Lauren Pritchard on Spring Awakening and Living With the Presleys

The beautiful up-and-coming songstress Lauren Pritchard is making moves around both the US and the UK, and for good reason. She just released her album Wasted in Jackson, and it's definitely worth checking out if you're into the sounds of Joss Stone or Amy Winehouse and that sort of sound.

We spoke to Lauren about cooking soul food, performing in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening, and the time she spent living with the Presley family.

Lauren will be coming through town for a performance at the Rhythm Room on Sunday, April 3. Her voice will blow you away.

Up On The Sun: You were signed to Island in the UK by Darcus Beese, who also signed Amy Winehouse. You've got a somewhat similar sound to Amy, and your voice also resembles Joss Stone's voice as well. Do you relate to those artists at all?

Lauren Pritchard: Definitely. We all have similar backgrounds. We've been singing for a long time. We're all very involved in writing our own music and that sort of thing.

UOTS: Some big names worked on your album Wasted in Jackson. Questlove of the Roots contributed to the record, and Mumford & Sons did as well. Roni Size even remixed one of your songs! How did those artists each contribute? Tell me about what it was like to work with such prominent talent.

LP: I think more than anything that if you have people like that who want to be involved in what you do, that's a great compliment within itself. When I first started making the record, it was just Eg [White] and I in his house, working on a record. Then it turned into getting all of these other very awesome people involved. None of it was expected, which is also one of the nice things about it. People I'm interested in really wanted to work on this project as well. It's really cool.

UOTS: You were also involved in the Broadway musical Spring Awakening as an original cast member. Do you see yourself ever going back to theatre music? Have you put that behind you or is it something you would consider pursuing again in the future?

LP: I definitely think it depends a lot on what the project is [that would make me willing to] give up my time. I have thought about it. It was a wonderful experience that changed my life in a lot of ways. But I think as of right now, after spending a lot of time with the show and on Broadway, I really like being able to just totally focus on my musical career. I have to give that up while I was in the show, which was 100 percent worth it. When I look back, it was the right decision I made. [It was] the right choice. But I definitely know that it was hard to have to basically fully commit myself to a show and not really have any time to work on what I want to, and at the end of the day, what I really love to do most of all.

UOTS: Speaking of side projects, one of your latest blog posts says that you really enjoy cooking. You wrote about cooking soul food. It seems like it's a big-time hobby of yours. Do you spend a lot of time cooking?

LP: When I'm not traveling, yes I do. I'm into that. I try to do it as much as possible.

UOTS: One of the most interesting side notes about you is that you used to live with Elvis's family. I'd imagine that not very many people can make that claim. What were you doing living at the Presleys' house? Did living there give you any special opportunities? Did you encounter anything odd?

LP: No. The reason why I lived with them is [that] my little brother was in a really bad accident that was going to cause my mother and myself to move back to Tennessee after I had already spent a little over a year working and making some music connections and that sort of a thing. [The Presleys] knew that I had already been working really hard towards several things. Basically, I went around saying goodbye to all of the really good friends I had made. They said, "You can't move back. You've been working so hard, and you're trying to do all of these things, and you're already [on your way to] getting there." [The Presleys] said, "We believe in her. We love her music. We know what she's doing. She needs a place to stay, so she's more than welcome."

It was not one of those things where they put me in touch with anyone musical or anything like that. It was just a roof over my head and a family to take care of me. They're like my family. They're extremely dear to me, and I literally wouldn't have anything. Had they not given me a place to stay, I never would have been there for [what I did there], which led to everything else that happened in my life in the last five and a half years. They did afford me a lot of things, but it wasn't necessarily in the way that people would think.

UOTS: You just released your album Wasted in Jackson about a month ago, and now you're on the road through the middle of April. What else is on your schedule, Lauren?

LP: Touring. There are a couple of things going on that I can't talk about yet, but they're really really cool and I'm excited. They'll be going on later in the year. After this tour, there are quite a few things going on in the UK, which I can't actually talk about until I get over there. But in the meantime, [I'm starting to write] for the second album, which I'm really excited about and looking forward to. It won't be ready this year, [but] it will be ready next year. I'm starting to get things in order for that. Also, I'm going to run two marathons in the fall in honor of epilepsy awareness because I'm an epileptic. I've got quite a bit going on this year! There's a possible film opportunity in the fall, but I can't go too into detail about that.

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