Singer/songwriter Loren Allred talks to Atwood Magazine about her latest single “This Summer”, ‘The Greatest Showman’, and getting through the pandemic.
Stream: “This Summer” – Loren Allred
Cultivating the ability to be hopeful through difficulty is the ultimate strength and I think that, if you are truly hopeful, you can make it through almost anything.
Most people are familiar with the highly acclaimed musical movie The Greatest Showman. Some memorable songs from the soundtrack include “A Million Dreams”, “Come Alive” and “This Is Me”. Arguably though one of the most powerful of the film is the commanding track performed by Rebecca Ferguson, “Never Enough”. Though it appears Ferguson is the one singing this incredibly poignant anthem, it is really the voice of talented singer-songwriter Loren Allred.
Now the Brooklyn-based phenomenon has released her debut single “This Summer” and it possesses all the same passion and masterful vocal finesse listeners have come to expect from the artist. The song features serene guitars and angelic falsetto ascending into a robust chorus exuding optimism and hope.
I bet we could fall in love
Just close your eyes
Pretend for awhile
The world’s not on fire
And we’ll be alright
The offering is a narration of a time of year that should evoke so much elation and joy but instead many are feeling discouraged and isolated. Allred shows you that even in the darkest of times there are always opportunities to grow and make things better. Atwood Magazine spoke with Loren Allred discussing her new single, involvement in The Greatest Showman and more.
Stream: “This Summer” – Loren Allred
A CONVERSATION WITH LOREN ALLRED
Atwood Magazine: Your debut single “This Summer” shines with minimalistic soundscapes allowing your stunning vocals to take center stage. What was your process like in crafting such a striking track?
Loren Allred: Thank you for that compliment! When I first started writing my debut EP, I knew that creating original music after “Never Enough” was going to be a challenge because that was such a huge song and I was afraid that audiences had put me in the category of a “big ballad” singer. Instead of trying to compete head-on with that, I chose to go a different route entirely and create a stripped-down, personal song. I love using my full range, and performances like “Never Enough” will always be a part of who I am as a performer, but I knew it was important for my follow-up single to show a different side of me.
The song pays homage to a normally cheerful and sunny season dampened by a worldwide pandemic. How do you believe others can try to stay in a positive mind frame in the midst of so much chaos?
Although it’s true that most people’s lifestyles changed during the pandemic, I know I’m not alone in realizing the importance of finding joy in the little things. This song was meant to serve as a hopeful anthem, not just for my listeners, but for me as well. I had to convince myself that I could look forward to more love and that there were going to be opportunities to create new, beautiful memories in the seasons to come. To me, it’s all about hope. Cultivating the ability to be hopeful through difficulty is the ultimate strength, and I think that if you are truly hopeful, you can make it through almost anything.
“This Summer” lyrically exudes a comforting message of hope within a time of so much uncertainty and isolation. How has this difficult period shaped you as an artist and what are some obstacles in your musical career you have now had to overcome?
This pandemic had a huge impact on so many people, especially artists and performers. For the last couple years, I have essentially been living out of a suitcase, performing around the world. At this moment, it’s hard to say when attending live performances will be safe again for the public. Wrapping my head around this gave me a sense of purposelessness, and it’s been difficult for me to pull myself out of that. Honestly, it still is. Additionally, if you listen to the lyrics of “This Summer” and the singles I’ll be releasing this fall, you’ll be witnessing my emotional processes as I come to terms with the fallout of a breakup that occurred the night New York City went into lockdown. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, these combined challenges were the catalyst for so much creativity. It was a time of intensive self reflection, and the days I spent in the studio, turning my emotions into music, yielded the most personal growth I’ve experienced in a long time. I feel capable of anything now.
Creating a release that is an ode to summer, I have to ask, what is one of your favorite memories of that season?
I have lived in New York City for a decade now. We experience pretty brutal winters here so, when the first day of nice weather hits, it seems like everyone comes outside and blasts music from the stoops of their brownstones and the block parties begin. Being surrounded by so many different cultures and such a variety of personalities is incomparable to anywhere else. Feeling the energy of the city come back to life is undoubtedly my favorite part of summer. Every year, there’s this sense of renewed possibility and connection to your neighbors and neighborhood that is just so invigorating.
I understand that you are the standout artist on The Greatest Showman song “Never Enough”. The track has amassed more than 500 million streams worldwide. How did you get involved in the track and what was your experience like working on such an unforgettable hit?
After some turbulent years in the music industry, followed by competing on The Voice, I needed a mental break, so I decided to pursue a career in studio work. One of the projects I was hired for was to sing the female demos for The Greatest Showman. Usually in a situation like this, the actress would use my vocal as a reference, but for “Never Enough”, the producers decided that they wanted to use my vocal for the movie itself. This was such an unexpected and exciting turn of events! It led to me working with the actress Rebecca Ferguson to make the lip sync seamless by learning to emulate her British accent and instructing her stage performance for the scene in the movie. It’s a scene that I feel really proud of because people are still surprised that it wasn’t Rebecca singing, which is the mark that we did a great job. It was a dream come true and it mentally eased me back into the music industry in a way that I needed.
In addition to being a big part of that movie soundtrack chart-topper, you have received some praise from the legendary Michael Bublé. Both things are incredible accomplishments. What advice can you give to other up and coming artists looking to achieve that immense level of success?
Meeting Michael was so surreal. I know this a bit of a cliche but he truly is the nicest, most down-to-earth person and a joy to work with. The advice I would give is to make sure you stay on top of your craft. Never stop trying to improve. Also, when you’re given opportunities, stay humble and grateful. In my experience, the people who stick around in any industry are the
people who embody these qualities. Your talent will create opportunities but it’s the gratitude and humility that will bring you the longevity.
On the topic of accomplishments, other than those just mentioned, are there any other memorable moments in your musical journey?
Being asked to tour with David Foster and being a part of his PBS special was a full circle moment for me. He was the quintessential producer I dreamt of meeting one day because he produced and composed so many of the songs that I sang along to growing up. It was an honor to be able to perform those exact songs with him onstage.
Who are some musicians and artists that have influenced your unique sound?
My number one influence is Mariah Carey, hands down. Before I encountered Mariah, I had only been influenced by my parent’s classical background. When I first came across her #1’s album, it was a huge wakeup call for me to see what the voice could do when paired with incredible songwriting.
On the topic of other artists, can you recommend some music to our readers that is currently on your playlist?
I love folk music from the Sixties and Seventies. People like Vashti Bunyan, Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake. Andy Shauf, James Blake, and Faye Webster are all people I’ve really been vibing with recently. I also discovered an artist named Jessica Pratt last year and all her albums have been on repeat in my apartment since.
Lastly, what does the future look like for Loren Allred?
So much more new music! My collaborator Seul and I have so many ideas for new songs in the works! When performing is safe again, there will be live shows where I’ll be performing all my new music. I also have a new single called “Your Girl” that I’ll be releasing very soon, and a few more following that, so keep an eye out for that!
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