Laura Oakes is one of the true leading lights of the UK country scene, with appearances at literally every festival you could think of, including The Long Road, Black Deer, The Great Escape, Liverpool Sound City, Buckle and Boots, C2C and various gigs for Bob Harris’ Under The Apple Tree. The Liverpudlian artist now has a fantastic new single ‘Welcome to the Family’ out, which hit the airwaves on Friday. Here’s our chat with Luara about the new single and all things country music!
Hi Laura, congrats on the release of the new single, ‘Welcome to the Family’. It’s a fantastic listen! Where did you get the idea for this single?
Thank you very much! This song was actually pitched to me by my co-writers Jason Lehning and Palmer Lee who have co-written a lot of my other stuff with me. They had written it with Will Hoge last year and after we finished a session last November they played it to me to see if I might be interested in cutting it and I instantly fell in love with it!
The song is brilliantly descriptive, painting the picture of a family unit, with the love, loyalty and those individual quirks that come with that. Is this a good reflection of your own family?
Absolutely! I’m from a very, big Liverpudlian family and it’s like it’s own universe. Anybody that enters is welcome but does so at risk of their own sanity.
Listening to the song, one thought I had was this could be a track recorded ‘if Kacey Musgraves was British’! How does a comparison like that make you feel?
Oh wow, for me that is a huge compliment and thank you. Kacey Musgraves has influenced me from hearing her first album back in 2012. The songwriting on Same Trailer, Different Park kind of changed the game for me.
The track is a delightful mix of country pop, with great instrumentation and a slightly soulful feel at times too – was it as much fun to record as it sounded?
It was soooo much fun. It was just me and my wonderful friend and producer Alex Lanyon (@beaucinema) in the recording session. We started recording in January of 2019 and pieced it together between us as we went along. I’m so proud of how it has turned out!
You’ve supported brilliant artists such as Morgan Evans and Lauren Jenkins recently and wowed the crowd – how much confidence has this given you going forward?
It’s always wonderful to share a stage with such amazing talents and truly wonderful humans too and Morgan and Lauren are some of my favourite shows I’ve ever supported. The confidence it has given me, this year in particular, is the confidence in how much brilliant new country talent we are getting in the UK now and how brilliantly audiences are continuing to respond to it.
And you’re one of the leading lights on the UK country scene, with British Country Music Awards to your name. How do you find going to places such as Nashville, as a British artist?
Nashville is one of my favourite places in the world. There is an energy and atmosphere there that is so inspiring as both an artist and a music fan.
And are you excited about the growth of the UK scene, with new festivals such as the British Country Music Festival (which you played this year) appearing on the calendar alongside other established events!
Oh absolutely. To say we have a whole range of country festivals now is completely amazing. Long may they all continue to grow!
What was it about country music that grabbed you in the first place? Is it something that has always been there – maybe a family member was into country? Or did you just discover it?
Country music had always been in my family but I didn’t really realise it was country. It wasn’t until I saw Carrie Underwood competing on American Idol when I was 14 that I really fell in love with it. And then that was it! I was so in love with all the sounds and stories.
To finish, tell us about your plans for the rest of the year and moving into early 2020?
Lots of new music! And lots of live shows too – I actually can’t wait to see where 2020 takes me!