood have influenced my overall musical sound – these three women have all become powerful female figures within country music over the years and have each individually led the way for up-and-coming artists.

How have you evolved as a musician over the years?
I first decided to pursue music seriously at the age of 17. At that time, I was like a fish out of water – I entered the industry with the hope that being able to write a song would be enough for me to take my place alongside other more established artists. I quickly realised that writing was only a small part of this challenging yet rewarding profession, and I would need to work on my artistry and craft with dedication. I have step by step been learning about myself and the route I wanted to take with my music. At the age of 21 I am at a point where I am very happy with the sound I have worked towards and the artist I have become.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?

I have just finished supporting Gareth Malone’s BBC2 Naked Choir winners, the acapella group the Sons of Pitches. It has been an absolutely incredible experience and being able to share my music with audiences around the UK has been amazing. Musically, I am currently writing and recording new music in the studio, which I am so excited to share with everyone very soon.

How do you stand out from the crowd in a saturated industry?
Country music is starting to make its mark in the UK. Even though this is the case, it is still a sound that many people in the UK haven’t experienced. Many people I have spoken to still think of country music as it was 30 years ago. Being able to show how the sound has evolved over the years through my own music is such blessing, and I’m so excited to be a part of this movement.

What’s on your rider?
I’m pretty laidback when it comes to requests. As long as I have access to a changing room and a space to practice/warm up I’m good to go.

Tell us about your worst live show.
Since I first started out, I have played hundreds of gigs. Some have been better than others. Recently I have been spoilt, playing to crowds of 300-400 people – it’s been incredible. But there have been times that haven’t been so great. I believe every artist has experienced playing to an empty room and it well and truly sucks! Even though this is the case, it is something that motivated me to keep going, and to not give up. I played those gigs and classed them as extra rehearsal sessions to prepare me for bigger things. Without those empty gigs, I wouldn’t have appreciated the ones people did come to and loved. It is a journey of stepping stones – you have to take one at a time before you can reach the next. The main thing I have learnt is to enjoy every moment and to not take any of it for granted.

Antonia Charlesworth

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