2021 Song Contest Winner Q&A: Lauryn Marie’s “Walk”


Written by Lauryn Marie

Interview with an American songwriter

American composer: What made you decide to take part in the American Songwriter‘s Song Contest?

Lauren Marie: I had an assignment in my songwriting class with Victoria Banks at Belmont University to enter a song contest. In fact, I participated in the first American Songwriter Song Contest in 2020 and got an honorable mention for my song “Party”, so I thought I’d try again for my mission!

AS: How did you feel when you found out you had won?

ML: I couldn’t believe it was real! I got the call at a hotel on my last day in Nashville for the semester. My mother had just come downstairs to help me out of my dormitory; I was so happy that she was there to celebrate with me. It was so empowering and meaningful for me to receive this kind of recognition from a publication in which I have seen so many of my favorite songwriters.

AS: What was your inspiration for “Walk”; Why did you want to write it?

ML: I wanted to share how I feel when I walk alone at night because I know a lot of women go through the same thing. For people who’ve felt it, I wanted them to know they’re not alone, and for people who haven’t felt it, I wanted to show them what it feels like so they can understand.

AS: What is the story behind the song “Walk”?

ML: I went out for a walk one evening last year as the sun was setting. I was having a great time listening to music and getting some fresh air when I suddenly realized the possible dangers of being a young woman walking alone at night. I typed a note on my phone that said, “I walk alone with my headphones on at night. Am I just pure and confident, or is he flirting with death? It’s tragic, but that’s what I felt. It eventually became the lyric Call it trust / call it denial / flirting with death and dust / teasing fire in “March”.

AS: When writing a song, which comes first the music or the lyrics?

ML: It depends. Sometimes I start with a little lyrical idea or melody that I’ve hummed into my phone’s voice memos. Usually once I start with a chord progression or a few lines of lyrics, I like to write the music and lyrics together.

AS: What motivates you as a songwriter?

ML: Songwriting is very therapeutic for me, so often I’m motivated to write because I need to express my feelings in some way. Writing down my thoughts helps me take a step back and almost walk away from situations to get a clearer picture. Consuming other arts is also motivating for me; when I watch a movie, read a book, or listen to a song that I can tell has a lot of heart, it motivates me to want to create something meaningful too. this happened to me recently while watching the movie Tick, tick, boom. Now I want to write a musical!

Ready to participate in the song contest 2022?

The 2022 American Songwriter Song Contest is now accepting entries! Put your songs in front of top artists and A&R executives for a chance to win $10,000

AS: How long have you been writing songs and what are your writing goals?

ML: I’ve been writing songs since I was eleven and started teaching myself how to record and produce them when I was thirteen. My goal as a songwriter is to tell honest stories that people can relate to or that will make them see things in a new light. I want to spread a message of hope with my songs and let people know they’re not alone, because I know that’s something I always need to hear. I’d like to continue writing, producing and releasing songs that I’m passionate about and hopefully touring in the near future so I can share them with more people.

AS: Are there any songwriters, artists or events that have particularly inspired you lately?

ML: Maisie Peters is a songwriter who has really inspired me lately. His lyrics are so fast, witty and catchy, and I admire his vulnerability in his songs. She inspires me to be open and honest in my writing while not taking myself too seriously all the time.

I am also currently studying abroad in Northern Ireland for a semester, and the experience has been very inspiring. My life here has been so different from anything it has been before; I am acclimating to a new place and a new culture while experiencing a new level of independence and adulthood. I am so grateful to be in this beautiful place and to write about this new stage of life.

AS: What is your idea of ​​the perfect song?

ML: A perfect song makes me feel something strong, whether it’s joy, sadness, comfort or something else. A perfect song is a song that makes me stop what I’m doing and just listen; when a song can hold my attention and make me feel like I’ve escaped the world for a few minutes, it’s done its job. I created a playlist called “That Feeling” of songs that give me that escape. They’re all very different, ranging from movie soundtracks to pop-punk to acoustic indie-folk, but each of them can take me back to a specific moment or feeling that I had, and that is what makes them perfect for me.

AS: What’s the best advice another songwriter has ever given you?

ML: One of the things my songwriting teacher, Victoria Banks, said on our first day of class was to treat your songwriting/creation like you would treat a child. When it’s not working, and your songwriter just wants to throw a tantrum and quit, you have to take her by the hand and let her know it’s okay; we will try again tomorrow. It has helped me to be kinder to myself during times when I’m not able to write as much as I would like. During times when my writing is going well, it has helped me fully experience the childlike joy of creating something I love.

AS: Who are your all-time favorite songwriters and why?

ML: My favorite songwriters of all time are Taylor Swift and Ben Folds. Both are amazing storytellers in different ways. I love how Taylor Swift can write a meaningful song in any genre; she has such a talent with words and you can tell how carefully crafted each of her lyrics is. Ben Folds is an amazing musician and I admire his chord progressions and orchestral arrangements. I also love his conversational writing style and the unique topics he chooses to write about. Rockin’ the suburbs is one of my favorite albums because it takes everyday stories of suburban life and turns them into heartbreaking works of art.

AS: What’s next for you?

ML: I don’t know exactly what awaits me, but I have a lot of dreams. I will be using the rest of this study abroad semester to soak up plenty of experiences to write about and work on my skills as a songwriter. I would love to do a full album in the next two years, and I really want to tour. I’m just going to continue to share my story through music and I’m excited to see who will join me on this journey.

Ready to participate in the song contest 2022?

The 2022 American Songwriter Song Contest is now accepting entries! Put your songs in front of top artists and A&R executives for a chance to win $10,000


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