An intimate and raw outpouring, Gemma Laurence’s heartfelt new single “Lavender” captures the beauty of coming out: Of shedding your old skin and embracing who you are.
for fans of Big Thief, Phoebe Bridgers, Julien Baker
Stream: “Lavender” – Gemma Laurence
There’s so many love songs and heartache songs out there, but not enough songs celebrating queerness and transness, and all the nuances that come with embracing those identities.
Radiant and impassioned, Gemma Laurence’s heartfelt new single is ready to be your tender, smoldering late-summer folk rock singalong. An intimate and raw outpouring, “Lavender” captures the beauty of coming out – of shedding your old skin and embracing who you are – all while recognizing both the joy and the hardship involved in that experience.
Born into a world where the walls were painted blue
–– it’s a boy! –– your mother cried in her hospital room
You play your father’s child in his patriotic town
But you wear your mother’s lipstick
When you know she’s not around
You’re crying out why can’t they see
The restless fugue of pink and blue
In your identity
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Lavender,” Gemma Laurence’s first single of 2022 following last October’s standalone single, “Adrienne.” Her first release since signing with Better Company Records, “Lavender” is the lead single and title track off Laurence’s forthcoming sophomore album, set to release this November.
A proper 2020s indie / folk rock song with a slow and steady beat, a mix of warm, organic and ethereal instrumental work, and layers of intense emotion, “Lavender” sees Laurence ascending to a new level of expressive, achingly evocative artistry. The Maine-bred, Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter comes to life in a song dwelling in the depths of the queer and trans experience, exploring heteronormative gender tropes (blue for boys, pink for girls) and other stereotypical normative associations to explore the often painful and oppressive impacts of our societal structures, biases, and expectations. “You’re crying out why can’t they see,” Laurence sings in a bittersweet blur of banjo, electric guitar, and pulsing percussion. “The restless fugue of pink and blue in your identity.”
A lonesome shroud of dissonance settles in your skin
In your color-coded uniforms you’re wearing to fit in
Anxiety’s a little league and fear’s a locker room
Teenage suffocation in your body’s own cocoon
“‘Lavender’ is a song that is incredibly near to my heart,” Gemma Laurence tells Atwood Magazine. “I wrote it for my best friend, who’s actually singing on the album, after she came out as trans. As a cis queer woman, I can’t fully understand everything she was going through, but I wanted to write her a song to show her how much I loved her and supported her along a beautiful but also in many ways a really difficult transition in her life.”
“There’s so many love songs and heartache songs out there, but not enough songs celebrating queerness and transness, and all the nuances that come with embracing those identities. So I wanted to write an anthem for my best friend, but also for the queer/trans community or any person who has struggled (or still is struggling) to come out. I wanted to write a song that captured the joy of coming out and embracing who you are, but also the hardships that come with it.”
As Laurence explains, conceiving “Lavender” was one task; recording it and getting it right was a whole different story. “It was a real blast recording this track, and it’s one of my favorite songs on the album,” she says enthusiastically. “I actually initially wrote it on banjo, but the whole song quickly turned on its head in the studio with Charlie Dahlke (of The Brazen Youth), who produced the track with me. We were struggling to record it as a banjo song, and then Charlie suddenly goes, ‘What if we made it a rock song?‘ So we dimmed the lights and lit some candles and went all-out Soccer Mommy-meets-Big Thief on it. I’m really proud of how it came out. Micah Rubin (also of The Brazen Youth) killed it on drums and we got Will Orchard to shred some lead guitar on it too. I still got to play a little banjo on it, which brought the project full circle.”
And I know it’s not easy
To shed your skin and be the woman
You were born to be
“Lavender” proves an impressive, powerful, emotionally exhausting folk rocker – not to mention an exciting reintroduction to Gemma Laurence as she gears up for album No. 2. Lavender is set to release in November of this year; stream its soaring and stirring lead single, out now, exclusively on Atwood Magazine!
Stream: “Lavender” – Gemma Laurence
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📸 © Beatrice Helman
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