Growing up, Sierra Lauren’s world was a musical one.
With her mother a singer and her father a drummer and a pianist, Lauren was no stranger to music, and her talents fostered naturally.
By the age of 4, she was already playing in piano concerts.
“Ever since I was kid it’s been all about music,” said Lauren, an 18-year-old Sumner High School graduate. “I remember doing fun local talent shows with my dad. I would play a classic piece and he would rock it out with drums. Mom would sit down and sing and we would harmonize together.”
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At 7, Lauren continued her performances, and even played piano at Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle. At 14, she traveled to Matsumoto, Japan, to play with piano masters.
A year later, she decided to try something new: writing her own lyrics. It would jump-start what is now her career as a singer-songwriter.
I went to a songwriting camp when I was 15 and it all just kind of clicked together. I could combine my writing and love for music together.
“I’ve always been more on the creative side, not just music but drawing. So I started writing my own stories — not really lyrical but just writing,” Lauren said. “I went to a songwriting camp when I was 15 and it all just kind of clicked together. I could combine my writing and love for music together.”
Lauren did just that when she released her debut EP (short for extended play), titled “True North,” on Nov. 24. The EP consists of five songs: “Nightmares,” “Chapter Two,” “What Do You Do,” “True North” and “There’s Still Love.” She takes inspiration from artists like Taylor Swift and her piano flare from artists Sara Bareilles and Christina Perri.
“It’s mostly alternative,” Lauren said about her music. “I really wanted it to be diverse so I could connect to as many people as possible because people have different tastes.”
Lauren turned to songwriting after experiencing a breakup, and she wrote some of the songs during that time.
“It’s really hard to put your own experiences out there but I had to get over that,” she said. “It’s very raw, it’s very me, but I know that other people go through it, too.”
It’s mostly alternative. I really wanted it to be diverse so I could connect to as many people as possible because people have different tastes.
Lauren was noticed for her work by Eric Lilavois, owner and producer of London Bridge Studio in Seattle. The studio has previously worked with artists like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and Pearl Jam.
“I was applying for a music program at (Brigham Young University) but part of the application was you had to write three of your own songs and produce demos by yourself,” Lauren said. “I had these demos lying around that I didn’t know what to do with and I figured I’d send them into a few studios and see if they would pick them up.”
After Lilavois noticed her work, he encouraged her to produce more songs. They recorded the EP in May.
“In addition to her exceptional musical talent, the intention behind what she was doing, her ability to share honestly and connect really resonated with me and I wanted to help extract it further,” Lilavois said. “My hope for Sierra is that she is able to reach as many people as possible through her music, that she continues to approach her craft with honesty and open vulnerability so she can continue to help bring strength into people’s lives and let them know they are not alone.”
As a freshman at BYU in Utah, Lauren is working toward a degree in business while continuing to work on her singing and songwriting in her dorm room. Just a month ago, she picked up a guitar for the first time.
“If you know one instrument and you’ve played it your entire life, it’s really easy to pick up another one,” Lauren said.
Lauren plans to return to her home in Lake Tapps for the holidays and is looking to set up local gigs to share her music with others.
“I like to draw from real human experience,” she said. “I really wanted to create songs that could make a connection with people and help people out. (The EP) is mostly finding your way after loss — that’s why I called it ‘True North.’”