To those that are familiar with the local music scene in the south, or to those that have attended festivals on the Isle Of Wight over the past few years, the name Lauran Hibberd might be a familiar one. The 21 year old has been a regular on the local gig and festival circuit for a while now, armed with indie-rock hits that will get your feet tapping and your heads nodding.
Before her headline show at Heartbreakers in Southampton, Lauran was kind enough to take a few minutes out of her busy schedule to have a chat to us about her plans for the future, how she goes about songwriting, and what her current thoughts on the music industry are…
We’re here at Heartbreakers today, have you played here before?
Yeah, I’ve played here a couple of times before! I’ve supported Jerry Williams here, and The Manatees, so yeah I’m a bit of a regular… And I watch gigs here all the time, so it’s nice to headline a venue where I always am – it’s quite surreal really!
So we have now reached the halfway point of 2018, are you happy with how the year has been so far for you?
I really am, I’m really happy with my latest release, I put a track out called ‘Call Shotgun’ last Friday and that was really cool, it’s had a really nice response. I’m also out on tour next month, which is really exciting, but I can’t talk too much about that just yet! And I’ve got an EP coming out at the end of the year, so there’s loads to look forward to as well!
I know you can’t really talk about it too much, but with regards to the tour will you be visiting places you’ve never been before?
Yeah! It’s only a UK tour, well, not only as any tour is a great tour! But yeah, I’ll be going to places I haven’t been to before, so that’s actually really exciting!
Now, recently you actually played in front of royalty! /Mr Darcy/Harry Hart at Isle Of Wight Festival! Did you spot him [Colin Firth] whilst you were on stage, or were you not told until afterwards? How was that?!
That was definitely one of my finer moments! I didn’t know at the time, I was told afterwards, which I’m glad about because I would have probably have been like “Oh my God! It’s Colin Firth!” mid-song! I finished and then my guitarist told me that he was there, and I was just like, “How long has he been sat there?!” If I’d known he was I’m that kind of person that I would have probably put my foot in my mouth and shouted, “Are you Colin Firth?!”
Amazing! And how was the Isle Of Wight experience as a whole?
It was so good! It’s my favourite festival, I’m from the Isle Of Wight so every year I’ve been since I was about five years old, so to be able to play at it on a stage like Hard Rock was really great. I’ve not played that stage before, I usually play the Cashmere stage which is for Isle Of Wight and local act stage, so it was really nice to be asked to play Hard Rock this year! I absolutely loved it, everyone was really lovely. I love Isle Of Wight Festival, I love Bestival, I’m a big festival lover to be honest so it was so good!
Did you stay for the whole weekend and enjoy it as a punter too?
Yeah, I went as a punter! Which is something I rarely do if I’m performing at a festival, I normally go, play, hang about for an hour and then go home, so it was really cool to actually hang around and have a whole weekend.
Did you have any highlights in terms of bands or artists you went to see?
I really enjoyed JUDAS, they were really good! I loved it! I absolutely loved their set. At first I was just watching them thinking this is really cool and then I saw Peter Crouch bouncing in the crowd, and I was like, “Hold on… I’m going to miss an opportunity here” so I went straight over to him and got a quick picture. When I turned around and saw Abbey Clancy and saw she knew all the words the link clicked and it all made sense as to why they were there!
You’ve played Bestival a couple of times as well. Firstly, are you going this year? And secondly, as it’s no longer on the island, what are your thoughts on that move?
I’m not playing at Bestival this year, but I am going for fun! I think the move was a really good idea for them, I think whatever is best for them works. I didn’t realise actually that only such. small percentage of people that went to Bestival were actually from the island, it was only about ten percent, which is tiny isn’t it really… So yeah, whatever works for them really! And I’m more than happy to travel anywhere for a good festival, so it doesn’t bother me!
Being from the Isle Of Wight, where it’s not exactly known for its music, what’s your view on the scene there?
There’s a definite scene, there’s a lot of young and up-and-coming bands that are doing really well down there at the minute. There are also a lot of great creatives and a good music venue and a nice music college, but I think it’s as well as playing on the island you do need to play off of it as well and mingle in the real world a little bit.
