Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Follow”?
Sure. I’ve been really lucky to have had a lot of great mentors throughout my life, both musical and not. They’ve shown me so much nurturing and patience on my journey that I wanted to write a song to give back to those people. “Follow” talks about supporting loved ones and lifting their spirits when they’re down. I tend to tackle somewhat heady concepts in a lot of my songs, but I wanted to keep this one plain and simple. It’s my take on the classic “I got your back” song.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
I had a song due for class – it was the last project of the year. A lot of the songs I’d been writing around that time were slower ballad-types, and I wanted to stretch myself to stray from the usual. Community is really important to me, and I had the privilege to artistically grow-up, so to speak, among some pretty incredible musicians. I wrote the first line of the chorus, “I’m not going anywhere – not today and not tomorrow,” and was reminded of the special bond I share with those gifted souls. The rest of the song came relatively quickly after that.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
A video for “Follow” may be in the works… If I had it my way, I’d release a music video for every song I release. I have a few other priorities to address at the moment, but would LOVE to see a video for “Follow” at some point down the road.
The single comes off your new album For the Sake of Being Honest – what’s the story behind the title?
The phrase had actually been sitting in my iPhone notes for some time as a potential song title.
The concept grew to resonate as a collective idea that described the current chapter of my life. I’m the kind of person that tends to get caught up in the “should” and “should nots” that are set by other people. It’s all too easy to find myself making decisions that I think others would approve of, rather than making them for myself. This album, and its title, serve as a reminder to myself to remain true in the face of challenging opinions and environments (aka the music industry).
How was the recording and writing process?
The studio is my happy place. I learned that about myself while recording this album. I had so much fun bringing each song to life – it was like watching my babies go through college and become functioning people in society. I worked with my good friend Henry Was on production, and we tracked pretty much everything at his home studio in Santa Monica. His mom, Gemma, is an amazing cook and always seemed to have the best snacks lying around. She’s also British, and quickly turned me on to black tea via her endless supply of PG Tips. I had to come from downtown LA everyday, which was an absolute traffic nightmare, but was always worth it when I got there. The energy was always warm and inviting – I couldn’t have asked for a better space to be creative.
What was it like to work with Henry Was and how did that relationship develop?
Working with Henry was such a joy. His relaxed, carefree and yet diligent approach to music-making was the perfect counter to my more perfectionistic tendencies. I met him through USC – he was majoring in jazz drumming, and we took a songwriting class together. He became a big fan of this band I used to be really active in called Trousdale, and we worked on a few songs with that project. The band fizzled out over time, and I decided to start working on a solo project. I immediately thought of Henry for the job, asked if he’d be interested in helping me out, and the rest is history!
How much did he get to influence the album?
Henry worked as both producer and engineer for the album, so he definitely had a fair amount of influence in determining the basic sounds for each track. He also played drums on the whole record, which was super fun. I’m very focused when it comes to creating a vision around my music, and Henry was always sensitive to that. All important decisions and work regarding the album was the result of a team-effort, which I’m super grateful for.
Can you talk about how artists like Jewel and Joni Mitchell have influence your music?
First of all, they’re two confident women who play guitar and write awesome songs. Their mere existence paved the way for me to follow in their awesomely large footsteps. I got the privilege to open up for Jewel at a private event a while back, and was simply blown away by how she carries the energy in a room. She approaches her audience from such an honest and inviting space, it was really humbling to be reminded of how artful storytelling can bring people together in a way that’s almost magical. Joni Mitchell is simply a classic, and I am forever a student of her craft. Her cross-over work into the jazz world has been particularly influential to me – I love to blend those colors with my more pop and folk sensibilities.
What aspect of honesty did you get to explore on this record?
Like I mentioned earlier, the album title For the Sake of Being Honest really succinctly described the mindset that projected me to embark on this project. The entire process of making this album come to life – from commiting to actual doing it, to where I’m at now with prepping its release in August – has been an exploration of my own personal truth. I need to be working with people that inspire me, and creating music that feels exciting. Uncovering that truth is one thing, but living it out is another. This album is a step towards being more honest with myself, and I think each song explores different layers of what that means up close.
Any plans to hit the road?
I actually just got off the road! I did a month-long house party tour of the Midwest in June. It was my first time being on the road for that long. It was such a rewarding experience. I stumbled across countless friendly faces and was received with so much care and kindness from each house that hosted me. I haven’t started booking anything yet, but I’m definitely thinking about planning another go-around for the fall following my album release in August!
What else is happening next in Loren Cole’s world?
I’m at a bit of a crossroads at the moment, having just graduated from college. I’m torn between staying in LA and trying out some other cities like Nashville, or even London. The album drops at the end of August, so I’ll be focused on promotion for the next couple of weeks. I’d love to do some more touring in the next 6-8 months or so. Other than that, remembering great songs, falling back in love with my craft, and hopefully a vacation is in my foreseeable future!