MEET THE BAND: Lauren Sanderson (vocals)
A FORT WAYNE PHENOM: Sanderson, who grew up in Fort Wayne, Indiana, says she took different musical influences from her mother and father. "When I was 7, I heard my first hip-hop album, which my mom had gotten from Walmart. It was Ciara's Goodies. I remember from the second I heard that album, I fell in love with music." In about 2014, she started singing over beats she put on cassettes and played on her car stereo. "I'd sit in my car and write for a couple of hours a day," she says. She self-released two EPs that caught the attention of Epic Records, which has subsequently signed her to a deal.
SOMETHING UNEXPECTED: Released last year, Sanderson's Spaces EP became such a sensation online that it went to No. 1 on iTunes without any significant marketing campaign. "That was so unexpected," says Sanderson, who moved to Los Angeles a few months ago. "I decided to go to L.A., because I want to really chase this," she says. "It was really hard when I first moved there, which surprised me because I'm a strong person when it comes to new environments. I had a hard time finding my lane. I finally figured out how to let go of being stressed out. So now, I feel good."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR HER: For the new single, "Written in the Stars," she reworked a track from the Spaces EP and recruited rapper PnB Rock to add his vocals. He raps on the woozy, soulful tune. "I worked on the song with the producer FKi 1st, who did [rapper] Post Malone's album. I just trusted the universe because I didn't know who would be on the track. PnB recorded the verse, and I loved it the first time I heard it. I didn't know him before that, but I've met him since and he's such a sweetheart. You can have one vibe on its own and when you add a person in, the vibe becomes different. He really enhanced the song, and it's really dope now." Sanderson has just finished Don't Panic, another EP. It's due out at the end of the month. She says the previous two EPs might have been "very serious" but promises the new EP will possesses a "badass, fun feel. "It's the kind of music you play when you're driving around screaming at the road," she says.
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR HER: laurensanderson.com
WHERE YOU CAN SEE HER: Lauren Sanderson performs with Sizzy Rocket and Cassidy King at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 1, at the Beachland Tavern. — Jeff Niesel