Your songwriting all happens at home… How do you find the process works? A lot of your music is quite narrative, so do you find it’s a conversation, or a phrase that someone says that just sticks in your mind…?
Yeah, loads like that. I have a long stream of notes on my phone that just hold everything that I hear… even if it’s during a conversation and someone says something or a word and I think. “Oh, I like that!” I’ll write it down. Or if I hear someone talking about something on the bus and I’ll write that down. And then when I feel like writing I go back to them and see what’s there. I invent my own stories, I write about my own things – I’ve written a song about a cup of tea before! There are really no boundaries to what I’ll write about!
So is it giving objects, like a cup of tea, a personality and its own story?
Yeah, I give them a life! I’m a bit of a weirdo in that sense… I like to bring objects to life! I just feel that a lot of songs at the moment are great, they’re deep and meaningful, like if you listen to Coldplay’s first album you’d cry because it’s just so beautiful, but I would listen to Courtney Barnett’s album and think that it’s amazing she’s just written about an anaphylactic shock, or a shark… because no one talks about those! But I think it’s quite funny when you sing about something that’s not supposed to be sung about, like a cup of tea…
I don’t think enough people sing about cups of tea…
Exactly! Because it’s normal stuff. It’s not every day that we’re all falling in love and being broken hearted. A lot of the time we’re just coming home from work and we’re a bit sad and there’s nothing wrong with that!
Not at all! And at the end of the day that makes it more relatable, because not everyone has necessarily even been in love or had their heart broken.
Yeah, exactly, so I sort of like to just write about normal mundane stuff and just give it a little bit of something else!
And how do you feel that your sound has progressed over the past few years?
It’s developed massively. I started as quite an acoustic folk singer-songwriter and it’s sort of indie rock now, which I love. I think over time I have just gradually found my feet and where I wanted to stand and just feel more comfortable with an electric to be honest!
Do you feel that you have now found yourself as an artist or do you feel that there is still more room to grow?
I think there’s still room, but I feel like I’m at the point now where I feel like I could record an album now. It’s the first time where I’ve felt like I know myself well enough, I know the songs well enough to sort of go, “Yeah, these all sit well together and can be an album”. It’s a really cool place to be actually.
Have you hit that point as well where you’ve thought, “This is it now, this is the career” and you’ve had that moment where the light has switched on and everything else can now be pushed back?
Yeah definitely, it feels really real now. It feels like it’s finally in the right place and I’m happy to run with it. It’s really exciting!
You’ve had a lot support from the likes of BBC Introducing, Radio X and 6 Music. When you heard one of your songs on the radio for the first time, what kind of emotions did you go through?
It was just mad. It was so crazy! I was just thinking to myself, “Why me?” But in the same way it was really reassuring hearing my track and realising that someone else thinks that it’s okay, it was definitely a self-reassurance thing for me. With music, so much of it is stuck in your own head, you can listen to a song of your own so many times and think, “Is this good anymore?” because you’ve heard it so many times and you’ve written it, that it’s really hard to have an unbiased opinion of something you’ve done. So yeah, when other people pick it up or congratulate it, it’s really nice to know that someone else likes it.
Do you listen to your songs in your spare time? You hear of actors that hate to watch themselves on screen, do you like to listen to your music?
When I record a track in the studio I listen to it about 150 times when I get it back so that I’m happy with it to the point where I can let it go out, but then as soon as it’s out I never listen to it ever again. Because by that point I’ve sort of written it off, it is what is is and I’ve heard it so many times by that point! Sometimes I go back and watch older videos to see how far it’s all come, but no, I don’t have my own CD in my car!
What do you listen to in the car?
Like I said before, I’m a massive fan of Courtney Barnett, I’m a fan of Phoebe Bridgers, Margaret Glaspy, Soccer Mommy, Superorganism… loads of up-and-coming bands really!
