Critics and fans alike rave about the “crystalline beauty” of Laura Harley’s voice. On her debut solo album, Laura combines electronica, alternative rock, and pop to create her own unique sound. The songs reflect many of Laura’s experiences over the past few years including her Baha’i pilgrimage and her work as an artist and a life coach.
Living in today’s fast-paced and struggling world means navigating through challenges to our peace of mind, our relationships, and our hopes on a daily basis. But the choices we make and the perspectives we adopt can bring us joy and learning, even in the midst of struggle. In Laura Harley’s new album entitled, This One Chance, she explores the strength, vulnerability, and courage it takes to live a meaningful life. (From Laura’s website)
Here is our interview with Laura.
Q: Tell us a bit about yourself.
A: I live in Minneapolis with my husband and our 19-month-old son. I’m a singer-songwriter and I make music to soothe the wounds of modern life. I’m also a life coach. I help people navigate their lives with compassion and confidence, overcome obstacles and get “unstuck”, and live fulfilling and meaningful lives.
A: I’ve been singing and making up little songs all my life, but when I was 15 I picked up the guitar and started writing songs in earnest. I started my first band at that age called “Badasht”, inspired by Tahirih’s courage and spirit. My next band was called, “Sliver” and we released two albums and toured nationally (it was in that band that I also met my future husband!). More recently I released two solo albums.
Q: How does making music affect your life?
A: Writing music gives me a way to express what is in my heart. And because all of my songs are inspired by the Writings and teachings of the Baha’i Faith and striving to live my life in accordance with them, writing is a powerful way to reflect and learn about myself and about life. Performing my music gives me many wonderful opportunities to connect with people on a deep level. It is amazing to be able to pour my heart out in a song and then talk with people about how they can identify with it and what it means to them. I am so grateful for all the meaningful conversations and interactions I have with my listeners.
Q: Who do you hope to reach with your music?
A: My songs are all about striving to live a meaningful life and the beauty and struggle that come with that effort. So I hope to reach anyone who is on that journey and wants to reflect on it.
Q: How can it be used to soothe souls?
A: I think we all respond powerfully to others’ expressions of emotion. When people listen to my music, my hope is that their hearts are touched, they feel less alone, and they are inspired to think about their own emotions and experiences. Sometimes uplifting songs are just what’s needed to feel encouraged, and sometimes a song about genuine struggle can actually feel encouraging to someone in the midst of their own struggle. I write from my personal emotions and experiences, so many different kinds of songs emerge.
Q: Can you share some stories of how it has helped people?
A: It is such a blessing to hear how my music has been helpful to people. People tell me that listening to the songs has helped them get through difficult times and have new insights about their lives. I’m always especially thrilled when moms tell me about how their children connect with my music. Many moms have told me their children sing “Little By Little” when they need to have courage. And recently a mom wrote to me to tell me her daughter listens to my music and it is helping her get through the divorce her parents are experiencing. The idea that my music can be of support to people who are hurting is very humbling. It is such an honor to have people allow me into their lives in this way.
A: Being a mom is the most wonderful, joyful, and challenging experience of my life. My son is such a beautiful and amazing soul! I learn more from him every day. Being his mom requires me to grow constantly, just as he is growing constantly. Parenting is an intensely growthful experience!
Q: What role does music play in your family life?
A: Music is very important in our family’s life. My husband and I sing prayers with my son every night, and I sing songs and prayers with my son all day, every day. Children’s connection with and response to music is so powerful! I believe it helps them express emotions, learn, and communicate. My son and I take a music class together (called “Music Together”—I highly recommend it if it is in your area) and we love to dance, sing, and play instruments together. We play piano and guitar together every day. (He calls the guitar “A-tar”.)
Q: How do you hope your son’s relationship with music will be?
A: I hope my son will always remember the prayers and songs that we share so that he can call on them whenever he needs to feel comfort or find strength. I hope music will be a source of solace and expression for him. It will be very interesting to see how his relationship with music develops as he grows.
A: My first CD self titled Laura Harley (released in 2006) was largely inspired by my pilgrimage to the Baha’i World Center. It was such a life-changing, humbling, beautiful experience and I was very inspired to write about how it felt to be there. There are also songs on the album about finding strength inside and striving to be of service. The music is a blend of pop, rock, and electronica.
A: My second album is called This One Chance (released in 2008) and it explores the strength, vulnerability, and courage it takes to live a meaningful live. It is a pop-rock album.
I also wrote a companion book to this album, and it is called Inside The Song: Listen Your Way To A More Meaningful Life. The music and book together make a self-coaching system that explores topics such as getting clear on the purpose of your life, overcoming challenges, accessing your inner strength and wisdom, and creating healthy relationships. Over the years I’ve had many meaningful discussions with people about their experience of my music in their lives and I wanted to have a way to have that deeper kind of interaction with more of my listeners. Writing this book was a way for me to do that.
Q: What is your next project?
A: I’m deeply inspired by the experience of being a mom and am finding myself writing songs about the love in families and the beauty of children. I want to create songs that help families connect more deeply, help children feel loved and appreciated, and help all family members find strength. In my work as a life coach, I see many people who didn’t get the love and understanding they longed for in their families, and I hope that the songs I’m writing now can be a source of strength for people who find themselves in that situation as well.
A: My message is: You rock! You are amazing! Parenting is the most profound privilege and challenge in this life. I find strength in connecting with other parents, sharing learning, and studying prayers and spiritual writings about parenting and children. Also, in my work as a coach, I find that people need lots of love and compassion to function at their best, and so I think as parents we can never give too much love, hugs, and compassion.
Q: How do you hope your blog can help others?
A: On my blog I write about healing and living a meaningful life, and I give tools to help with the daily struggles we all have (such as overcoming procrastination, fulfilling our goals, and finding our inner strength). I hope my blog, like my music and my coaching, can give people tools to heal, help them find and utilize their inner resources, and inspire them to be of service in the world.
To enter the June Music Giveaway competition:
- Leave a comment on this post by June 6 9pm (Eastern Standard Time) answering the following question: What topics for songs would be useful for you to share with your children?
- Only enter one comment per person per post please (each person will be entered into the weekly competition only once, but feel free to comment on each June Music Giveaway post so you can have four entries for the Grand Prize)
Two names will be selected – both to receive Laura Harley and This One Chance – and announced on June 7. The winners will be emailed with details of how to download Laura’s albums.
The weekly competition is now closed.
Congratulations to Mara and Shereen whose names were drawn to receive Laura’s CDs!
All names on this post who entered comments before June 30 9pm (Eastern Standard Time) will also be entered into the drawing for the Grand Prize – a copy of all our June Music Giveaway Featured Artists’ CDs. One name will be selected from all comments entered into each of the four June Music Giveaway Interviews, and announced on July 1.
Thanks for your entry. We look forward to sharing Laura’s music with you!