Payin' Dues: Lauren Housley

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Lauren Housley’s Sweet Surrender is an incredible album which, recorded over a year in a variety of locations including a barn, a pub back room and a private members club lounge, meshes blues, folk, soul and an indelible songwriting craft. When not singing solo, Lauren also plays as part of the Chorlton Country Club and the Kaleidoscope Orchestra.

Tell us about Sweet Surrender. It’s inspired by the feeling of giving in to whatever it is that life and love have in store for you and it’s made by a bunch of people smiling, crying, laughing, jamming, dancing and sharing many special musical moments together.

**Nice To See Ya is a real highlight. **It was inspired by my nannan who used to always say, “Nice to see ya, to see ya’s nice.” I always associated that saying with her. She was very supportive, loving and encouraging of me towards my desire to be a performer, telling me to “live the life you dream about living.”

**Your songwriting partner is Thomas Dibb. How did you meet? **I met Tom at college in our hometown of Rotherham when we were 16. He was one of the few musicians I knew that loved the same music as me and we often spoke about writing together. Then, after a year of studying at university in Newcastle, we decided to give it a go and have been working together ever since.

I want people to connect to my music.

Was there a moment you thought, “This is what I want to do”? I heard Eva Cassidy’s voice and saw the way people connected with her music so intensely, music is such a powerful way of connecting with people’s souls, and I think that’s what made me want to be able to do that too!

**What’s your musical manifesto? **I want people to connect emotionally and physically to my music, to find relief and understanding in the songs I write.

Who are you currently listening to? Bonnie Raitt, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Bettye Lavette and Ray Charles at the minute, who are all such effortless yet passionate performers. I want to be that kind of artist, that’s what I’m striving for.

Tell us about the Chorlton Country Club and Kaleidoscope Orchestra. Chorlton Country Club is a band I set up with some of the musicians who played on my album. We gather at the local pub and play country and Americana songs. With Kaleidoscope we play a mixture of modern dance music and classical.

Sweet Surrender is out on August 28 via Big Bad Recordings.