How do you feel the music scene is right now? My personal opinion at the moment is that as vinyl has seen its revival, people have started to enjoy listening to music more.
Definitely! I think it’s amazing that I can sell vinyl now, that’s in my merch collection, and people like it. That’s probably the thing that most people come and buy at gigs – I think it’s an amazing turn around! I feel in the last couple of years it seems to have turned around and there seems to be a lot of great bands around, and that’s really refreshing to see. I’m not really big into electronic music and things like that, I know it’s great and there’s a massive market for it, but for me I just absolutely love watching a band, a group of people that have written song together, playing the instruments they play, I just love that ethos. It’s nice to see that really coming back.
Moving forward, obviously the rest of the year you’re looking at touring and releasing an EP, but in 12 months time, what would you like to be doing?
I’d like to headline a show in London, I think. That would be my next thing I’d like to achieve. I would just like to keep expanding where people are listening from. I love to gig, so I’d love to keep gigging, keep releasing, more tours… I’m up for anything!
Do you find that’s where you come into your own, in a live setting?
Most definitely. I think it’s really important to have a personality with your songs and I always have a story in mine, like we’ve just talked about. So it’s really nice to put them into context, like I wrote ‘Call Shotgun’ about a hat I found at Thorpe Park, and people are like, “What? That’s mad!” And that’s the kind of thing you can’t say online, it doesn’t really translate as well as when I say it during a gig.
How have you found the reception has been for the latest single?
I’ve been really shocked because it’s been the fastest that streams for one of my songs has shot up. I’ve been really grateful to Spotify actually, they’ve been really lovely and put it on a bunch of cool playlists, like New Music Friday, which were things last year that I was just dreaming about and it’s mad to think that it’s on there. I was on the midnight ferry back from a gig and I just scrolled through, like I do every week because I love that playlist, and was just amazed that my song was on there! It was mad.
Do you feel George Ezra has kind of stolen your thunder slightly?
Yeah. He put that out and I was like, “Come on George…” But then I decided we’re leagues apart and it doesn’t matter! I think if I was Camilla Cabello putting out ‘Call Shotgun’ I’d be a bit more worried. I did tag him in it though so he knew I wasn’t trying to steal something from him, but I’m hoping that he might of picked it up and might have actually listened to it! That would be great! He might invite me on tour then, you have to chance it, you never know!
On that note, is there anyone you would love to support?
All the people I’ve already named! I’m also a massive fan of Zuzu and I’ve written with her a couple of times and she’s really cool. She’s from Liverpool and really up-and-coming, she’s great! I’d love to go on tour with her because we get on so well and her music is amazing.
And you both share a love of Taylor Swift!
We do! We did go to see Taylor Swift. It was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen – in terms of outfit changes… I find it hard enough to dress up once and she had about a billion dresses, it was madness. She also had loads of cool props, like a big cobra – I thought maybe I could have a couple of little cobras! Maybe not a big gold one, but a little inflatable one for sure!
For people that haven’t seen you before or even people that haven’t maybe listened to you yet, how would you describe the listening experience and then the viewing experience?
Hopefully with the listening experience you’d just have a lot of fun, have a laugh a bit, be sad a bit, a bit up and down – sort of like life I think! I’m quite an honest writer so I’m not afraid to be sad for a little while before being happy for a little while. Then live, I apparently have a weird leg thing, which I can’t really describe because I don’t know I do it! Apparently I flick my left leg quite a lot up and down, which sounds alright, but I haven’t seen it… So maybe I look ridiculous but no one has told me! I’m quite a sweaty performer, so I shake my head a lot to get it off. There’s nothing glamorous about this…
To finish off, what would like to say to all of those that have supported you so far, amounted all of those streams on Spotify and might have even bought tickets to see you tonight?
Just thank you so much! It’s absolutely incredible to be able to do what I love in this capacity. I’m just so happy that people enjoy what I create and that’s the most important thing really! Just thank you, keep listening and I’ll try to put out some more good stuff!
Lauran Hibberd was playing a headline show at Heartbreakers in Southampton on 5th July.