Austin’s incredibly talented singer/songwriter Laura Scarborough is set to release her solo classical/pop album Reflection with its accompanying book on June 9th. But we’ve got your exclusive first listen to the nine track stunner in its entirety right here, right now. Enjoy it as it takes you on a journey through elaborate compositions, Laura’s deep – sometimes dark, but often simply robust – vocals setting an almost enchanting tone to it all.
What was the first song or album you remember hearing, and who introduced it to you?
Bach’s “Prelude in C”. I don’t recall listening to a lot of music on the stereo when I was younger. We lived in the country without TV, and my mom would play some piano. She taught how to play the “Prelude”, and it had a memorable sticking power.
Do you think that musical experience has any bearing on who you are as an artist today?
Absolutely. Classical piano shapes my songwriting. Learning the “Prelude” sparked my interest and path to classical piano playing. I like to use arpeggios and progressions that push and challenge the music both harmonically and melodically.
You’re insanely talented – as is identified in your work – but what made you get into piano, synthesizer, and vibraphone? What appealed to you about it all?
I studied classical piano performance and pedagogy at the university while getting enraptured by the Austin musician community of the 1990s. I had amazingly talented friends that introduced me to other instruments and helped me break down the wall of classical playing so I could cross over to improvisation, jamming, and songwriting. The piano is a heady instrument because it has a lot keys and musical capacity.
I love the vibraphone because you can break the keyboard down to just 2 notes with 2 mallets. Synthesizers can simplify to a single mono-lead that you filter sweep and have fun with. Learning other instruments keeps music interesting (and fun).
Reflection is absolutely stunning, each song so unique and beautiful in its own way. Do you have a favorite track from this collection?
I guess my pick would be the song “Reflection” — because of it’s spirit, vibe, and instrumentation. There’s marimba, acoustic and electric piano, vibraphone, and a bunch of fun sounds. There’s a synthesizer solo that I’m super proud of too played on a Teenage Engineering OP-1 synthesizer (my favorite toy).
Is there anything in particular that inspired Reflection, or any series of events?
I realized that I had spent over a decade supporting and collaborating with others, and not releasing my own work. It was time for me to honor myself and my voice in the world.
Playing vibraphone and being in bands is fun and social, but I needed to remember that piano holds the core of my musical make-up. Even though it leans toward a more solitary, vulnerable musical tone, it shouldn’t be ignored.
Any fun memories from production or behind the scenes insights?
What comes to mind is that I’ve been pulling all nighters this week with designer Echo Higuchi finishing REFLECTION THE BOOK. It’s an accompaniment to the album — an 80 page “liner notes on steroids” art book.
Some of the compositions on the Reflection album were written over a decade ago and this album took 4 years to complete. I wanted to feel something fresh with this release, and the idea came that I should create an art book. The book is a collection of images, lyric sheets, piano music scores, song background insights, personal stories, and inspiration built around 9 chapters mirroring the 9 songs on the album. I wanted to take a deeper look into the music, who I am, how I’ve grown, what I’ve learned, and what is my message to share.
What are you most excited about with this release?
I’m most excited about Reflection the Book, and that I have a professional sounding album that I’m sincerely proud of. I’m also excited to have my music on vinyl. When I played the first record test pressing, I felt that overwhelming rush that, “Wow, this is really real.” The great thing about a release, is that it makes space for the next wave of creation.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Claim your voice. Don’t wait for art to be perfect. Set it free. I suffocated a lot of my own art and music in the past because I held this unreachable high standard of what was “good enough.” I certainly won’t be waiting another 15 years to release music this round. There’s a lot music and art in me, and this album marks the beginning of a new phase of creative life.
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share.
Reflection is out June 9th, it is available for preorder now. The album release party is June 8th at The Townsend in Austin. More details are available here. Keep up with Laura here.