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Lau Noah: Songs for two

Lau Noah
c/o the artist
Lau Noah

Singer-songwriter Lau Noah grew up in the small Catalan city of Reus. She left Spain for America a decade ago, at age 19 and never really looked back. She makes celestial, dreamy music evocative of another era, yet influenced by her own very modern story.

Lau Noah is both a realist and a magical realist. She is an uncompromising and determined indie artist. She books her own shows, produces her own recordings, and advocates on her own behalf. She has a practical understanding of how to make compelling content, and how to communicate with her fans and her fellow artists. But she also appears to be searching the stars, deciphering her dreams, and following the river in her mind to the next location.

Listening to Lau’s music is like watching a river flow. It’s all right in front of you, passing with natural fluidity. But you can never quite locate it, and you can never fully predict how it will move. The best way to experience it is to simply accept that it is flowing and let it wash over you.

The river, in fact, is a familiar image in her songs. Lau seems to relate to the river, steady in its unyielding forward motion, unapologetic in its intransigent transience.

As a composer, her writing evokes a baroque classicism, her compositions are colored with counterpoint, and often sound like a conversation between Spanish guitar and voice. Sophisticated as she is, Lau is self-taught, and actually lists Hannah Montana and Avril Lavigne as two of her primary influences.

Her new album A Dos ("for two") is a collection of duets with some of her most admired artist friends, and some of the friends who most admired her. These include Chris Thile, Cecile McLorin Salvant, Jorge Drexler, and Jacob Collier among others. Much of Lau’s access to these people came from posting videos online and letting the internet work its magic.

We spoke recently about her artful life, the journey that led her out of Spain and onto the world stage, how struggling with agoraphobia as a teenager helped her to become an artist, why adversity creates community, her adventures in babysitting, being comfortable as the odd one in any situation, and making her A Dos which comes out January 12.


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Leo Sidran is a Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist musician, producer, arranger, composer, recording artist and podcast host based in Brooklyn, New York.