Lauren O'Connell is a singer/songwriter from Rochester, New York. She has released three full length solo albums and one EP as a duo with Nataly Dawn. She began uploading videos of herself performing original songs on YouTube soon after releasing her de...
Lauren O'Connell is a singer/songwriter from Rochester, New York. She has released three full length solo albums and one EP as a duo with Nataly Dawn. She began uploading videos of herself performing original songs on YouTube soon after releasing her debut album Sitting in Chairs. Her first videos were simple one takes with just a guitar, but they soon progressed to layered harmonies and accompaniment, usually with O'Connell playing all of the instruments herself. Many of her fans cite her appearances in videos with other YouTube artists, mainly those with best friend Julia Nunes, as what first drew them to her music.
O'Connell's music career began after coming across her father's old guitar in the basement one day when she was thirteen. After learning a few chords from her dad and messing around with the guitar for a while, she got serious about playing and began taking lessons, writing her first song by the age of fifteen. After spending some time playing coffeehouse shows, in 2007 O'Connell went to Saxon Recording in Rochester, New York at the suggestion of a friend and recorded her debut album Sitting in Chairs. She recorded the entire album acoustic in one day.
Shortly after releasing Sitting in Chairs O'Connell began attending Binghamton University. Throughout her first year she continued to write and perform. She performed many shows with her best friend Julia Nunes. In late 2008, she decided to leave school and pursue music full-time. She then began recording her follow up album The Shakes, which was released in early 2009. During the summer of 2009, O'Connell met Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn of Pomplamoose when they came to New York to produce Nunes' I Think You Know EP. After deciding that she wanted a change of scenery in early 2010, O'Connell moved to Rohnert Park, California, where she moved in with Conte and Dawn. A few months after moving to California she and Dawn began a collaboration called My Terrible Friend. The duo recorded an EP titled Room for Ghosts in their home studio and released it through iTunes and their Myspace page on July 7, 2010. On July 20, 2010 O'Connell and Dawn were featured on the YouTube homepage for Music Tuesday, both individually and as My Terrible Friend.
YouTube and shows outside of the US:
Though O'Connell's fanbase was initially centered on the local area where she performed, the use of social media such as Myspace and YouTube videos exposed her music to a much wider audience. Through these sites she has gained fans in many countries and, as evidenced by the comments on her Myspace page and YouTube channel, given them a forum to request shows throughout America and in their respective countries. Although most of her shows have been in America, she has played a few outside of the country. In April 2009 she was scheduled to play two free shows in London, but was detained by Customs and forced to cancel them. Customs agents allowed her to leave and stay the night with a friend, but deported her the next day. On November 8, 2009 she played with Pomplamoose at the wedding of Take That member Mark Owen and English actress Emma Ferguson in Cawdor Church, Scotland. Ferguson, a fan of Rufus Wainwright, discovered Nataly Dawn's cover of Wainwright's song "Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" and invited Dawn to play the song at the wedding. She then discovered Pomplamoose and O'Connell and Dawn's "The Daylight Here" and invited Jack Conte and O'Connell to play as well. On September 3, 2010 O'Connell, Dawn, and Julia Nunes played a free show for students of Dawson College at the Le National Bar in Montreal. The show was hosted by the Dawson Student Union. Each played solo sets and in various combinations. It was O'Connell and Dawn's first performance as My Terrible Friend.
Mountain Stage Newsong Contest:
In September 2010 O'Connell was chosen as the West Regional Winner of the 2010 Mountain Stage Newsong Contest. On October 22, 2010 she joined eleven other finalists from across America and Canada at Arts World Financial Center's Wintergarden in New York City for the Award Round performance competition and an opportunity to record an EP with Grammy winning producer Jacquire King.
On December 14, 2010 O'Connell announced that she was raising money to record a new album and was working with Pledgemusic in order to give fans an opportunity to help fund studio time, with the goal of being in the studio sometime in January 2011. In return for pledging O'Connell decided to include personalized merchandise ranging from autographed cds and t-shirts, handwritten lyrics, and hand-drawn artwork to house concerts, her personal iPod filled with music, and even grocery shopping or mini-golf with the pledger when she comes to their city for a show. The project was set for a sixty day pledge period, however, fan pledges exceeded the target amount in the first 24 hours, making it the fastest Pledgemusic project ever to reach its goal. One week later she added more of the incentives that sold out quickly as well as new incentives like the harmonicas she uses for her videos and albums, a Photoshop vacation photo with the pledger, and a volleyball painted with the pledger's face in the style of "Wilson" from the movie Cast Away, joking that her New Year's resolution was to make progressively weirder arts and crafts. The project raised 268% of the original goal by the time it concluded on February 14, 2011.