Lauren Mann’s Album Dearestly; Growing outside the comfort zone, balance in collaboration, and trust
In this piece, Alex Dulanovic takes a look behind the scenes in the life of a young, up and coming Canadian artist, and explores the lessons nestled in her journey.
Lauren Mann’s Dearestly successfully lyricizes an artist’s personal journey into a refreshingly relatable sonic diary. Her voice flutters and soars within the organic soundscape rooted in folk instrumentation. Pleasant melodies make the vulnerable subject matter easy to embrace. The album doesn’t tug; it just holds your hand as you willingly wander towards your own questions about home, love and identity.
Mann’s journey towards creating her album has been anything but a comfortable stroll.
Years of travelling, touring, sightseeing, songwriting and working through personal issues went into Dearestly. On her blog, Lauren mentions that her favourite things are music and adventure, two activities that require engaging in the unknown. Lauren spoke to me about benefiting from these experiences.
“I’m an introverted person, so touring, and specifically the performative side of shows, was something I had to improve on by continuously stepping out of my comfort zone. Now, I’ve really grown to love performing my music.”
As a culture we respect the act of being vulnerable in front of a group of people. Yet, even with that knowledge, you need a lot of confidence to go out and do it. While Lauren expressed needing repetition in order to become more comfortable on stage, she mentioned random interactions as a source of inspiration.
“ When I was on tour in different locations, I had people that came up and expressed a connection with the music. That’s always an encouraging feeling.”
Mann expanded on the process of creating those songs, specifically writing them. Always looking for inspiration, she’s ready to absorb ideas from her personal problems, places she visits or people she meets, and translate them in to lyrics or melodies. While the initial stages are often a solitary act, Mann explained that on this album working with others was beneficial.
“…and when you have a supportive team it’s easier to let the song go and ask “How can we improve this?”. On this album, working with Howard and Josh, we had a really good environment in the studio. Having that collaborative process just allowed me to focus on making the music the best it could be.”
The truths that went in to Dearestly can also be applied to life in general—as is the case for all honest pieces of art. Finding balance between expressing your own ideas, but also allowing input and improvement from people you trust. Being receptive to inspiration that occurs in your daily life. Exposing oneself to uncomfortable situations in order to grow.
After our conversation, and then giving the album a couple more listens, trusting in human connection was what resonated with me most. These days there seems to be so many reasons to doubt genuine honesty. Unfortunately, that has robbed the collective “us” of opportunities to grow ourselves, as well as help others. While Dearestly is sprouted from Mann’s life, it fearlessly expresses larger truths that belong to all ears.
Dearestly is an experience that I recommend to everyone. Mann’s work is available for any price, a pay-what-you-feel album, on her website.
Photo by: Kristy-Anne Swart
Editing by: Bliss Katherine