Get to know Atwood Magazine‘s writers in our special column where they become the interviewees, sharing their personal playlists and talking about their experiences covering music!
Music has always been a friend to Lauren Hicks, and writing has allowed her to express gratitude for that. Little tunes always catch her attention, sparking moments of interest and connection. Rather than talking about music all the time, she decided to write about it, too — creating more opportunity to share her love for it with others.
Stream: Atwood Writer’s Playlist: Lauren Hicks
Meet Our Writers: Lauren Hicks!
Where are you from and where are you based?
Lauren Hicks: I am both Arizona-raised and based! Currently spend most of my time in Phoenix 🙂
How did you get into music writing?
Lauren Hicks: I’ve always had a great passion for music and writing—so music writing seemed to be the perfect combination for me! I had been a fan of Atwood Magazine for about two years before I even thought of joining as a writer. It took me a while to find out that I could be a writer and with some spontaneity, I applied. A few days later I was welcomed as a new writer and I was super grateful for the opportunity. Big thanks to Mitch for that!
Who was your very first concert, and who have you seen most recently?
Lauren Hicks: My first concert ever was REO Speedwagon and Chicago. With two classic rock bands and the heat of an Arizona summer—I couldn’t have asked for more. It was the perfect start to falling in love with live music. The most recent concert I went to was for both WALK THE MOON and lovelytheband. Both bands had everyone on their feet and interacted great with the crowd. With a cover of “Dancing in the Dark” by lovelytheband and WALK THE MOON singing “All These Things That I’ve Done” by the Killers — it was the perfect mix of nostalgia and energy for all listeners.
Who are two or three of your favorite up-and-coming artists right now?
Lauren Hicks: I’ve been a big fan of Ezra Glatt and think he presents great talent going into the folk scene. With unique fingerstyle guitar and lyrics—Glatt has a sense of timelessness that parallels to the likes of Nick Drake or Gordon Lightfoot. His music is a beautiful portrayal of nature, human nature, and everything in between.
I’ve also had Flatland Cavalry on repeat. They’ve grown pretty big over the last couple of years, but I definitely think they should still be on the lookout. There’s something about that combination of acoustic guitar and fiddle that always keeps me listening.
Finally, Antoine Bradford has always been a favorite of mine. He’s a versatile artist in both the RnB and gospel scene—and I’m excited to see more of his music in the future.
What’s something you’ve learned from working as a music journalist?
Lauren Hicks: Being a younger and newly experienced writer, I can get a bit nervous before doing an interview. Here I am, sitting in my college dorm—trying to get all my papers together and make sure I researched everything properly. On the other side of my screen is a music artist—and though each interview looks different—the one commonality I’ve noticed is a strong sense gratefulness within all the artists. It’s the kind of demeanor that makes all my nerves fade away from the first few words spoken. No matter their background, genre, or stance in the industry—each artist has shown great gratitude for their part in it. That’s a beautiful thing to have in common because though goals and character may look different, gratitude is what keeps them going. Whether it be gratitude for their listeners, their music, themselves or a combination of them all. It is a great privilege to hear that being expressed and to see it being reflected.
What’re your favorite moments covering music? Can be from interviews, reviews, in-person events/shows, anything.
Lauren Hicks: One of the coolest things about the industry is that there are connections everywhere. My first interview began with a friend of a friend from high school.
That interview then lead to a music manager out of Australia reaching out to me and connecting me with one of his artists. It was crazy how one person led to another—and more opportunities could arise from it. That was one of my favorite moments because it reminded me of the opportunities that writing can bring and the connections it builds.
If you could ask one question to any artist or band, who would it be and what would you ask?
Lauren Hicks: If I had the chance before he passed, I would have asked John Prine what his favorite life “Souvenirs” were. Whether it be a ‘happy enchilada’ or ‘tilt-a-whirl’ or a person or a place! Why were they worth remembering and carrying with you — whether through music or not?
What are you most looking forward to this year, music-wise?
Lauren Hicks: I think that the music scene is constantly shifting, so it is hard to predict what will happen. Though there will always be front-running genres and music styles, the foundation of music creation always returns to its ancestors. How that manifests completely depends on the artist or band — but it’s really cool to see the linearity and timelessness of music being carried through. I think that many artists are taking a stand in representing this or even going against the grain.
Either way, there will always be good music and good people to share it with and beautiful places to enjoy it at. Good music will always be there even if it’s harder to find—and that’s a great gift! To me, there will always be something to look forward to.
Can you please explain why you chose the top 5 songs on your playlist?
- “That’s The Way That the World Goes Round” by John Prine: I found this song when I saw Adam Melchor did a cover of it—calling it the “Happy Enchilada” song. It’s one of my favorites because my first thought when I heard it was “it’s like being a kid”. I soon found out that Prine intended it to be through the lens of a child. I thought that was one of the coolest things—to be able to communicate a certain perspective and feeling through the music’s sound—even with seemingly nonsensical lyrics. It is commentary on life, where you can just look right at it and laugh.
- “Difference Maker” by NeedToBreathe: I have a lot of respect for Bear RineHart in how he can speak multitudes to people from different beliefs and backgrounds. This song is a prime example of painting a picture that can speak to personal pride and understanding purpose. It is the question of what human value means in making a difference—and ultimately what that is connected to. It is beautiful writing and a poetic way to speak to people.
- “Roll Me Away” by Bob Seger: This song is just fun. It’s the kind of song you listen to with your windows down and not have a care in the world. It’s the kind of song where I’ll yell out the window because I just feel so joyful and grateful to be alive. Whether it’s the song you want to run away to or test your car’s transmission—it’s a great listen either way.
- “Pink Moon” by Nick Drake: The instrumentals on this song! The piano! Oh my. I love the way that Nick Drake’s voice sounds—but the instrumentals on this song really add to it. The guitar and piano are like an orchestra for his vocal cords. It really is something else.
- “Still Beating” by Mac Demarco: It was one of those moments where you hear the first few seconds of a song, and you instantly fall in love with it. At the ripe age of 14, I was opened up to a whole new world of music…and it all started with this song. The rest is history!
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:: Stream Lauren’s Playlist ::