Popping Up: Laura Welsh

Popping Up is our recurring look at new artists making noise on the music landscape. Because, hey — Madonna and Britney were once unknown, too.

Last month we talked with beat-heavy UK duo Gorgon City for our Popping Up series, so it seemed like a given that we should also seek out Laura Welsh, the rising-star vocalist featured on the pair’s summer dance hit “Here For You.” The song was a bit of a departure, sonically, from the more pop-focused material the British-born Welsh has been crafting with producers like Dev Hynes and Robin Hannibal for her upcoming debut LP. (You can get an early taste of what’s in store for her by picking up her self-titled EP on iTunes.) Still, “Here For You” is a great testament to Laura’s versatility as an artist.

Welsh is also promoting her commanding fireball of a single “Break The Fall,” the chorus of which would likely give even Florence Welch goosebumps. With all this activity going on around the singer-songwriter, we thought it was a good time to ring Laura up and have a chat.

Get to know all about this exciting new talent on the music scene below!

NAME: Laura Welsh.

WHERE SHE WAS BORN: Staffordshire, England. (“It’s near Birmingham,” Laura explains for us non-Brits. “That’s the closest city.”)

HOW YOU KNOW HER: Welsh did vocals on Gorgon City‘s breezy house single “Here For You,” which became a Top 10 hit in the UK earlier this summer.

Gorgon City feat. Laura Welsh — “Here For You”

ON COLLABORATING WITH GORGON CITY: “When we were writing the song, what I loved about it was that it was obviously like a different world of music to my own record, but it just felt really natural and organic,” she says. “A lot of the way it was written was over three chords and then it just started to progress. I think it’s that social element that I personally was like, ‘Yeah, I love it.’ It was great because MNEK was actually there when we all wrote it together, and so it was really cool.”

SHE GREW UP IN A MUSICAL FAMILY: Welsh explains her early influences to us: “Well, my mom was a musician, so there were always guitars and keyboards around the house. It was kind of a real mix of records and stuff. My sister, I remember her constantly playing Prince albums, so I loved all that kind of stuff. My mom would play old-school Patsy Cline records as well, which I love — and I think Carole King, the album Tapestry, which I got into later. I think that really sparked off the whole songwriting in me.”

CURRENT RELEASE: Her four-track, self-titled EP arrived in July (buy it here), and contains songs like “The Hardest Part,” which Welsh wrote with John Legend, and her new single “Break The Fall.”

Laura Welsh — “Break The Fall”

NATURALLY, THERE’S AN ALBUM IN THE WORKS: “I think it’s actually going to be [released in] January next year,” Laura says. “I’ve got ‘Break The Fall’ coming out 11th of August in the UK, and I’m going to do another single at the end of year. The main people [I’ve been working with] are Dev Hynes, Robin Hannibal and Emile Haynie, and then I worked with Scott Hoffman, as well, from Scissor Sisters. ‘Ghosts’ was actually the first song that I wrote for the album, so that was kind of strange because I even kept the demo vocals when it came to producing it with Greg Kurstin I think it’s going to be the single after ‘Break The Fall’.”

ON WORKING WITH DEV HYNES: “We did ‘Unravel,’ which was one of the first tracks that I had put online,” she tells us. “He was over in London, and it was over Christmas time because he was visiting his family for Christmas, and we just went into a studio in London for a couple of days…I love his approach to making music. I don’t know, I think it’s better when there is no agenda when you’re collaborating with somebody, and, especially writing, it’s so important that you’re relaxed. For me personally, that’s the best way that I write, and I think when you synch with someone musically, for me, that’s where the best songs have come out as opposed to writing sessions where it feels kind of a bit cold or doesn’t really flow well. I also wrote ‘Undiscovered’ with him, because I was in New York. I was basically out there working with Emile Haynie for a couple of days on production, and Dev was in town at the same time.”

Laura Welsh — “Undiscovered”

BECAUSE WE LOVE LAURA AND GORGON CITY, HERE’S A BIT MORE ON THEM WORKING TOGETHER: Welsh recalls how she came to collaborate with the duo. “My manager basically just [asked] would I like to go in and do a day writing with them, and, you know, I loved [‘Ready For Your Love’] that they had previously done with MNEK. So we did a day together in December, and we actually wrote [‘Here For You’] then and there on that day. I pretty much vocaled it there as well. It was really fast, to be honest. It happened really quick, and then I left, and I didn’t think much about it. Then, six months later, they said, ‘Well, we want this to be our next single,’ and I was like, ‘Okay, awesome!’ It’s been cool because I’ve done quite a few festivals with them as well this summer, so it’s been a amazing to play it to crowds.”

Pick up the Laura Welsh EP on iTunes here.

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